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For All the Hopeful Monsters Out There

"Hopeful monsters" are the center of Olivia Judson's post at the New York Times' The Wild Side. Back in the 1930s, geneticist Richard Goldschmidt thought that sudden morphological changes could occur quickly due to mutations in an embryo, creating a so-called hopeful monster that might have an advantage over other creatures -- an idea that was derided at the time. Since the advent of genomics, though, Judson says that hopeful monsters are back, but now are discussed in the less fanciful terms of "large morphological changes due to mutations acting on single genes that influence embryonic development."

The Scan

Billions for Antivirals

The US is putting $3.2 billion toward a program to develop antivirals to treat COVID-19 in its early stages, the Wall Street Journal reports.

NFT of the Web

Tim Berners-Lee, who developed the World Wide Web, is auctioning its original source code as a non-fungible token, Reuters reports.

23andMe on the Nasdaq

23andMe's shares rose more than 20 percent following its merger with a special purpose acquisition company, as GenomeWeb has reported.

Science Papers Present GWAS of Brain Structure, System for Controlled Gene Transfer

In Science this week: genome-wide association study ties variants to white matter stricture in the brain, and more.