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And Now to Einstein's Genes

Jonathan Rothberg is searching for a genetic basis to mathematical prowess, reports Erika Check Hayden at Nature News. Rothberg and Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Max Tegmark have embarked on what they call Project Einstein to search through the genomes of mathematicians and theoretical physicists to see what makes them tick, or at least gives them their math abilities.

As Check Hayden notes, the researchers are wading into a controversial field, both technically and ethically. Intelligence-related traits are complex and large studies would likely be needed to uncover any genetic markers. Daniel MacArthur at Massachusetts General Hospital tells her that the study "is unlikely to have any statistical power." Other critics say those markers could be used to identify and select for, for example, embryos with mathematical ability.

"Einstein said 'the most incomprehensible thing about the Universe is that it is comprehensible,'" Rothberg says to Nature News. "I'd love to find the genes that make the Universe comprehensible."

The Scan

Call to Look Again

More than a dozen researchers penned a letter in Science saying a previous investigation into the origin of SARS-CoV-2 did not give theories equal consideration.

Not Always Trusted

In a new poll, slightly more than half of US adults have a great deal or quite a lot of trust in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Hill reports.

Identified Decades Later

A genetic genealogy approach has identified "Christy Crystal Creek," the New York Times reports.

Science Papers Report on Splicing Enhancer, Point of Care Test for Sexual Transmitted Disease

In Science this week: a novel RNA structural element that acts as a splicing enhancer, and more.