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The Language Barrier May Be Truly Ancient

Svante Pääbo, who may never be remembered for the great science he did before tackling the Neanderthal genome, has new findings to report about the species. Studies of the FOXP2 gene -- which in humans is associated with speech abilities -- in the Neanderthal genome suggest that our hominid cousins had essentially the same gene we do, according to this story in the Economist. "To the extent that the gene enables language, it enables (or enabled) it in both species," the article says. Which leads GTO to wonder, Did Neanderthals also communicate in such atrocities as "LOL" and "ROTFL"?

 

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.