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'Played By Humans, Scored By Nature'

First Foldit, then Phylo, now EteRNA. Investigators at Carnegie Mellon University and Stanford University have launched "an online video game that challenges players to design new ways to fold RNA molecules," reports The New York Times. EteRNA, which was designed for non-scientists, allows players to "design elaborate [RNA] structures including knots, lattices and switches," the Times reports, adding that the game will go beyond simulations, in that "each week the best designs created by game players and chosen by the gaming community will be synthesized at Stanford." Carnegie Mellon's Adrien Treuille, who was part of the team that created Foldit, tells the Times that EteRNA "is like putting a molecular chess game in people’s hands at a massive level. ... I think we are democratizing science." Users must register for a free account on the EteRNA homepage, which greets visitors with the message "played by humans, scored by nature."

The Scan

White-Tailed Deer Harbor SARS-CoV-2 Variants No Longer Infecting Humans, Study Finds

A new study in PNAS has found that white-tailed deer could act as a reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 variants no longer found among humans.

Study Points to Benefits of Local Consolidative Therapy, Targeted Treatments in Cancer Care

In JCO Precision Oncology, researchers report that local consolidative therapy combined with molecularly targeted treatments could improve survival for some lung cancer patients.

Genetic Variants That Lower LDL Cholesterol Linked to Reduced Heart Disease Risk

Rare variants in two genes that lower LDL cholesterol are also associated with a decreased risk of coronary heart disease, according to a new JAMA Cardiology study.

Study Links Evolution of Longevity, Social Organization in Mammals

With the help of comparative phylogenetics and transcriptomics, researchers in Nature Communications see ties between lifespan and social organization in mammals.