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Want to Inspire Kids' Interest in Science? Put Them to Work

The University of Cambridge's Andrew Conlan is trying to inspire young minds by turning 13 to 15 year olds into research assistants, according to Ed Yong at Not Exactly Rocket Science. After participating in the university's Motivate Project — which provides secondary schools with educational resources to show students how math connects to real life — Conlan, who uses mathematics to model the spread of infectious diseases, took his efforts a step further and turned his students into "field scientists," Yong says. The professor helped his young research team create and administer a questionnaire to assess how children at primary schools socialize with one other in order to understand how diseases — like the flu — can be transmitted. While the results of the study weren't groundbreaking, Conlan's students collected a huge data set that he suggests could prove useful for further studies. And, Yong adds, the students even paid the Cambridge department of applied mathematics a visit in order to share their results.

The Scan

And Back

The New York Times reports that missing SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences are back in a different database.

Lacks Family Hires Attorney

A lawyer for the family of Henrietta Lacks plans to seek compensation from pharmaceutical companies that have used her cancer cells in product development, the Baltimore Sun reports.

For the Unknown

The Associated Press reports that family members are calling on the US military to use new DNA analysis techniques to identify unknown sailors and Marines who were on the USS Arizona.

PLOS Papers on Congenital Heart Disease, COVID-19 Infection Host MicroRNAs, Multiple Malformation Mutations

In PLOS this week: new genes linked to congenital heart disease, microRNAs with altered expression in COVID-19, and more.