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The Six Toes of Hemingway's Cats

Author Ernest Hemingway, whose image is that of a "macho big-game hunter and marlin fisherman" and who survived multiple wars, was also a keeper of cats, reports The New York Times. His house, which has become a museum, is home to 50 cats, many of which are polydactyl. As researchers at Medical Research Council Human Genetics Unit in Edinburgh found, the extra digit on the cats' paws comes from a disruption of how the Sonic hedgehog gene is regulated, a gene that is found across many different species. "The story of the origin of Hemingway's cats is one of finding deep genetic connections among very different animals — from fruit flies to chickens, mice, cats, and yes, even humans," writes Sean Carroll at the Times.

The Scan

Alzheimer's Risk Gene Among Women

CNN reports that researchers have found that variants in MGMT contribute to Alzheimer's disease risk among women but not men.

Still Hanging Around

The Guardian writes that persistent pockets of SARS-CoV-2 in the body could contribute to long COVID.

Through a Little Spit

Enteric viruses like norovirus may also be transmitted through saliva, not just the fecal-oral route, according to New Scientist.

Nature Papers Present Method to Detect Full Transcriptome, Viruses Infecting Asgard Archaea, More

In Nature this week: VASA-seq approach to detect full transcriptome, analysis of viruses infecting Asgard archaea, and more.