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The Real Finn Mac Cool

In 1783, Charles Byrne — a 7-foot, 7-inch man known as the Irish Giant — died after having spent several years gathering fame as a side-show act. His skeleton, denuded from flesh, has been displayed at a London museum since then, and he has been the subject of much debate among scientists. Now, reports The New York Times' Gina Kolata, researchers in the UK and Germany have managed to extract DNA from one of his teeth, and have discovered that Byrne had a rare mutation in a gene called AIP. The mutation, first discovered in 2006, can cause symptom-producing pituitary tumors leading to — among other things — gigantism, Kolata says. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, shows the researchers found the mutation in four families from Northern Ireland near where Byrne was born, and that they later discovered he was related to all four families.

The Scan

Boosters Chasing Variants

The New York Times reports that an FDA advisory panel is to weigh updated booster vaccines for COVID-19.

Not Yet

The World Health Organization says monkeypox is not yet a global emergency, the Washington Post reports.

More Proposed for Federal Research

Science reports that US House of Representatives panels are seeking to increase federal research funding.

PLOS Papers on Breast Cancer Metastasis, Left-Sided Cardiac Defects, SARS-CoV-2 Monitoring

In PLOS this week: link between breast cancer metastasis and CLIC4, sequencing analysis of left-sided cardiac defects, and more.