Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

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

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.