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AI for the Right Reviewer

China's National Natural Science Foundation is turning to artificial intelligence to choose individuals to review grant applications, Nature News reports.

The agency, it adds, is developing a tool to sift through the published literature as well as scientists' websites to in a bid to identify researchers who might be a good fit to review a particular grant application. A pilot program involving an early version of the tool found that it helped cut down the administrative time devoted to finding referees, Nature News says.

NSFC, it notes, assesses six times as many grant applications as the US National Science Foundation, leading the agency, as Patrick Nédellec from the French National Center for Scientific Research tells Nature News, to have to search for the most efficient approach.

Li Jinghai, who heads NSFC, says he also hopes that the approach reduces bias in reviewer selection. But Education Analytics' Elizabeth Pier says that an AI approach may just reflect human biases in its implementation, Nature News adds.

The Scan

Foxtail Millet Pangenome, Graph-Based Reference Genome

Researchers in Nature Genetics described their generation of a foxtail millet pangenome, which they say can help in crop trait improvement.

Protein Length Distribution Consistent Across Species

An analysis in Genome Biology compares the lengths of proteins across more than 2,300 species, finding similar length distributions.

Novel Genetic Loci Linked to Insulin Resistance in New Study

A team reports in Nature Genetics that it used glucose challenge test data to home in on candidate genes involved in GLUT4 expression or trafficking.

RNA Editing in Octopuses Seems to Help Acclimation to Shifts in Water Temperature

A paper in Cell reports that octopuses use RNA editing to help them adjust to different water temperatures.