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The famed Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci may have been blessed with the same "quick eye" that may give top tennis and baseball players an edge. In Leonardo's case, this super-vision may have enabled him to see and capture fleeting moments in his paintings — such as the enigmatic half-smile of the Mona Lisa.

This ability to see details in even the fastest-moving or fleeting phenomenon may be a result of a higher flicker fusion frequency, said David Thaler, a geneticist at the University of Basel in Switzerland. He added that the trait could explain how some baseball players can spot the seams of the ball in flight, for example, or how some tennis stars can react to a super-fast ball.

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