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This week, The New York Times' Dennis Overbye examines the work of researchers who are "trying to construct Life As We Don't Know It in a thimbleful of liquid," particularly that of Gerald Joyce at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif. In this Times video, Overbye discusses Joyce's RNA-focused approach:

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The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified a small group of breakthrough COVID-19 cases, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The New York Times reports that the US Department of Defense is to use genetic genealogy approaches to identify the remains of unknown soldiers.

Vox and Nature discuss the importance of preparing for the next pandemic.

In Nature this week: comparison of five circulating tumor DNA assays, resequencing analysis of lettuce gives insight into its domestication, and more.