Thank You, Viruses

Viruses have affected the development of several mammalian genomes, says Carl Zimmer at The Loom. In 2000, researchers found that the human gene syncytin — which is necessary for the gestation of offspring — may have come from a virus. "Viruses have insinuated themselves into the genome of our ancestors for hundreds of millions of years," Zimmer says. "They typically have gotten there by infecting eggs or sperm, inserting their own DNA into ours.

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A fire at a Manchester hospital may have destroyed lab equipment and data, the Guardian reports.

Researchers generate a genetic database from skeletal remains from the 1845 Franklin Expedition to the Arctic, Live Science reports.

Researchers in China have begun another trial using CRISPR/Cas9 approaches in cancer patients, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In Science this week: human DNA found in sediments from archeological sites lacking bones, and more.