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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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The FDA and CDC call for a pause in administering Johnson & Johnson's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine while reports of rare blood clots are looked into, reports the Wall Street Journal.

According to the Associated Press, a Swiss program aims to shepherd long-term science projects and diplomacy.

CNN reports that two new studies suggest the B.1.1.7 SARS-CoV-2 variant may be more transmissible, but may not lead to more severe disease.

In PNAS this week: analysis of pathway affecting acute kidney injury, parental-specific allelic expression in horse placenta, and more.