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 London School of Economics' Daniele Fanelli argues at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that the reproducibility crisis in science isn't as dire as some say.

A team of researchers in Portugal has examined the genomic basis for racing pigeons' athleticism and navigational skills, finding it's likely polygenic.

Wired reports that diagnostic firms continue to seek, post-Theranos, the ability to diagnose diseases from small amounts of blood.

In Science this week: analysis of DNA from ancient North Africans, and more.