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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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23andMe has launched a new tool that estimates someone's risk of developing severe COVID-19 if infected, Bloomberg reports.

The Guardian reports that Pasteur Institute researchers are halting their development of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine following disappointing initial results.

The Wall Street Journal reports that an increased number of younger patients have been hospitalized as the new SARS-CoV-2 strain spread across the UK.

In Cell this week: proteomic patterns among COVID-19 affected tissue samples, transcriptome atlas of developing intestines, and more.