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What do adult Quidditch games, a theme park at Universal Studios in Florida, countless knockoffs, and biomedical research have in common? They were all inspired by J.K. Rowling's phenomenally popular Harry Potter series, says the Hartford Courant's William Weir. For more than 10 years, researchers have used the Potter series as a starting point for studies on genetics, social cognition, and autism.

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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.