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What Makes Us Human?

He's not just M*A*S*H's Hawkeye Pierce. Alan Alda has hosted PBS's Scientific American Frontiers and starting tonight, Alda will be hosting a three-part series on PBS called The Human Spark. In it, Alda will explore "the nature of human uniqueness," according to the show's website, as he looks at cave wall paintings, visits primate researchers, and undergoes an MRI.

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Moderna reports its vaccine is effective against new SARS-CoV-2 strains, though it is also developing a booster, according to the New York Times.

A new analysis suggests the B.1.1.7 strain of SARS-CoV-2 could be deadlier than previous ones, according to the Guardian.

NPR reports Merck is halting the development of its two candidate SARS-CoV-2 vaccines following disappointing Phase 1 results.

In PLOS this week: gene mutation linked to inherited venous thrombosis, lncRNA patterns in the Asian tiger mosquito, and more.