Through genetic analysis, researchers have traced the origin of brown rats to northern China, the New York Times reports.

Fordham University's Jason Munshi-South tells the Times' Carl Zimmer that the idea for the study came from wondering: "What is a New York City rat, and where did it come from?"

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360Dx reports that the US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services would cover next-generation sequencing-based cancer panel tests.

The Washington Post reports that a meteorologist is being considered as presidential science and technology advisor.

In PNAS this week: precision medicine strategy to screen for disease risk, genome evolution in Haemophilus influenzae, and more.

Researchers have developed a PCR-based assay to gauge whether manatees are present in waters.