A mathematical astronomer from Arkansas proposes a plausible and sobering solution to Fermi's paradox:
Here we argue that ...the typical technological species becomes extinct soon after attaining a modern technology and that this event results in the extinction of the planet's global biosphere.
Implication of our technological species being first and early by Daniel P. Whitmire, International Journal of Astrobiology, online 03 Aug 2017 (+alternate with author's summary).
The Implications of Cosmic Silence, University of Arkansas (+Newswise), 11 Aug 2017.
Gaia has more about the longterm fate of living planets.
Milky Way's Origins Are Not What They Seem, by M. Fellman, Northwestern University (+Newswise), 26 Jul 2017.
Given how much of the matter out of which we formed may have come from other galaxies, we could consider ourselves space travelers or extragalactic immigrants.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus emerged long before the introduction of methicillin into clinical practice by Catriona P. Harkins et al., doi:10.1186/s13059-017-1252-9, Genome Biology, 20 Jul 2017.
Methicillin resistance was out there before methicillin, Nature Research Highlights, 24 Jul 2017.
Metazoan Genes Older Than Metazoa? and Genes Older Than Earth? are related local webpages.
It apears that there is much more cometary material in the Oort Cloud than previously known. Their orbits place these large comets in interstellar space, where they might stray to and from orbits around other nearby stars. This traffic would increase the likelihood of interstellar panspermia.
Large, Distant Comets More Common Than Previously Thought, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA, 25 Jul 2017.
Debiasing the NEOWISE Cryogenic Mission Comet Populations by James M. Bauer et al., n 2, v 154, The Astronomical Journal, 14 Jul 2017.
Comets: The Delivery System has more. Thanks, George Nickas.
Now a comprehensive new study from Japan lists, categorizes and probes many examples of regulatory elements derived from HERVs: Systematic identification and characterization of regulatory elements derived from human endogenous retroviruses by Ito J, Sugimoto R, Nakaoka H, Yamada S, Kimura T, Hayano T, et al., doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1006883, PLoS Genet, uncorrected proof online 12 Jul 2017.
Viruses and Other Gene Transfer Mechanisms has much more about HGT.
The [bacterial] immunity system works just as efficiently as ours, except our system functions at the protein recognition level, whereas CRISPR works at the nucleic acid recognition level — Ailong Ke, professor of molecular biology and genetics, Cornell University
The image shows an aerogel array for collecting dust on NASA's Stardust mission.
Thanks, Chandra Wickramasinghe and Martin Langford.