NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Institutes of Health has put out a call for certain new grants it will fund with money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and it is outlining some areas it will support with the funds.

NIH has kicked off its stimulus package spending with a new Challenge Grants program, fuelled by at least $200 million in fiscal years 2009 and 2010, which is expected to fund 200 or more grants from applicants who get their proposals in before the end of April 2009.

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The New York Times reports that the US Department of Defense has implemented about half the recommendations made to improve safe handling of dangerous agents.

An Australian-led team has generated a draft genome assembly of the invasive cane toad in hopes it will help in population control, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

In PLOS this week: approach for teasing out archaic introgression in human genomes, immune transcription features in HCV infection, and more.

Stat News reports that Maryland is promoting itself to the biotech industry with a mobile billboard.