NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Autism Speaks yesterday announced nine new winners of its Dennis Weatherstone Predoctoral Fellows grants, including three researchers studying some of the possible genetic and epigenetic factors involved in autism.

Using $530,000 provided by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the Weatherstone awards support "rising talent" in autism research, and most of the grants provide $59,000 over two years to these investigators, who will have mentors overseeing their research.

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In Nature this week: omic analysis of permafrost microbes, hookworm genome, and more.

Biologists turn to environmental DNA sampling to determine whether elusive or invasive species are shedding DNA in a given area.

Rob Knight writes at Scientific American that microbiome studies are about to break out of the laboratory.

Harold Varmus, the director of the National Cancer Institute, has announced that he is stepping down after nearly five years.