NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council said today that it has provided £10 million ($16.1 million) to launch an investment fund that will fund early-stage companies in the UK that are focused on commercializing synthetic biology technologies.

The BBSRC said the private investment company Midven will manage the fund, which will provide investments, strategic support, and help startup companies leverage private capital. Midven's Rainbow Seed Fund specializes in supporting firms that spin out from publicly-funded research programs.

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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.