As participants in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer wound their way through Chicago this week, oncologists and cancer researchers met close by at the 2012 annual meeting of the American Society for Clinical Oncology to discuss the latest research in the field. At the meeting's opening session, American Cancer Society CEO John Seffrin said, "We are at an unprecedented place in our understanding" of cancer, and added that cancer death rates are dropping, and doctors must take the opportunity to keep this trend going by teaching their patients everything they know about preventing cancer.

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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.