A new Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences has been awarded to 11 scientists, according to a press release from the Milner Foundation. The prize is sponsored by Genetech's Art Levinson, Google's Sergey Brin, Anne Wojcicki from 23andMe, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, and Yuri Milner, the founder of Mail.ru Group.

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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.