At The Tree of Life blog, Jonathan Eisen asks New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and California Congressman Darrell Issa if they're serious about a new bill they've co-sponsored that would limit public access to NIH-funded research. As to why they would do this, Eisen notes that the lawmakers have received donations from the publisher Elsevier, which has come out against an open-access model of scientific publishing.

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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.