Odd-sounding or laughter-inducing research projects are commonly pushed into the spotlight as examples of wasteful government spending. (Remember comments in 2008 about fruit fly research or the shrimp-on-a-treadmill brouhaha from 2011?) Critics argue that such studies have no practical applications and shouldn't be recipients of governmental largesse.

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An Australian-led team has generated a draft genome assembly of the invasive cane toad in hopes it will help in population control, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

The New York Times reports that the US Department of Defense has implemented about half the recommendations made to improve safe handling of dangerous agents.

In PLOS this week: approach for teasing out archaic introgression in human genomes, immune transcription features in HCV infection, and more.

Stat News reports that Maryland is promoting itself to the biotech industry with a mobile billboard.