Arlen Specter, a former US senator from Pennsylvania, has died, reports the Nature News blog. He was 82. Specter was a Republican until he switched parties in 2009.

The Nature News blog notes that Specter "was a big proponent of the doubling of the [US National Institutes of Health] budget over a five-year period that ended in 2003" and that he helped secure the NIH a large portion of the 2009 economic stimulus bill.

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Dog DNA testing finds that some purebreds might not truly be purebreds, Inside Edition reports.

Mary Beckerle has returned as director of the Huntsman Cancer Institute, according to ScienceInsider.

Smithsonian Magazine reports that environmental DNA sampling can be used to track elusive organisms.

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