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A Surprise Raise

The National Science Foundation is set to get a bigger budget in 2012, says ScienceInsider's Jeffrey Mervis. Congress expects to give the agency a 2.5 percent boost over this year's budget, translating to a $173 million raise, Mervis adds. "It's an unexpected turn of events for the agency," he adds. "Earlier this fall, the Senate passed a spending bill that would have cut NSF's budget by $161 million, and a House of Representatives spending panel this summer embraced a flat budget." If NSF does indeed receive the extra funds, its research budget would grow to $5.7 billion. And while the agency's education directorate will shrink by about 4 percent, Congress has protected NSF's Noyce scholarship — which helps undergraduates who plan to become science teachers — and the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, which helps "have-not research states," Mervis says.

The Scan

Study Reveals New Details About Genetics of Major Cause of Female Infertility

Researchers in Nature Medicine conducted a whole-exome sequencing study of mote than a thousand patients with premature ovarian insufficiency.

Circulating Tumor DNA Shows Potential as Biomarker in Rare Childhood Cancer

A study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology has found that circulating tumor DNA levels in rhabdomyosarcoma may serve as a biomarker for prognosis.

Study Recommends Cancer Screening for Dogs Beginning Age Seven, Depending on Breed

PetDx researchers report in PLOS One that annual cancer screening for dogs should begin by age seven.

White-Tailed Deer Harbor SARS-CoV-2 Variants No Longer Infecting Humans, Study Finds

A new study in PNAS has found that white-tailed deer could act as a reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 variants no longer found among humans.