DiaCarta, a four-year-old Bay Area startup eyeing point-of-care diagnostics, said this week that it has commercially launched a line of real-time PCR test kits for somatic mutations linked to cancer.

Called QClamp, the technology uses xenonucleic acid (XNA) to "clamp," or silence, amplification of non-mutant DNA in heterogeneous samples, thus exclusively amplifying mutant DNA. The tests, currently for research use only, can be run in under two hours on existing real-time PCR platforms without a DNA extraction step, on a variety of sample types, the company claims.

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Under a proposed spending bill, the US National Institutes of Health would see an additional $3 billion in funding.

Robert Redfield, the new pick to lead the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has faced criticism for some of his work.

Researchers from the University of Oxford and the University of Sydney sequenced numerous platypus genomes to study their population history.

In Nature this week: sequenced genomes of five additional Neanderthals, and more.

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