The National Institutes of Health this month awarded four grants to help pay for microRNA-related research projects aiming to study the function of conserved miRNAs in plants, the role the non-coding RNAs play in human T- and B-cell activation, the impact of miRNAs in brain cancer, and how miRNAs affect the aging process.

The first grant, worth $223,430 in the first year of its four-year term, was awarded to Pennsylvania State University's Michael Axtell to support his investigation into the functional and evolutionary genomics of ancient miRNAs.

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

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

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

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

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