It's a balancing act, to be sure, to get and keep a core lab facility up-to-date with new technologies and services. There are many facets of running a shared resource that need to be considered when a core looks into acquiring or upgrading a tool or changing a service. There's the gamble of whether that new technology will be the one to take off or not — after all, no one wants to invest time and money in someone's Betamax and miss out on VHS.

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In Nature this week: omic analysis of permafrost microbes, hookworm genome, and more.

Biologists turn to environmental DNA sampling to determine whether elusive or invasive species are shedding DNA in a given area.

Rob Knight writes at Scientific American that microbiome studies are about to break out of the laboratory.

Harold Varmus, the director of the National Cancer Institute, has announced that he is stepping down after nearly five years.