NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Illumina today announced agreements with three organizations for use of its next-generation sequencing technologies to develop and run non-invasive prenatal testing in parts of Europe.

Illumina's deals are with Biomnis, which plans to make NIPT available in France; with Genoma for NIPT services in Italy; and with the Center for Human Genetics and Laboratory Diagnostics, which will offer NIPT in Germany.

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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.