NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The UK's Medical Research Council has funded a new international initiative seeking to develop a multi-partner platform that will harness genomics and other technologies to study chronic, non-communicable diseases that impact sub-Saharan African.

The £1 million ($1.6 million) in new MRC funding will support the African Partnership for Chronic Disease Research (APDCR), which will tackle studies of a wide range of chronic diseases across Africa, for five years, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute said yesterday.

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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.