Members of a House committee called for a reduction of the Department of Energy's budget for "biological and environmental research" because it is "duplicative" of industry initiatives, writes Annalee Newitz. However, there are projects that can only be undertaken by the government, such as the Joint Genome Institute's efforts to explore the potential of switchgrass and microbes in cow rumen for advanced-biofuel production, notes Newitz. "It's tempting to offload the cost of science onto business, but there are some kinds of research that only government can make possible," Newitz adds.

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