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US, Saudi Arabia Agree to Joint Research on Biotech and Plant Genomics

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have formed a pact that will enable greater cooperation between the two nations across a range of scientific research programs, including plant genomics and biotechnology, health, agriculture, water purification, and other areas, the US Department of State said this week.
The memorandum of understanding, signed on Tuesday, “will permit greater agency-to-agency cooperation” and will “formalize the decades-long relationship between the two countries,” according to the State Department. The countries “have a long-standing relationship in science and technology involving cooperation between technical agencies, academic institutions, and private industry.”
The agreement will give US researchers “greater access to new research opportunities, provide US academic institutions the opportunity to form new partnerships with centers of learning in the Middle East, and provide new ways for the US science and technology business community to be more globally competitive,” the State Department said.
Saudi Arabia is planning to implement a five-year, $30 billion effort to upgrade its science and technology infrastructure, the State Department also noted.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.