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Ah, That Par

Shortly after Craig Venter and his colleagues published their synthetic bacterial genome, US President Barack Obama asked the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues to look into the risks and benefits of synthetic biology. The committee came back in December 2010 with a list of recommendations. The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a public-policy think tank, is monitoring the progress being made on those recommendations with a new scorecard, reports the Nature News Blog. "The Wilson centre's new scorecard makes it clear that progress implementing the commission's proposals — several of which are on an 18-month timeline — has been middling, if that," Nature writes.

Rutgers University's Richard Ebright tells Nature that what the scorecard shows is "par for the course in research oversight. The pattern has been for recommendations to be made and those recommendations then to be ignored."

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.