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The Amazing Giardiasis Dreamcoat

Some 280 million cases of giardiasis occur in the world each year and its infectivity is due to its "genomic wardrobe," according to this New York Times story. Biologists led by Hugo Luján at the Catholic University of Córdoba in Argentina have discovered that the parasite uses RNAi to silence expression of all but one of its 190 coat proteins to confer resistance to immunity. By blocking expression of the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase and Dicer, researchers created a bug that expressed all 190 coat proteins. While it might not be able to be used to make a vaccine for giardiasis, it "may be conceptually applicable to malaria," says Kirk Deitsch at Weill Cornell Medical College.

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.