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Being Able to Walk Away

"What does it take for a new technology to catch on in the labs?" Derek Lowe asks at In the Pipeline. First, he says that it has to actually be useful; secondly, it shouldn't be "useful but annoying." For that latter category, Lowe says that automation is often the driving factor, and that signs of failure include lack of automation or poorly designed automation. Good automation, he adds, allows the user to put in the samples "and walk away." "That phrase 'and walk away' is the key idea behind good lab automation. You shouldn't have to stand in front of a machine to make sure that it's going to do what it's supposed to," Lowe blogs.

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.