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A Big Day: The Economist Writes About Lateral Gene Transfer

The Economist reports on work done by Peter Davies and published in PLoS ONE this week that shows that lateral gene transfer probably occurred in herring, smelt, and sea raven. Davies looked across genomes for an antifreeze protein and found that the three fish species share one lectin-like AFP in particular, but don't share a common ancestor. If the fish were bacteria or viruses, which are known to regularly switch DNA, this wouldn't be a big deal, the story says. "But animals swapping DNA directly with one another is previously unheard of."

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.