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Butanol's Time in the Sun

It's the unofficial start of summer today in the US and that usually means drivers face higher gas prices. If one synthetic biology company has its way, butanol may someday be making its way into gas tanks all over the country, reports the Nature News blog. Gevo has established a factory in Minnesota that the company says will be producing 1 million gallons of isobutanol a month by the end of the year. Nature notes that Gevo uses technology based on work by the University of California, Los Angeles' James Liao that uses yeast cells with re-engineered metabolic pathways that make isobutanol rather than amino acids. Other companies, including Butaman and Green Biologics, are also focused on turning forms of butanol into a biofuel.

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.