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Decoding Secrets of the Platypus Genome (Now That's a Lot of Secrets)

An advance paper in Genome Biology, co-authored by Frank Grutzner (profiled last year in GT's "Tomorrow's PIs" special edition), looks at the evolution of the mammalian major histocompatibility complex using the genomes of monotremes, which include the duck-billed platypus. Their work found homology between chicken microchromosomes and the smallest monotreme chromosomes, as well as that the monotreme sex chromosome system is still evolving: segments of the monotreme MHC that are now on separate chromosomes, they concluded, must once have been on the same gene. If you can't wait for the finished paper, a provisional PDF can be found here.

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.