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Gene Variation and Risk of Acquiring HIV

A paper in Cell Host & Microbe reports that HIV-1 attaches to the Duffy antigen receptor for chemokines found on the surface of red blood cells to enter those cells. The DARC-negative genotype, found in most African people and many people of African decent, confers resistance to Plasmodium vivax malaria, but also gives a 40 percent increase in the odds of acquiring HIV-1, potentially explaining the disproportionate spread of the disease in Africans and African-Americans. Though more susceptible to the disease, people with this variation have a slower progression of HIV. In the Los Angeles Times, the senior author, Sunil Ahuja, cautions that social factors such as poverty, a lack of healthcare, and sexual behavior, probably play more of a role in HIV infection.

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.