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Genetic Counseling 101

Over at its DNAction blog this week, genetic testing firm Pathway Genomics invited one if its genetic counselors, Emily Enns, to discuss the "usefulness" of genetic counseling in the genetic testing process. Enns says that to become a genetic counselor, one must attain a master's degree in the field as the "profession requires extensive knowledge of human genetics, disease and inheritance and the graduate coursework prepares students through classes in human genetics, biochemical genetics, cytogenetics, and counseling skills." Once they've graduated, genetic counselors can also choose to take the American Board of Genetic Counseling certification test; they might also elect to become licensed by the state in which they practice, she adds. According to Enns, "the role and importance of genetic counselors are paramount for people who seek clear answers to their genetic test results." Genetic counselors help health care practitioners, too. Enns says that they often consult with genetic counselors when sorting through patient treatment options.

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.