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Green Plastic from Bugs

Korean researchers are developing E. coli to produce polylactic acid, a compound that is touted as a greener alternative to plastic, says The Economist. The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology's Lee Sang-yup and his colleagues have been able to make PLA in one step, rather than the two-step process, by splicing in genes from Clostridium propionicum, Cupriavidus necator, and various species of Pseudomonas. "The result is a set of synthetic metabolic pathways—ones that do not exist in nature—which turn the polymer out in satisfyingly large quantities," writes The Economist.

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.