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Growing Old Gracefully

For researchers at the University of Miami, it's not just how long you live that's important, but how healthy you are as you age, according to the MIT Technology Review's Arlene Weintraub. The researchers are studying Amish people who have lived to at least 80 in search of genes that may promote "successful aging" — aging without disease, depression, or frailty, Weintraub says. The Miami team believes that one key to such "successful aging" is a genetic pattern they've found in 15 percent of the Amish octogenarians, called "haplogroup X," in the cellular regions responsible for energy control and deterioration levels, she adds. The researchers are planning further studies to better understand how "haplogroup X" affects mitochondrial function, and plan to account for potential environmental effects, Weintraub reports.

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.