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How Often Do You Mutate?

A team of researchers, including the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute's Yali Xue, report using next-generation sequencing to determine the mutation rate of human DNA, according to Scientific Blogging. The researchers studied an area of the Y chromosome of two distantly related Chinese men — their most common ancestor lived 200 years, or 13 generations, ago. From next-generation sequencing followed by Sanger sequencing, they saw that the two Y chromosomes were different at four of the 10,149,085 loci examined. From that the researchers determined that the mutation rate for humans is one in 30 million nucleotides per generation. "The amount of data we generated would have been unimaginable just a few years ago," Xue says. "But finding this tiny number of mutations was more difficult than finding an ant's egg in the emperor's rice store." The team's work will appear in Current Biology.

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.