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Intein Cleavage Glimpsed With Physics

The February issue of Biophysical Journal features a paper by Philip Shemella and team who describe a "quantum biology" approach to analyze the moves of inteins. With the help of computing power from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the authors zoomed in at the quantum mechanical level to check out how such a protein cuts itself out of single-celled host proteins and reconnects its strands. The hope is that this finding may lead to even more fine-tuned methods to control the mechanism, thereby paving the way for the development of intein-based nanotechnology.

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.