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Keeping Your Cell Lines Straight

A Nature News piece examines the use of DNA fingerprinting technologies to validate the authenticity of cell lines used for research. "Cell-line misidentification has led to mistakes in the literature, misguided research based on those results and millions wasted in grant money," according to Nature. To combat the issue, researchers from the American Type Culture Collection group based in Manassas, Va., are developing a standardized system "for verifying the identity of cultured cells using DNA fingerprinting," Nature reports. Additionally, the ATCC team intends to deposit reference line data into a National Center for Biotechnology Information-hosted database for public use. Some are skeptical, however, of whether researchers will universally embrace DNA fingerprinting for cell-line verification. Gertrude Buehring, a virologist at the University of California, Berkeley, told Nature, "Without the policing by journal editors and granting agencies many investigators may not be motivated to do the necessary tests to authenticate the cell lines used for their research."

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.