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Learn a Lesson from the Past

Sequencing the human microbiome could lead to exciting and important discoveries for human health, says Ed Yong at Nature News. But researchers working with the microbiome should learn the lessons of genome research past, and avoid overhyping their work, he adds.

At the International Human Microbiome Congress in Paris last week, University of British Columbia microbiologist Julian Davies called microbiome research "the biggest life science project of all time." But others, like University of California, Davis, microbiologist Jonathan Eisen, worry that microbiome research could suffer the same backlash as the Human Genome Project, when many criticized the field for not producing actionable discoveries quickly enough. "Without a doubt we are running into some of the same problems as the Human Genome Project," Eisen tells Yong. "There are many people who have oversold the human microbiome as the cause or cure of everything."

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.