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The Man Doesn't Take a Week Off

Craig Venter has applied for a patent to cover the method he has used to build a synthetic organism with the minimal gene set, and at least one biotech group is already calling for its rejection. For the straight news story, check out this article from the BBC. If you're looking for some sass, the New Scientist has an article citing critics concerned that Venter is cobbling together a "microbesoft" (seriously).

And for a running commentary from other people, here's a Wired blog that has drawn a pretty good crowd. We particularly enjoyed the post that began, "Please god no" -- though it wasn't clear whether the post was meant as a personal message to Venter.


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.