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The MicroRNA War

Both parasites and host defense mechanisms use microRNA for their own ends, say Mohamed-Ali Hakimi and Robert Ménard in The Scientist. The researchers write that there is evidence that hosts use miRNA to fend off attacks from parasites including Plasmodium falciparum, Cryptosporidium parvum, and Toxoplasma gondii. But the parasites may have evolved ways to circumvent those attacks. Toxoplasma, they say, has "an elaborate RNA silencing machinery" and "it's possible that Toxoplasma uses its own host-like miRNAs to hijack the target cell's miRNA defense pathway."

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.