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More Genomes, and the Allure of Cotton

EMBL’s Ewan Birney spoke yesterday morning at PAG in San Diego. He is gearing up for the launch of Ensembl Genomes next month. The first groups of organisms to be included in these new databases will be EnsemblMetazoa, EnsemblProtists, and EnsemblBacteria. Then, next quarter, EnsemblPlants, including rice and Arabidopsis, and EnsemblFungi, with Cerevisiae and perhaps Aspergillus, will join the fray. “We are really actively looking for collaborators for EnsemblGenomes,” Birney said.

Following Birney on the podium was Iowa State’s Jonathan Wendel who, as James Ressey who introduced him put it, studies cotton in a sea of corn and soybean. Wendel discussed when the various strains of cotton arose, the four that were domesticated, and how cotton can serve as a model of polyploidy.

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.