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Attack of the Tree Clones

The nature-versus-nurture debate has been ongoing for years. Now a team of researchers has found that cloned trees raised in different environments react differently to droughts, even though they are identical, says the Los Angeles Times' Amina Khan. In a new study published in PNAS, the researchers write that they raised clones of three varieties of poplar trees — genetically identical but raised in different parts of Canada. In the case of the Walker and DN34 clones, trees grown in different environments reacted differently when deprived of water, Khan says. "Walker poplars raised in Alberta took two full days longer than their Saskatchewan siblings to respond to the simulated drought by closing up holes in their leaves, called stomata, to minimize water loss. And DN34 poplars raised in Manitoba closed their stomata two days sooner than DN34 poplars from Saskatchewan," she adds. The Okanese clones reacted the same in drought conditions, no matter where they were raised. The researchers say differences in gene activity could be responsible — Okanese poplar gene patterns match no matter where they are from whereas Walker and DN34 gene patterns differ based on origin.

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.