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No Stopping Synthetic Bio

Synthetic biology's in the news. Scientific American delves into using DNA molecules as logic gates that can sense environmental stimuli like cellular markers and could one day be used to detect and kill disease cells. The authors show how DNA gates can be built to play perfect games of tic-tac-toe.

Meanwhile, Technology Review has an article about MIT and Caltech students who are creating edible bacteria that fight cavities, produce vitamins, and treat lactose intolerance as part of MIT's iGEM competition. The MIT students are in the process of engineering the bacterium Lactobacillus bulgaricus, found in yogurt, to prevent cavities by inserting a piece of DNA containing both the gene for an anti-plaque peptide and one for a molecular signal that causes the bacterium to excrete it.

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.