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Oh, the Potential

Pharmacogenomics has the potential to improve public health, writes Muin Khoury, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's public health genomics office, at the Genomics and Health Impact Blog. About 700,000 emergency department visits each year are due to adverse drug reactions and, Khoury says, genomics, particularly pharmacogenomics could help cut down on those numbers. However, there are only a few pharmcogenomic tests being used in the clinic. "Although considerable information is accumulating on the relationship between genetic variation and drug metabolism and adverse effects, precious little evidence exists for their added value in clinical practice," he writes. Khoury adds, though, that there are initiatives underway to assess the use of pharmacogenomic tests.

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.