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A Plea

More than 450 researchers from across the US and around the world have signed a letter to the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee of the US Senate to ask that they sufficiently fund the country's scientific endeavors. As posted in the Cosmic Variance blog, researchers from California to China say that cutting science budgets would have a big impact on the both the long- and short-term competitiveness of the US. "The economic health and world leadership of this country depends on an unbroken cycle of innovation, rooted in our ability to attract and educate new waves of creative young scientists and engineers, each year," the letter states. "It is this cycle of innovation, whose continuation depends on funding for basic research, that drives both basic and applied sciences, and the creation of new technologies and treatments that define and improve the quality of everyday life." You never know which innovation will be the next one to change the world, or which young scientist will make the next important breakthrough, the researchers add. Cuts to the DOE's Office of Science, NSF, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology mean some research will have to stop immediately, and the cuts would affect everything from biotechnology to high-speed computing, to nuclear physics. Basic research motivates many young people to study science, the researchers write, adding, "As young scientists and our mentors, we ask that you make science a priority and fund basic research at a level that provides long term growth as an investment, both in our future and our nation's future."

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.