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Profiling George Church

In The New York Times, David Ewing Duncan profiles geneticist George Church, who eventually wants to sequence the entire genomes of 100,000 people as part of his work on the Personal Genome Project. Church, a researcher at Harvard Medical School, runs a lab that employs 45 students and has co-founded or advises about 22 businesses — including ones in the areas of synthetic biology, sequencing and DTC genetic testing startups — Duncan says. But his most talked-about work is the Personal Genome Project, which has already sequenced and made public the genomes of 12 people. The project has 16,000 volunteers and Church hopes to make it to 100,000, Duncan says. "The goal of getting your genome done is not to tell you what you will die from," Church says in the article, "but it's how to learn how to take action to prevent disease." Duncan writes that Church is also working on a project in "mirror biology" — creating DNA and cells that are exact opposites of their natural versions — and expects to have a functioning mirror cell that serves some function in about two years.

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.