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Scanning Science

The latest issue of Science lays out tasty morsels for researchers from all realms of systems biology.

If comparative genomics is your thing, check out Byrappa Venkatesh's paper on conserved noncoding elements in the human genome, discovered through a project that generated a draft sequence of the elephant shark genome and used that as a comparison for the human sequence. "The elephant shark sequence revealed twice as many CNEs as were identified by whole-genome comparisons between teleost fishes and human," the authors write in the abstract. "The ancient vertebrate-specific CNEs in the elephant shark and human genomes are likely to play key regulatory roles in vertebrate gene expression." The paper boasts senior authors including Robert Strausberg, Sydney Brenner, and Craig Venter.

More interested in proteomics? Mark Gerstein's lab turns in a paper on studying protein interactions in combination with their three-dimensional structures -- a practice that the authors say is often neglected in interaction research. "We find that some previously recognized relationships between network topology and genomic features ... are actually more reflective of a structural quantity, the number of distinct binding interfaces," writes lead author Philip Kim.

And let's not forget about metagenomics. Brett Baker serves as lead author on a paper out of Jillian Banfield's lab that investigates archaea, demonstrating the presence of a low-abundance line of archaea that is highly divergent from the rest of its family tree. The finding comes from a community genomics program studying microbes living in acid mine drainage.


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.