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Scary Yet Cool

This New Yorker story looks into synthetic biology, particularly the work of Berkeley's Jay Keasling and Stanford's Drew Endy. Both say that one goal of their work is to make interchangeable parts that can be swapped in and out of a cell — like a hard drive, as Keasling puts it. However, some of what is proposed, namely creating new forms of life or designing children, gives people pause. Why? "Because it's scary as hell," Endy says. "It's the coolest platform science has ever produced, but the questions it raises are the hardest to answer."

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.