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Searching for the Source of the Falkland Wolf

UCLA's Robert Wayne and his colleagues report a phylogenetic analysis of the Falklands wolf. The wolf, according to Scientific American, intrigued Charles Darwin during his visit there in the 1830 as it was the "only endemic land-dwelling mammal and looked little like other canids on the mainland." Wayne and his co-authors looked into this now-extinct wolf's nuclear and mtDNA sequence data to find that its closest living relative is the South American maned wolf. "Molecular dating analyses suggest that the Falklands wolf and several extant South American canid lineages likely evolved in North America, prior to the Great American Interchange," say the authors in the abstract of their Current Biology paper. "The Falklands wolf was the sole representative of a distinct South American canid lineage that survived the end-Pleistocene extinctions on an island refuge."

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.