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Sequencing, Sensibility, and 'White Guys' at GET

Emily Singer at the MIT Technology Review blog presents her thoughts of last week's GET Conference in Cambridge, Mass. First, and perhaps not surprisingly, she writes, "sequencing executives really like to have their genomes sequenced." Four out of the conference's 14 "genome pioneers" were the founder of Helicos, a former Solexa chief executive officer, and the CEOs of Illumina and Life Technologies, according to Technology Review. Of the genome pioneers, Singer writes, three were women, one was Asian, and one was African American — "Personal genome sequencing is still mostly the domain of white guys, at least outside the research area," she notes. Though "sequencing is becoming a family affair," Singer suggests that "wives and mothers seem to be more cautious about publicly releasing their genomes." When Singer mentioned this apparent trend to Stephen Quake, he told her that "they generally are the more sensible ones." Another major theme from GET, Singer says, is that "some of the most interesting applications for genome sequencing lie beyond the human genome." Namely, microbiome analyses and sequencing studies to geographically track pathogen emergence suggest "targeting personalized medicine efforts," she reports.

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.