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To Study or Not to Study

DrugMonkey and Zen Faulkes at NeuroDojo disagree about how much time should be spent studying for a doctorate. DrugMonkey says the median time for completion of a biomedical degree in the US is about six years. This is up from the 1970s when it was 5.5 years, and down from the late 1990s when it was 6.9 years. DrugMonkey says graduate training should be kept under six years, he says four years may be too short, and suggests five years of training as a happy medium.

Zen Faulkes disagrees. The typical length for graduate study in the UK and in Australia is about three years, Faulkes says. While DrugMonkey says four years is too short, Faulkes says, "I'm not willing to accept that. Because I don't automatically think my colleagues who got degrees in other countries with shorter doctorates are crummy half-rate scientists." And the length of expected training for scientists, he adds, has a lot to do with the "strangled" job market for researchers.

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.