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Derek Lowe at In the Pipeline has a retrospective on "the genomics craze in the drug industry," which he says hit its peak 10 years ago. "The big splash of cold water, at least as I remember it, was when the Human Genome Project folks announced the total number of human genes, and it came in way below what some people had been estimating – like, ten times less," he writes. "If you added up all the genes that people had claimed to have filed [patent] applications on up until then, it was well in excess of the number of genes that turned out to actually exist."

Over at Omics! Omics!, Keith Robison follows up on Lowe's theme with his own memories of the early-days genomics bubble. He also recalls the patenting frenzy from his time at Millennium: "Nobody knew what would stand up as a patent -- but there were instructive examples from the early biotech era of business plans sunk by a loss of [freedom to operate] -- and expensive lawsuits that clearly marked that loss," he notes. "So the patenting engine took off -- an expensive insurance policy against an unpredictable future."

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.