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That's Not Plastic Surgery, That's Genetic Variation

PZ Myers goes to great length on his blog at Pharyngula to explain a paper recently published by one of GT’s rising young investigators from last year, John Fondon. The paper examines how tandem repeats within the genome can affect morphology in domestic dogs. In particular, Fondon looked at 142 dogs from 92 different breeds; of the 37 different tandem repeats in 17 genes in each, they found 15 of the 17 genes had multiple alleles varying in the length of their repeats. Gene expression variation in two genes, Runx-2 and Alx-4, were correlated with craniofacial variation.

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.