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The Wallaby Sequence

The genome and transcriptome sequence of the tammar wallaby, Macropus eugenii, is giving insight into some of the animal's unique traits like its long gestation period and its hop, reports the Australian Life Scientist. "Using the genetic sequence we have discovered many new marsupial genes vital to the survival of the young, including genes that make antimicrobial proteins that kill bacteria in the dirty pouch," says lead author Tony Papenfuss from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. The researchers also compared the wallaby genome to the human genome, finding many similarities, and Papenfuss notes the comparison led them to find a new gene in the human genome. "What is interesting is the surprising similarities as well as the differences in the genes uncovered in this study," adds the University of Melbourne Marilyn Renfree. The study is in press at Genome Biology.

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.