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We Still Have an Abacus Here

Thomas Mailund rounds up and adds to the discussion of whether biologists should learn how to program. Earlier in the week, John Hawks wondered if a new program from Wolfram, Alpha, eventually will make bioinformatics obsolete and replace the work of many of today's graduate students, leading him to ask what today's graduate students should be learning. Daniel MacArthur responds that such tools lag behind the science and so if a young scientist wants to be at the cutting edge, knowing informatics is a must and it'll help that scientist learn "how to think about large-scale biological data." Mailund concurs, adding, "Just because we now have very powerful calculators doesn't mean that it is a waste of time to study math."

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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.