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This Week in Nature: Jun 14, 2007

Scientists have found proof for the function of so-called junk DNA. As the first part of the 4-year-old ENCODE project, an international consortium looked at 1% of the genome, finding that much of it is transcribed. Their results indicate that intergenic regions are both transcribed and overlap and interact more than previously thought. They also found that many constrained regions were nonfunctional, putting the idea that constrained equals function into question. Read several news articles here and here.

A collaboration between the University of Pennsylvania and UCSD has identified new proteins involved in the miRNA pathway. The human RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) associates with a protein complex containing the anti-association factor eIF6, which they found to be conserved between human cells and C. elegans.

Move over, son, Gigantoraptor erlianensis is in the house. Paleontologists at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing have discovered fossil remains of a new non-avian dinosaur the Late Cretaceous period in China. It's estimated to have tipped the scales at 1,400 kg, as compared to its relatives who weighed in at 40.

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.