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This Week in Nature: Jul 12, 2007

American and Russian researchers have derived embryonic stem cells from unfertilized eggs, says a news story. Though this process sidesteps the issues surrounding using stem cells from fertilized eggs, it raises concerns that parthenogenetically-derived cells might not function as normal cells do and adds its own ethical situation of getting eggs from healthy women, according to the article.

Austrian researchers led by Georg Dietzl report that they made and validated a genome-wide library of transgenic RNAi strains for Drosophila melanogaster. This library, the researchers say, is an alternative to forward genetic screens since these RNAi lines can target any tissue at any point during the fly's life. The related news story reports that library is available through the Vienna Drosophila RNAi Center and that the center is losing two strains a week since they cannot keep back up vials of flies.

While not systems biology-related, this article is still all over the news – it describes the evidence for water on a planet, the gas giant planet HD 189733b, outside our solar system.

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.