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This Week in Nature: Jun 28, 2012

A team led by investigators at the Chinese Academy of Sciences shows in a Nature Genetics advance online publication that the rice quantitative trait locus GW8 is synonymous with OsSPL16, which encodes a protein that is a positive regulator of cell proliferation.

Over in Nature, a team led by researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston formalizes an evolutionary model through which "functional genes evolve de novo through transitory proto-genes generated by widespread translational activity in non-genic sequences." The team also reports having tested its model in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, finding the "translation of hundreds of short species-specific open reading frames located in non-genic sequences." Overall, the researchers say that their study "illustrates that evolution exploits seemingly dispensable sequences to generate adaptive functional innovation."

Also in this week's issue, University of Edinburgh's Geoffrey Boulton argues for open data, saying that the recent focus on open access publication has drawn attention away from the issue. "Everyone will benefit from a more open approach," Boulton writes in Nature. "The digital and communications revolutions bring opportunities for research that demand openness and a willingness to share data."

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.