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This Week in Nature: Apr 5, 2007

In an editorial, Nature discusses the dearth of South African scientists under 50 years old as well as black scientists. There is, though, good mentoring going on in South Africa that Nature wants to draw attention to by giving out awards. They are accepting nominations until the end of May.

In the news section, an item discusses a new technology for neuroscientists that may make electrodes outdated. Instead, genetically engineered proteins react to different colors of light to either stimulate or inhibit neurons.

Research highlights include a study done by scientists at the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School who have found that it might be possible to bias selection against bacterial resistance to antibiotics. Competition assays found that at certain sub-lethal doses, wild type E. coli survived over other antibiotic-resistant strains.

A landmark study of hagfish embryology out of the RIKEN Centre for Developmental Biology in Kobe, Japan, has revealed the origins and early development of the most primitive living vertebrate, the hagfish. Molecular cloning studies revealed regulatory genes tied to neural crest development, a key evolutionary marker of vertebrates.

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.