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This Week in Nature: Jul 3, 2008

A news piece uses PLoS's publicly available financial records as evidence that its business model is a failure. Due to PLoS ONE bringing in more money than PLoS's flagship products, PLoS Biology and PLoS Medicine, Nature says that the company is failing to make ends meet by "relying on bulk, cheap publishing of lower quality papers to subsidize its handful of high-quality flagship journals." Of course, Jonathan Eisen -- among many others -- is livid and wonders why the success of PLoS ONE bugs Nature so much.

A news feature tracks the career of "leading glycobiologist but a respected 'honorary' palaeo-anthropologist," Ajit Varki. Varki's finding that humans are the only primates that lack Neu5Gc1 and harbor a different sialic acid, Neu5Ac, has provided huge insight into the evolutionary divergence of humans from their ancestors.

Broad researcher Alex Meissner led work looking into the mechanism behind reprogramming stem cells. Using "integrative genomic analysis of reprogramming" of mouse fibroblasts and B lymphocytes to find potential inefficiencies, he found that some cells become trapped in partially reprogrammed states due to incomplete repression of transcription factors, and that DNA de-methylation is an inefficient step to pluripotency.

Two papers have identified novel heart stem cells. In one, scientists found T-box transcription factor Tbx18-expressing progenitor cells that form the epicardium, and in another, researchers discovered a novel cardiogenic precursor in the epicardium that expressed the transcription factor Wt1 and differentiated into cardiomyocytes.


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.