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This Week in Nature: Oct 9, 2008

In early online publication, Tübingen researchers have made pluripotent stem cells from adult human testis. They found that these human adult germline stem cells showed many similarities to human embryonic stem cells.

A Q&A asks Robert Tjian about the future and his plans as the new president of HHMI. His main priority, he says, is to keep funding "creative, original, somewhat risky" science. Expanding HHMI's research into the areas of plant biology and biofuels is likely. As for Tjian's work ethic, which he hopes to impart to students, "I'm still working seven days a week because I like it. I don't consider anything I do as work," he says.

Based on research that looked at the bigger picture of collaborative science, scientists offer advice as to what makes a good collaboration and how to implement it. A commentary also looks at networked science, this time how systems biology can have an effect on drug discovery. Setting data standards, modeling drug actions, and changing predictive tox methods are just some areas addressed.

A group of researchers led by NYU's Jane Carlton sequenced the genome of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium vivax, with analysis showing that the parasite resembles other malaria parasites but possesses novel gene families and potential alternative invasion pathways. Another group led by Sanger scientists sequenced Plasmodium knowlesi, the first monkey malaria parasite genome to be described. Comparing it to P. vivax and other sequenced Plasmodium genomes, they found it contained "variant antigen families [that] are dispersed throughout the genome and are associated with intrachromosomal telomere repeats."

 

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.