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This Week in PNAS : Feb 21, 2012

In a paper published online in advance in PNAS this week, an international team led by investigators at the Broad Institute reports on its "discovery and prioritization of somatic mutations in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma by whole-exome sequencing." Using this technique, the team sequenced 55 primary tumor samples from DLBCL patients and their matched normal tissue, finding recurrent mutations in genes known to be functionally relevant in the disease and somatic mutations in genes for which a functional role in DLBCL was not previously suspected, including MEF2B, MLL2, BTG1, GNA13, ACTB, P2RY8, PCLO, and TNFRSF14.

Researchers at Yale University and at the University of Illinois at Chicago report on the structural basis for the recognition of completely divergent anticodon loops of natural isoacceptor tRNAs by a single aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The team says such recognition "facilitates the reassignment of the genetic code in yeast mitochondria."

Elsewhere in the PNAS Early Edition, researchers at the University of California, San Diego, and their colleagues report on an "association of common genetic variants in GPCPD1 with scaling of visual cortical surface area in humans." The UCSD-led team identifies SNPs that it says contribute "to the proportional area of human visual cortex."

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.