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This Week in Science : Mar 23, 2012

In a paper published online in advance in Science this week, an international team led by investigators at King's College London shows that, in developing mice, the transcription factor Myb is required for the development of hematopoietic stem cells as well as for all CD11bhigh monocytes and macrophages, though it is "dispensable for yolk sac macrophages and for the development of YS [yolk sac]-derived F4/80bright macrophages in several tissues." Overall, the authors say that their "results define a lineage of tissue macrophages that derive from the YS and are genetically distinct from HSC [hematopoietic stem cell] progeny."

Over in this week's issue, an international team led by researchers at Singapore's Institute of Medical Biology shows that "Trim28 is required for epigenetic stability during mouse oocyte to embryo transition." In its paper, the team shows that "embryonic lethality may result from the misregulation of genomic imprinting in mice lacking maternal Trim28," thus revealing "the long-range effects of a maternal gene deletion on epigenetic memory and illustrate the delicate equilibrium of maternal and zygotic factors during nuclear reprogramming," the authors write.

Finally, in Science Translational Medicine, researchers at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York present "enhanced pharmacodynamic models, which synergistically combine the desirable features of systems biology and current PD [pharmacodynamic] models within the framework of ordinary or partial differential equations." The Mount Sinai team says these models, which they've dubbed ePD, "analyze regulatory networks involved in drug action can account for a drug's multiple targets and for the effects of genomic, epigenomic, and post-translational changes on the drug efficacy," and says that information gleaned from them could help "drive drug discovery and shape precision medicine."

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.