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This Week in Science: Sep 26, 2008

Proteomics is moving into the big leagues, say two Science news articles. Some researchers now think it's time to begin a human proteome project. Earlier efforts didn't take off due to immature technology and a lack of standards, but now with standards established and better techniques, some proteomics leaders say it is time. The details of how aren't yet set but Science says the researchers will try to identify one protein for each of the estimated 20,400 human genes. The other article says that, also because of new proteomics strategies, the biomarker hunt is showing more promise.

Science delves into the US presidential campaign by looking into how the candidates are advised on science matters. Three recent panels, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Center for the Study of the Presidency, and the National Academy, have called on John McCain and Barack Obama to choose a science and technology adviser shortly after the election ends. "They felt it was more important that the next president get very good people into key positions," says E. William Colglazier, the executive officer of the National Academy of Sciences.

Researchers led by Bert Vogelstein, Victor Velculescu, and Kenneth Kinzler report on using global genomic analysis to look at signaling in human pancreatic cancer and the mutations found in human gliablastoma multiforme. In pancreatic cancer, they found 63 genetic mutations that affect 12 cellular signaling pathways and say that these mutations and the systems they affect can explain the major features of pancreatic tumorigenesis. In the glioblastoma multiforme paper, they sequenced 20,661 protein-coding genes and found recurrent mutations in the isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 active site.

In an early online Science article, Konrad Hochedlinger and his colleagues say they've made mouse induced pluripotent stem cells from fibroblasts and liver cells using adenoviruses that did not integrate into the mouse DNA and that only briefly expressed the viral transcription factors Oct4, Sox2, Klf4, and c-Myc. "The adenovirus doesn't integrate permanently, so the cells aren't altered genetically," Hochedlinger tells the Wall Street Journal.


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.