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This Week in Science: Jan 9, 2009

With this issue, Science kicks off its coverage of the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species. This issue contains an essay by Carl Zimmer on how life began and a review article by the Queen's University of Belfast's Peter Bowler on how Darwin's thinking was original, despite not being the first to come up with the idea of evolution.

A group of scientists wrote in to urge the recognition of Robert Gallo's contribution for HIV/AIDS research. Gallo showed that HIV-1 causes AIDS and then developed a diagnostic kit. The 2008 Nobel prize in physiology or medicine for the discovery of HIV-1 went to Francoise Barré-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier. "Given the enormous impact of these developments on the lives of countless thousands globally, Gallo's contributions should not go unrecognized," the authors write.

Vadim Gladyshev and his colleagues report that one codon can code for two amino acids and which amino acid is incorporated is determined by a 3' untranslated region structure and where the codon falls within the mRNA. In particular, the researchers saw that UGA can specify either selenocysteine or cysteine in Euplotes crassus.

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.