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Luke Jostins at Genomes Unzipped examines how research sequencing could translate into clinical sequencing — and what that might mean for future medical practice. In a recently published Genetics in Medicine paper, researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin report how they used exome sequencing to diagnose a 15-month-old boy with intractable irritable bowel syndrome. While the Wisconsin team notes that it's "possible that continued single-gene testing ... may have eventually achieved a diagnosis in this child, no data existed to further guide" them as to which genes to interrogate in this iterative fashion. Jostins adds that as exome sequencing is often accessible to well-equipped institutions for less than £1,000, he agrees with the authors' conclusion that repeated single-gene tests would have been more "costly and time consuming." Based on this and other recent papers that demonstrate the utility and cost-effectiveness of exome sequencing, Jostins says that "it will be a very powerful tool in the doctor's diagnostic arsenal," and suggests that "the age of medical sequencing is coming fast."

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.