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Yamanaka on Stem Cells

Shinya Yamanaka tells the Los Angeles Times that he started working with induced pluripotent stem cells because the stem cell field was so competitive. "I decided to go the opposite direction — [turning body cells] back to the embryonic state," he says. While iPS cells get around the ethical issues of embryonic stem cells and the chance of immune rejection that comes along with embryonic stem cells, Yamanaka notes that the cells are made by retroviruses and can lead to tumor growth. "Scientists need to find out the methods to generate safer iPS cells, how to turn those cells into functional cells, and how to transplant resultant cells into a body. We also need to figure out how to use the cells to study diseases in the lab," he says.

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.