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Your Avatar, the Scientist

MIT's Education Arcade is building a massively multiplayer online game to help students learn biology and math, according to a press release from the school. The group received $3 million in funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that will enable it to develop the game in conjunction with the Wisconsin-based software developer Filament Games. "This genre of games is uniquely suited to teaching the nature of science inquiry," Eric Klopfer, the program director, says in a statement, "because they provide collaborative, self-directed learning situations. Players take on the roles of scientists, engineers and mathematicians to explore and explain a robust virtual world." A pilot game is expected by spring.

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.