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South San Francisco-based Fluidigm has introduced its Topaz Growth Chip for protein crystal formation. The chip is the first in a line of microfluidic devices that Fluidigm is planning to release for the generation of large, diffraction-quality protein crystals, according to the company. The company already released a set of crystallization screening chips based on its microfluidics technology back in March 2003, but the crystals produced from such screens often do not fill the necessary size and quality requirements for X-ray diffraction. The growth chip, however, does fill these requirements, according to the company. “The introduction of Topaz diffraction chips represents a significant step toward Fluidigm’s goal of commercializing a system the redefines protein crystallization as a routine, reliable process,” Gajus Worthington, Fluidigm’s CEO, said in the statement. Fluidigm has been collaborating since September 2003 with GlaxoSmithKline to develop the Topaz platform.

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.