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NIST SARS-CoV-2 Synthetic Gene Fragments

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology have produced synthetic gene fragments from SARS-CoV-2. Shipped in vials with a data sheet listing the concentration of fragments in the solution, the RNA fragments can be used to measure the sensitivity of tests for the coronavirus. They can also use the synthetic RNA to develop more sensitive tests or new kinds of tests, NIST said. Each solution contains about 1 million copies per microliter. NIST is releasing the synthetic RNA as a research grade test material while it expects to further develop it as a standard reference material. The material is free to researchers, test manufacturers, and testing labs. Technical information and instructions for requesting the material are available here.

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.