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Why Do It?

Fecal microbiome transplants are more often being used to treat recurrent Clostridium difficile infections, the New York Times reports, adding that this has spurred Canadian researchers to investigate why someone would become a stool donor.

Researchers from the University of Alberta surveyed 802 people in the United States, Canada, and UK about whether they would be willing to be a stool donor. According to the Times, the researchers presented their results, which found that both altruism and economic compensation were the main drivers of being willing to donor, at Digestive Disease Week. Disincentives to participating, they found, were the need to donate frequently and the logistics of doing so.

One stool donor tells the Times that he has made stopping by the nonprofit stool bank OpenBiome part of his daily routine. "To do something as simple as going in and making a stool donation, and know that it can literally change someone's life from one day to the next … to see that impact makes me feel good," he says.

The Scan

Machine Learning Helps ID Molecular Mechanisms of Pancreatic Islet Beta Cell Subtypes in Type 2 Diabetes

The approach helps overcome limitations of previous studies that had investigated the molecular mechanisms of pancreatic islet beta cells, the authors write in their Nature Genetics paper.

Culture-Based Methods, Shotgun Sequencing Reveal Transmission of Bifidobacterium Strains From Mothers to Infants

In a Nature Communications study, culture-based approaches along with shotgun sequencing give a better picture of the microbial strains transmitted from mothers to infants.

Microbial Communities Can Help Trees Adapt to Changing Climates

Tree seedlings that were inoculated with microbes from dry, warm, or cold sites could better survive drought, heat, and cold stress, according to a study in Science.

A Combination of Genetics and Environment Causes Cleft Lip

In a study published in Nature Communications, researchers investigate what combination of genetic and environmental factors come into play to cause cleft lip/palate.