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Outside the gates

Growing Back Up Teeth

Restricting a gene may help adults grow new teeth when their own wear out.

This gene, named Osr2, prevents humans from growing more than one set of permanent teeth. When geneticists bred mice that lacked the gene, the rodents developed extra teeth next to their first molars as backups.

Unfortunately, mice born without this gene also had cleft palates severe enough to kill. Scientists hope to further study this gene in order to prevent that birth defect.

Source: Discovery News

Stem Cell Ban Lifted

President Barack Obama overturned stem cell research restrictions former President George W. Bush imposed in 2001.

The ban withheld federal support for newly collected colonies of embryonic stem cells, the master cells from which all tissues are formed. Stem cells could be used in the treatment of diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s.

Supporters of Obama’s decision say that lifting the ban will allow all scientific institutions to confer on embryonic stem cell research, something they were not previously able to do if the institution received federal aid.

Opponents of lifting the restrictions say that stem cell research destroys the embryos and thus human life.

Source: USA Today

Happy Birthday Barbie

The Barbie doll celebrated its 50th anniversary on Mar. 9. In commemoration, Mattel is selling reproductions of its most famous dolls, such as Malibu Barbie.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle