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A surgeon performs a xenotransplantation of a genetically engineered non-human kidney to a human.

Surgeons at New York University transplanted pig kidneys into legally dead people on ventilators for the first time late last year.Credit: Joe Carrotta for NYU Langone Health

An advisory committee to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) widely agreed that cautious human trials are needed to test transplanted pig organs in people. In 2021, surgeons transferred genetically modified pig kidneys into two legally dead people, and the kidneys seemed to function normally over the 54 hours of the test. In January, a man who was too ill to qualify for a human or artificial heart was granted compassionate-use authorization to receive a pig heart. He lived for two months after the procedure.

Nature | 5 min read

The resignation of UK Prime Minister (PM) Boris Johnson means more uncertainty for scientists in the United Kingdom. Some hope that a new leader will help to resolve funding woes related to Brexit, which severed the country’s connection to the huge Horizon Europe research programme. “The main issue has been with a lack of trust in the UK’s political leadership, so in this sense there is potential for a solution,” says Carsten Welsch, head of the department of physics at the University of Liverpool, UK. “But precisely because the possibility of association may now look more achievable, it kind of guarantees several more months of not knowing or doing anything, which is itself bad for British science,” says John Womersley, a UK scientist who ran a major European Union-funded physics project.

THE | 4 min read (free registration required)

A small NASA-funded spacecraft called CAPSTONE has phoned home after losing contact with its operators on Earth, less than two weeks after it was launched from New Zealand. The small satellite was out of touch for nearly 24 nail-biting hours while on its way to the Moon to help NASA study an orbit where the agency plans to park a crewed space station. NASA is not sure what caused the problem. The good news is that the spacecraft kept itself going by autonomously performing some tasks, such as manoeuvring to get rid of excess momentum.

Gizmodo | 5 min read

Features & opinion

Scientists share their advice for organizing hybrid conferences, which people can attend in-person or online. “The fly-on-the-wall idea is too often people’s impression of hybrid, but a good hybrid conference gives both audiences equal agency to ask questions and follow the content and interact with each other,” says astronomer Vanessa Moss. “You have to put digital first.”

Nature | 8 min read

MD–PhD student Jonathan Park’s scientific interests changed after caring for a person with cancer. He ended up bidding an amicable farewell to biomedical data scientist Mark Gerstein, a supportive supervisor who had taught him a lot. Park and Gerstein collaborate again to give insight into how to successfully switch research groups without burning bridges.

Nature | 9 min read

For decades, policymakers and campaigners in Europe have told low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) that developing their energy systems is compatible with climate goals. Now, the continent’s leadership is pulling every available fossil-fuel lever to keep the lights on while trying to sever its dependence on Russian oil and gas. With just four months to go before the next United Nations climate conference, COP27, a Nature editorial urges Europe to practise what it preaches — and avoid undermining trust in the COP process. “Europe needs a continent-wide plan to accelerate low-carbon forms of energy in the wake of Russia’s attack on Ukraine,” argues the editorial. “Unless it can change its own energy stance in the coming months, any future call on LMICs to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions more quickly, or phase out coal, will ring hollow, and the world will be the poorer for it.”

Nature | 4 min read

QUOTE OF THE DAY

A Scientific American editorial urges the US Supreme Court to value scientific expertise, statistics and research in their decision-making. (5 min read, free registration required)



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