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EPA Developing "Virtual Liver" Computer Simulation

Forget virtual reality-the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is building virtual human organs.

The EPA's "virtual tissue" researchers are developing a set of computer simulations that may one day be able to identify the risks posed by common industrial pollutants such as pesticides without testing them on animals.

Last week, the EPA awarded nearly $3 million to four groups-including North Carolina's Hamner Institute and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill-to expand its virtual liver project. They will collaborate with current virtual liver researchers based at the EPA's National Center for Computational Toxicology in the Research Triangle Park.

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