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CONTENTS

Issue 538 (14 December 2009)

COMMENT
NEWS DIGEST
REVIEWS
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Welcome to BioNews by email, published by the Progress Educational Trust, providing you with news, comment and reviews on genetics, assisted conception, embryo/stem cell research and related areas. 

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Comment

Embryo donation is not like adoption
11 December 2009 - by Dr Fiona MacCallum
The recent report by the Ethics Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) (1), stating that the use of the term 'embryo adoption' is misleading, addresses a question which has been asked since the first successful donation of an embryo. Should treatment with donated embryos be approached as any other assisted reproductive technology (ART), or should it be seen as another form of adoption? Children conceived through embryo donation do resemble adopted chi.. [Read More]
A link between male infertility and epigenetic disorders in ART babies?
11 December 2009 - by Dr Rosalind M John
The aim of assisted reproductive technology (ART) is to achieve a single most important goal, the birth of a healthy child. ART is responsible for the birth of over 200,000 children each year worldwide. In the most common form of infertility treatment - IVF - the woman's eggs are collected and then combined with the man's sperm in a petri dish. The successfully fertilised eggs are then transferred into the woman's womb. In ... [Read More]
Unnatural selection
14 December 2009 - by Helen Keeler
I had wanted to donate my eggs to a woman with fertility problems ever since having children of my own. I frequently tell my three children that I always wanted to be a mother and that every day they make my dreams come true. How wonderful it would be to help make someone else's dreams come true too.... [Read More]

News Digest

US approves first new stem cell lines
11 December 2009 - by Nishat Hyder
Regulators in the US have approved 13 new human embryonic stem cell (ES cell)lines - the first to be approved since President Obama lifted the restriction on stem cell research earlier this year in March. The 13 stem cell lines are the first the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has approved under the ethical guidelines that were unveiled in July; they are also the first new stem cells lines available to US scientists in almost a decade. It is hoped that the new lines, which are of [Read More]
Fertility watchdog to review donation rules
14 December 2009 - by Sarah Pritchard
The UK's fertility watchdog - the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) - agreed at an open Authority meeting last week to review a range of its sperm, egg and embryo donation (SEED) policies during 2010.... [Read More]
Genetic switch that turns mice ovaries into testes
14 December 2009 - by Dr Charlotte Maden
Scientists have found that a single gene maintains femininity in adult mice, and that when it is switched off they develop male features. The findings may help understand sex disorders in children or premature menopause in women.... [Read More]
Italian human stem cell scientists lose funding battle
14 December 2009 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza
A group of Italian scientists have lost an appeal to challenge a research funding call that excludes embryonic stem celln (ES cell) research even though the technique is lawful in the country, Nature reports. The Italian health ministry put together an expert committee to produce a set of proposals to attract funding, after the previous stem cell research fund was marred in controversy following allegations that funds were being distributed in a non-transparent and arbitrary manner. .. [Read More]
Gene mainly responsible for curly hair identified
14 December 2009 - by Gozde Zorlu
A 'curly hair gene' has been discovered by scientists at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR), paving the way for advances in hair treatments and forensic science.... [Read More]
Chromosome-shaped genetics lab plans unveiled
14 December 2009 - by Nisha Satkunarajah
Plans are underway to build a new state-of-the-art genetic facility in the shape of a pair of chromosomes in London. The UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation (UKCMRI), will cost a total of £600 million to build, hold 1250 working scientists and promises to bring together scientists world over in a bid to push forward research and advancements in the field of human diseases.... [Read More]
Umbilical stem cells could treat cloudy cornea
14 December 2009 - by Dr Marianne Kennedy
New research offers promise of restoring vision in patients with congenital or acquired corneal scarring. The findings were presented at the 49th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Cell Biology in San Diego, US.... [Read More]
Sperm donor wins right to see child
12 December 2009 - by Ben Jones
The Irish Supreme Court has ruled that a 42-year old man should have access to a lesbian couple's son who was conceived using his donated sperm. The highest court in Ireland ruled that the man has 'natural rights' over the son and that while he should not be entitled to guardianship over the boy it is in the child's best interests for the father to be granted contact.... [Read More]
Gentler bone marrow transplants treat adults with sickle cell
14 December 2009 - by Ailsa Stevens
Adults with the inherited blood disorder 'sickle cell anaemia' may be treated using blood stem cells transplanted from a healthy tissue-matched donor, scientists based at the US National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland, have shown. The treatment successfully boosted levels of normal red blood cells in nine out of 10 of the adults who have so far been given the experimental therapy, according to a study published in the New England J... [Read More]
UK fertility watchdog report on embryo mix-ups due
14 December 2009 - by Dr Vivienne Raper
The UK's fertility industry regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), is poised to report back this week on embryo mix-ups at Guys and St Thomas' Hospital in London. According to The Sun and Independent newspapers, a HFEA licence committee was due to meet today to review the findings of an investigation into what went wrong at the hospital and how to prevent a repeat incident. The hospital came under scrutiny after the embryos of three women were destr... [Read More]
Genetic disorder death parents may give up court fight
14 December 2009 - by Dr Vivienne Raper
A Canadian couple may be forced to drop their malpractice claim against a hospital they claimed killed their daughter, who had a non-fatal genetic disorder. Annie Farlow, who had Trisomy 13, died in 2005 at 80 days old in Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children. Trisomy 13, also known as Patau's syndrome and trisomy D, is caused by an extra chromosome 13. This additional chromosome disrupts development causing, among other features characteristic of the syndrome, heart and kidney d... [Read More]

Reviews

 

 

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