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Issue 545 (15 February 2010)

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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. 

Visit the BioNews website at where you can subscribe for free to receive BioNews by email in one of three formats, and search the archive of more than 6,000 articles.


What happens when surrogacy goes wrong: The recent Indiana surrogacy case in wider context
09 February 2010 - by Louisa Ghevaert
A northern Indiana couple are the latest in a series of people to become embroiled in a legal battle in the US following the birth of a child conceived through surrogacy. They follow in the footsteps of a recent series of high profile and hard fought US legal parentage battles involving surrogate-born babies. As demand for surrogacy grows worldwide and its practice remains largely unregulated, surrogacy continues to raise difficult legal, ethical and emotional questions which a... [Read More]
Back to the future
15 February 2010 - by Professor Adam Hedgecoe
The Counsyl 'Universal Genetic Test' has a distinctly 'retro' feel to it. With its focus on Mendelian disorders (i.e. classic genetic diseases like cystic fibrosis), many of the ethical issues raised by this new service are not new themselves, but rather present new challenges... [Read More]

News Digest

Witchcraft tried by 100,000 aspiring mums, survey finds
15 February 2010 - by Dr Vivienne Raper
A quarter of women trying for a baby have used a fertility spell and 15 per cent thought it worked, according to a Netmums survey... [Read More]
First patents for induced stem cells
15 February 2010 - by Nisha Satkunarajah
A Californian biotechnology company has obtained the first US patent for developing a method to create stem cells from adult cells.... [Read More]
Human Epigenome project launched
15 February 2010 - by Charlie McDermott
The International Human Epigenome Consortium (IHEC), launched in Paris last week, plans to map 1,000 reference epigenomes within a decade... [Read More]
Bridge to offer Counsyl test
15 February 2010 - by Dr Marianne Kennedy
A UK fertility centre is to offer the controversial US genetic test that promises to eliminate the chances of a couple having a baby with over 100 inherited diseases.... [Read More]
Scientists set to tackle gene-doping in sport
15 February 2010 - by Dr Sophie Pryor
Researchers have expressed concern about athlete's use of genetic tools in the 'next generation' of illegal doping, and have stressed the importance of developing reliable new detection tests to stop them. Writing in the journal Science, Theodore Friedmann and colleagues at the University of California warn that 'the time is right to look at how advances in genetics are affecting sport'. The authors highlight the dangers of using imperfect and 'highly risky' genetic techniques, which may have... [Read More]
'Age is not a contraceptive', warn fertility experts
15 February 2010 - by Maren Urner
The UK's Family Planning Association (FPA) has launched a new campaign, entitled 'Conceivable?', to warn women over 35 that age alone is not a reliable contraceptive... [Read More]
Stem cell doctor misconduct hearing underway
15 February 2010 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza
The UK's General Medical Council (GMC) is hearing evidence of a Dutch clinic that supplied stem cell therapies to British patients alleged to be not 'intended for human use'.... [Read More]
Mother's age linked to autism risk
15 February 2010 - by Rosie Beauchamp
A woman having a child at 40 has a 50 per cent greater chance of having a child diagnosed with autism than a woman of 25-29, a study has found... [Read More]
Biotech gets final go-ahead for landmark stem cell trial
15 February 2010 - by Dr Jay Stone
The UK Gene Therapy Advisory Committee (GTAC) has given ReNeuron, a British biotech company, permission to begin the first ever clinical trial into using embryonic stem cells as a stroke treatment this year... [Read More]
IVF boys have shorter fingers, may have fertility problems
15 February 2010 - by Gozde Zorlu
Boys conceived through IVF tend to have short fingers - a trait linked to infertility, say researchers in a study published in the journal of Reproductive Biomedicine Online... [Read More]
Genetic variant may influence biological ageing
15 February 2010 - by Ruth Pidsley
Scientists have identified a genetic variant that may influence the rate at which a person will age. The finding, published in last week's edition of the journal Nature Genetics, could help identify which individuals are most susceptible to common age-related conditions, such as heart disease and Alzheimer's disease.... [Read More]


Book Review: The Usborne Introduction to Genes and DNA
08 February 2010 - by Ata Anane
The media is filled with coverage of genes and genetics, ranging from new clinical developments to genetic advancements. But few biology textbooks/booklets offer a way of simplifying the topic to pupils. This is one of the advantages of this introductory book... [Read More]
Book Review: Flesh and Blood - The Human Story Behind the Headlines
15 February 2010 - by Caroline Gallup
Stephen Blood died in 1995, following the sudden onset of bacterial meningitis. His widow, just twenty-eight years old, hit the headlines after fighting for the right to use his sperm to conceive their child. Flesh and Blood tells the human story behind the headlines... [Read More]



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