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King's College London - Health: More than a medical matter


Issue 653 (23 April 2012)

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Welcome to BioNews by email, the free weekly digest of the top news stories in assisted conception, genetics, embryo/stem cell research and related areas published by the Progress Educational Trust. Sent to registered subscribers each week, BioNews informs debate in these areas by providing balanced and timely summaries of the news alongside comment, reviews, jobs and opportunities, events and recommendations.


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UK DonorLink: the service users' perspective on its uncertain future
19 April 2012 - by Rachel Pepa
On 8 March staff at UK DonorLink were informed that the Government would discontinue the charity's funding as of September this year. They were told that the voluntary contact register service it provides for adults conceived with, or who donated, sperm or eggs before August 1991 would be transferred to the National Gamete Donation Trust by means of a single tender process, meaning it would be combined with the promotion of donor conception.... [Read More]

Evaluating egg-sharing: new findings on old debates
23 April 2012 - by Zeynep Gürtin-Broadbent
Until recently, there has been very little empirical data to inform debate about egg-sharing. However, new research changes this state of affairs... [Read More]

News Digest

Ageing genes identified in twin study
23 April 2012 - by Victoria Burchell
Chemical alterations in a group of genes affect how we age, scientists have discovered. These changes switch genes on or off in response to diet or environmental factors throughout our lives. Researchers found that four genes that are epigentically switched off in later life may have a bearing on how well we age... [Read More]

Big brains and high IQ linked to small gene change
23 April 2012 - by Helen Brooks
Two genes that influence brain size, and accordingly intelligence and possibly susceptibility to Alzheimer's disease, have been discovered by scientists... [Read More]

Hair hopes raised for bald men in mouse study
23 April 2012 - by Greg Ball
Functioning hair follicles have been grown in hairless mice by researchers in Japan, offering hope of a future treatment for baldness and alopecia in humans. The study is the first to report creating viable hair follicles using human cells, according to Nature News.... [Read More]

Private sperm donor fathers 82 children using sex as donation method
23 April 2012 - by Rosemary Paxman
Ed Houben, a 42-year-old Dutch man has fathered at least 82 children by private sperm donation, mostly by having sex with his clients, news sources report... [Read More]

'Landmark' study could change future of breast cancer
23 April 2012 - by Linda Wijlaars
Breast cancer can be reclassified into ten separate 'diseases' based on its genetic characteristics, according to scientists. Analysis of the DNA and RNA from almost 2,000 tumours identified ten genetically different subtypes of breast cancer with different survival outcomes. The information could be used to better predict the outcomes of the disease, as well as offer tailored treatment to patients... [Read More]

Six kinds of synthetic DNA created
23 April 2012 - by Ana Pallesen
Six new kinds of artificial genetic material have been created by scientists. These XNAs, or xeno-nucleic acids, have similar life-building properties to naturally-occurring DNA... [Read More]

Clinic for freezing ovarian tissue planned in the UK
23 April 2012 - by Marianne Neary
Women may soon be given the option of banking their ovarian tissue if a new clinic to offer the procedure opens in the UK. The technique allows women to freeze ovarian tissue containing eggs to use at a later date and could assist cancer patients and other women who hope to have children later in life.... [Read More]

Maternity rights for women using surrogate mothers raised in Parliament
23 April 2012 - by Dr Lux Fatimathas
Former shadow health secretary Mr John Healey has called for mothers of children conceived using a surrogate to be given equal maternity pay, leave and rights as other mothers. Currently mothers who use surrogates are entitled to 13 weeks unpaid leave, in contrast to mothers who adopt or conceive themselves, who are entitled to 52 weeks leave with 39 weeks maternity pay.... [Read More]


Book Review: Epigenetics - Linking Genotype and Phenotype in Development and Evolution
23 April 2012 - by Ruth Pidsley
Epigenetics has become something of a hot topic in recent years throughout the scientific community. 'Epigenetics: Linking Genotype and Phenotype in Development and Evolution', edited by Professors Benedikt Hallgrímsson and Brian Hall, reminds a new generation of molecular and systems biologists about the historical roots and scope of epigenetics... [Read More]

Book Review: Lab Coats in Hollywood - Science, Scientists and Cinema
19 April 2012 - by Daniel Malynn
How successful are scientists at engaging with filmmakers (be that directors, writers or producers)? This is what, through numerous examples, David Kirby sets out in his book 'Lab coats in Hollywood: Science, scientists, and cinema'... [Read More]


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