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Issue 654 (30 April 2012)

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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.


Viewing and consent
26 April 2012 - by Ann Lingard
Museums display the skeletons of people with genetic abnormalities; poets, writers, artists and photographers have depicted people with genetic abnormalities in their work. Is it right to do so - is it ethical, or are we little more than voyeurs?... [Read More]
New medicines for serious conditions: do the risks outweigh the benefits?
30 April 2012 - by Amy Simpson and Marcus Longley
No medicine is 100 percent safe. Medicines regulators need to decide whether the advantages of taking the medicine outweigh the disadvantages, and ask if the side effects are acceptable. Analysis of the risks and benefits associated with new medicines is very complex – what risks and benefits are we talking about, and how should they be weighed? Where the condition is serious and/or rare, these decisions can be even harder... [Read More]
Time for fertility clinics to improve on compliance and procedures
30 April 2012 - by Annabel Christie
Following the investigation of abortion clinics, fertility clinics should now improve their procedures so that there are no unwanted surprises if they are similarly inspected... [Read More]

News Digest

Stress in early years could alter children's DNA
30 April 2012 - by Luciana Strait
Children who have been physically abused or bullied are more likely to have shorter telomeres. These structures, found at the ends of chromosomes, act like the plastic caps on shoelaces, and prevent DNA strands from unravelling... [Read More]
IVF drugs linked to childhood leukaemia but absolute risk remains low
30 April 2012 - by Dr Daniel Grimes
French researchers have reported an association between drugs given to mothers undergoing fertility treatment and an increased risk of leukaemia in their children... [Read More]
Split spare sperm samples, court tells separated lesbian couple
30 April 2012 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza
Thirteen vials of sperm are to be divided between two women after their relationship ended, a Canadian court has ruled. It ruled the sperm should be treated as property and divided between the former couple as other joint assets were upon separation.... [Read More]
Heart scar tissue repaired without stem cells
30 April 2012 - by Helen Brooks
Scar tissue formed after a heart attack could be repaired without the use of stem cells, according to US scientists... [Read More]
Roche withdraws bid for DNA sequencing pioneer Illumina
30 April 2012 - by Ruth Saunders
The standoff between Roche and Illumina, which provides services and equipment for genetic analysis, finally came to an end last week as the Swiss pharmaceuticals giant ended efforts for a hostile takeover bid... [Read More]
German doctors to support children conceived with 'stolen sperm'
30 April 2012 - by Jessica Ware
Two German gynaecologists will have to pay child support for twins after they artificially inseminated the mother without obtaining the father's permission to use his sperm, which he had asked to be destroyed two years earlier... [Read More]
First British baby born with help from IVF embryoscope incubator
30 April 2012 - by Dr Greg Ball
A fertility clinic helped to conceive the first baby born in the UK following the use of a device which allows doctors to record images of a developing embryo in the days following fertilisation, prior to implantation... [Read More]
MRSA superbug evades immune defences with a jumping gene
30 April 2012 - by Dr Victoria Burchell
A gene identified in MRSA may contribute to the spread and virulence of the superbug. The gene - sasX - is located in a segment of DNA called a mobile genetic element and is capable of jumping from one bacterium to another... [Read More]


Book Review: IVF - An Emotional Companion
30 April 2012 - by Dr Berenice Golding
An illuminating insight into the experiences of those who have used IVF, Brigid Moss' 'IVF: An emotional companion' is both informative and easy-to-read. A combination of case studies, personal reflections and expert opinions from clinicians, academics, alternative therapists and counsellors support the issues discussed. Because of its accessible format, the book would be of interest to those considering IVF or indeed those further along in their treatment... [Read More]
Theatre Review: DNA
30 April 2012 - by Victoria Kay
'What's more important, one person or everyone?' That's the question at the centre of Dennis Kelly's dark and chilling play, DNA... [Read More]



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