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Issue 641 (23 January 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. 

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S.H. v Austria denies infertile Europeans human rights
23 January 2012 - by Professor Richard Storrow
Procreative liberty and the right to legal recognition of parent-child relationships continue to be prominent themes in disputes between individual citizens and government over access to assisted reproduction. The judiciary has been largely reluctant to state whether resort to reproductive technology is a human right... [Read More]
To twin or not to twin? That is the (unasked) question
23 January 2012 - by Stevienna de Saille
A recent spate of articles celebrating the birth of an IVF 'twin' five years after her brother left me perplexed. Why was this news, when embryo freezing has been in use since the mid-1980s? And as the children were not identical by what definition were they twins? [Read More]

News Digest

Statins could treat breast cancer gene mutation
23 January 2012 - by Ruth Saunders
Mutations in a single gene could be used to identify breast cancer tumours that can be tackled with cholesterol-lowering statins, a recent study has found. Scientists identified a link between a cholesterol-building mechanism in the body and disorganised cell growth indicative of cancer... [Read More]
Lifelong intelligence isn't just down to your genes
23 January 2012 - by Dr Linda Wijlaars
Researchers from Scotland have found around one-quarter of changes in intelligence observed from childhood to old age may be due to our genes. Although the researchers accept the finding is not statistically significant, it is the first to estimate the contribution of genetic variations to cognitive ageing.... [Read More]
£5.8m boost for mitochondrial disease research
23 January 2012 - by Maria Botcharova
An experimental genetic technique to prevent serious diseases from passing between mother and child is to receive £5.8 million funding. The Wellcome Trust is contributing £4.4 million to the new Centre for Mitochondrial Research at Newcastle University... [Read More]
Sex determination possible at five weeks after conception
23 January 2012 - by Dr Rebecca Robey
A test has been developed to determine the sex of a fetus from only five weeks old. The test relies on a blood sample from the mother and therefore carries no risk to the child... [Read More]
Gene link to oesophageal cancer
23 January 2012 - by Ayesha Jadoon
The gene causing a skin disorder which predisposes to oesophageal cancer has been identified. More than nine out of ten people with tylosis, which causes thickening of the skin on the palms and soles, will develop oesophageal cancer before the age of 65, but until now the reason for this was obscure... [Read More]
Myriad Genetics acquires patent on another breast cancer-linked gene
23 January 2012 - by Ayesha Ahmad
Myriad Genetics, a leading US molecular diagnostic company, has been granted exclusive rights to an analysis of the RAD51C gene. Mutations of the gene have been associated with an increased risk for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer and the company now hopes to develop a commercial test for RAD51C.... [Read More]
Two RNA studies give clues to neurodegeneration
23 January 2012 - by Dr Zara Mahmoud
Two independent studies have suggested new targets for treating neurodegenerative diseases... [Read More]


Book Review: Humanity 2.0 - What It Means to be Human Past, Present and Future
23 January 2012 - by Dr Kimberley Bryon-Dodd
What does it mean to be human in an increasingly technology-driven world? This is the question that Steve Fuller, a philosopher turned sociology professor, discusses in his latest book Humanity 2.0... [Read More]
Book Review: Precious Babies - the author responds
23 January 2012 - by Kate Brian
I was delighted that Rachel Pepa's review of my book 'Precious Babies' concluded that it had much to recommend it as a guide to having children after fertility problems as that's exactly what the book is intended to be. I wasn't surprised that she didn't feel it addressed her issues as a donor-conceived adult because the book is not about donor conception or adults... [Read More]



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