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CONTENTS Issue #261
COMMENT
The genetic 'trickle effect'
NEWS DIGEST
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The genetic 'trickle effect'
7 June 2004 - by Dr Jess Buxton
Biology's Apollo landing', 'the outstanding achievement of human history' and the 'language in which God created life': just a few of the comments that accompanied the unveiling of the rough draft of the human genome in June 2000. By April 2003, when the final version was published, the media attention... [Read More]
Loophole in UK law allows creation of embryo hybrids?
2 June 2004 - by BioNews
A report in the UK's Times newspaper this week suggests that scientists working in the UK can create human-animal hybrid embryos by exploiting a loophole in the law. According to the article, the wording of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority's (HFEA) legal mandate means that the embryo research watchdog... [Read More]
New law affects sperm donation in the Netherlands
4 June 2004 - by BioNews
A new law that requires sperm donors to be identifiable has come into force in the Netherlands, resulting in a dramatic drop in the number of men coming forward to donate. Women wanting to obtain sperm from Dutch sperm banks are now apparently facing up to two years on a... [Read More]
Problems arising from new Italian fertility law
4 June 2004 - by BioNews
An infertile Italian couple has been told by a court that they must transplant all embryos they created during IVF treatment, even though it is known that they both carry the gene for thalassaemia, a recessive genetic condition, and that some of their embryos may be affected. The decision of... [Read More]
Haemophilia gene therapy trial stopped
7 June 2004 - by BioNews
A US biotechnology firm announced last week that it is discontinuing its haemophilia trial, citing technical and safety reasons. Avigen said that it was stopping the trial so it could concentrate on neurological diseases, but it also said that the gene therapy treatment for haemophilia faced 'certain scientific, regulatory and... [Read More]
Junk DNA is dispensable - or is it?
7 June 2004 - by BioNews
Two new studies published last week shed some light on the purpose of so-called 'junk' DNA - vast stretches of mammalian genomes that do not contain any genes, or serve any other obvious purpose. US researchers have showed that wiping out two huge chunks of the mouse genome appears to make... [Read More]
US biobank project planned
7 June 2004 - by BioNews
Scientists in the US are hoping to secure funding for a 'biobank' project, similar to those being carried out in Iceland, Estonia and the UK. The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) wants to collect genetic and medical information on half a million volunteers, to study the effects of genes... [Read More]
Advances in gene therapy research
7 June 2004 - by BioNews
Researchers gathered at the American Society of Gene Therapy meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota last week, to hear about new approaches and techniques in this promising area of medicine. A new type of gene therapy, involving injections of 'naked DNA' generated much excitement, when University of Wisconsin scientists presented their experiments... [Read More]
Louisiana continues clone wars
7 June 2004 - by BioNews
The US state of Louisiana's House of Representatives has voted 69-32 in favour of legislation banning all forms of human cloning. The vote follows a similar result last week, where the state's Senate voted 29-8 in favour of the bill (SB 873, sponsored by Senator Arthur Lentini), which... [Read More]
California a step closer to stem cell funding
7 June 2004 - by BioNews
A bond proposal organised by the group Californians for Stem Cell Research and Cures (CSCRC) in order to facilitate state funding for embryonic stem (ES) cell research, has qualified for ballot on 2 November. The campaign, which began in February, aimed to establish a three billion dollar bond. The campaign... [Read More]

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