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CONTENTS Issue #286
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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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Prolifers and the status of the embryo - Why the change of heart?
25 November 2004 - by Teena Chowdhury
The ProLife Alliance has sought to challenge the legality of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA)'s decision to grant a cloning licence to the Newcastle Human Embryonic Stem Cell Group. In a statement, the Alliance said that: 'It has been erroneously reported that the licence will further research... [Read More]
Why the UK doesn't need a national bioethics committee
29 November 2004 - by Professor Richard Ashcroft
In a recent guest commentary for BioNews, Josephine Quintavalle of Comment on Reproductive Ethics (Core) presented the case for establishing a national bioethics committee for the UK. She rightly noted that many countries have established such a committee, and that many of these committees have a distinguished record in producing... [Read More]
A national bioethics committee - lessons from France
6 December 2004 - by Professor Donna Dickenson
While some UK commentators debate setting up a national bioethics committee to supplement or rival the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), France is doing the reverse: creating a new statutory national biomedicine regulatory authority, in addition to its 20-year old national ethics committee. After January 2005, the CCNE... [Read More]
Gene clue to nicotine addiction in teens
24 November 2004 - by BioNews
People who are slower to clear nicotine from their bodies are more likely to become addicted to cigarettes, a Canadian study shows. Scientists at McGill University, Montreal, looked at a group of teenagers who had recently started smoking. They found that those with a genetic variation that slows down the... [Read More]
Call to track health of IVF children
24 November 2004 - by BioNews
The UK's Medical Research Council (MRC) has published a report highlighting the need for 'improved monitoring and evaluation of assisted reproduction technology (ART)'. Called 'Assisted reproduction: a safe, sound future', the report follows a request from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) asking the MRC to review the evidence... [Read More]
Embryonic stem cells without embryos?
24 November 2004 - by BioNews
An American bioethicist has claimed that it is possible to create cells equivalent to embryonic stem (ES) cells without creating an embryo. Dr William Hurlbut, from Stanford University, says that it is possible to using somatic cell cloning technology to create something that could never become an embryo, therefore avoiding... [Read More]
Twin studies shed light on human behaviour
26 November 2004 - by BioNews
A woman's tendency to be unfaithful is influenced by her genes, according to a new study of twins. A second study reveals that genes are also partly to blame for snoring and sleep disorders. The surveys of identical and non-identical sets of twins found that the genetic contribution (heritability) to... [Read More]
Fletchers conceive 'saviour sibling'
29 November 2004 - by BioNews
A UK woman is reported to be pregnant following an attempt to conceive a 'saviour sibling' to treat her seriously ill two-year old son. In September 2004, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) granted Joe and Julie Fletcher permission to have a tissue-matched baby to help treat Joshua, who... [Read More]
Swiss public backs embryo stem cell research
29 November 2004 - by BioNews
A referendum in Switzerland has shown 'overwhelming' support for a new law allowing Swiss scientists to perform embryonic stem (ES) cell research. This means that the public has endorsed legislation passed by the Swiss government last December, which will now come into effect in March 2005. In what was the... [Read More]
First egg bank to open in the UK
29 November 2004 - by BioNews
The UK's first 'human egg bank' is set to open this week, according to an article published in the Mail on Sunday newspaper. It is said that the bank will store and offer for sale 'more than 1500 frozen eggs', which 'infertile couples can buy for their hereditary characteristics such... [Read More]
More Danish sperm to make up UK shortfall
29 November 2004 - by BioNews
Cryos International, a Danish sperm bank, is said to have recruited 40 sperm donors to meet British requirements, ready to supply the UK market when rules on sperm donation change on 5 April 2005. Cryos, the largest commercial sperm bank in the world, hopes to take advantage of an expected... [Read More]

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