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CONTENTS Issue #321
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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 8,000 articles.

Caesarians and fertility: the truth behind the headlines
11 August 2005 - by Dr Siladitya Bhattacharya and Dr Maureen Porter
Rising rates of caesarean section (CS) during the last 20 years, combined with celebrities choosing to give birth this way, have resulted in considerable media activity whenever academic studies report any findings relating to CS. The press never fails to mention Victoria Beckham, Zoe Ball or Liz Hurley, among others... [Read More]
Department of Health review of the HFE Act
16 August 2005 - by Ted Webb
On 16 August 2005 the Department of Health launched a consultation on the review of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (HFE) Act 1990 - the law regulating fertility treatment, gamete donation, and embryo research in the UK. When it came into force in 1991 the HFE Act was a landmark piece... [Read More]
Single embryo transfer: one size fits all?
20 August 2005 - by Professor Ian Craft and Dr Alan Thornhill
The UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) recently announced that it is to review its rules on how many embryos can be implanted during IVF treatments. Transferring fewer embryos to all patients inevitably results in fewer multiple pregnancies, and we fully support measures making IVF safer. However, we recommend... [Read More]
HFEA to consult on use of PGD for late-onset diseases
11 August 2005 - by BioNews
The UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) is to issue a public consultation on the use of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) for late-onset and 'lower penetrance' genetic disorders. The use of this technology to avoid later onset genetic conditions sparked debate recently, following the authority's decision to grant a... [Read More]
'Hangover' gene in flies may assist alcoholism research
15 August 2005 - by BioNews
A gene discovered in fruit flies may help researchers understand the genetic basis of alcoholism in humans. Scientists at the University of California in San Francisco (UCSF) and the University of Wurzburg in Germany have found a gene that helps fruit flies tolerate alcohol. If a similar gene exists in... [Read More]
A library of mutant mice to aid human disease research
15 August 2005 - by BioNews
European scientists aim to create a library of mouse embryonic stem cells that can be used to research human diseases. This library would make it easier and faster for researchers to obtain mouse stem cells with specific genes already 'knocked-out' so that they will not need to spend the time... [Read More]
On the horizon: two new breast cancer tests
15 August 2005 - by BioNews
A new test could enable doctors to more accurately predict if women are at a higher risk of carrying a mutated BRCA1 breast cancer gene. This may help women who do not know if the disease runs in their family decide whether they need to be tested for the mutated... [Read More]
Genes key to fit old age
14 August 2005 - by BioNews
How active you will be in your seventies depends partly on your genetic make-up, a team of US researchers reports. Scientists at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in North Carolina investigated the link between the ACE gene and mobility in older people. Their findings, published in the Journal... [Read More]
Concern over non-paternity revealed by genetic studies
14 August 2005 - by BioNews
Around one in 25 men could be unknowingly raising children to whom they are not biologically related, say UK researchers. The team, based at Liverpool John Moores University, has reviewed previous studies to estimate the rate of 'paternal discrepancy' worldwide. They found that the proportion of families in which a... [Read More]
Gene therapy cures blind mice
14 August 2005 - by BioNews
US scientists have used gene therapy to successfully treat mice with a rare genetic disorder that causes blindness, called retinoschisis. The researchers, based at the University of Florida Genetics Institute, say their method could eventually be used to treat a range of eye diseases in humans. Retinoschisis causes the retina... [Read More]
Link between chlamydia and infertility questioned
15 August 2005 - by BioNews
One of the UK's leading fertility experts has questioned the link between chlamydia and infertility. Lord Robert Winston said in an interview with the Evening Standard last week that there is no British evidence to show that infertility is caused by chlamydia. According to Lord Winston, fertility problems are mostly... [Read More]
UK fertility laws to be reviewed
16 August 2005 - by BioNews
The UK's Department of Health (DH) is inviting views on the way that some assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) are regulated in the UK. Its review forms part of a wider consultation on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (HFE) Act, passed in 1990, which some say has become out-of-date, 'outstripped' by... [Read More]
US stem cell research update
15 August 2005 - by BioNews
Last week, proponents of embryonic stem (ES) cell research announced the creation of Maryland Families for Stem Cell Research, a non-profit group that aims to raise awareness and money for stem cell research in Maryland. Due to the federal restrictions on funding for ES cell research, this group is asking... [Read More]

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