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CONTENTS Issue #358
COMMENT
Designer babies or designer news?
Talking Embryos: Under an interdisciplinary microscope
NEWS DIGEST
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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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Designer babies or designer news?
15 May 2006 - by Dr Alan Thornhill
Once again the media have a new designer baby story. Sorry, but there's nothing really new here. No new ethical arguments, new techniques or disease types. Not a designer baby in sight. What is new is the decision by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to expand the list... [Read More]
Talking Embryos: Under an interdisciplinary microscope
15 May 2006 - by Dr Zeynep Gurtin and Eric Jensen
On 5 May, King's College Cambridge saw an international gathering of scientists and academics from a range of disciplines (including biology, history, sociology, bioethics, anthropology, and more); clinicians from fertility centres; representatives from assisted reproductive technology (ART) patient support groups, public pressure groups and policy organisations such as the Human... [Read More]
HFEA approves embryo tests for hereditary cancer
11 May 2006 - by Dr Jess Buxton
The UK's fertility treatment regulator has given the go-ahead for couples to test embryos to avoid passing on hereditary cancer. At its open meeting held on 10 May in Belfast, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) accepted a recommendation from its ethics and law committee... [Read More]
Genetic link to prostate cancer
11 May 2006 - by Dr Jess Buxton
Scientists based in Iceland, the US and Sweden have discovered a common genetic variation linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer. The team, based at Icelandic firm deCODE genetics, have found that men who inherit the variant have a 60 per cent increased risk of... [Read More]
Frozen embryos kept while surrogate sought
11 May 2006 - by Dr Kirsty Horsey
A British couple who are fighting to save their unused IVF embryos from destruction are hoping to have them transferred to a Belgian clinic, following negotiations with the UK's fertility regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA). According to current UK law, the embryos should... [Read More]
Genetic therapy hope for muscle weakness disease
11 May 2006 - by Dr Jess Buxton
Boosting the activity of a gene could help treat people with an inherited muscle weakness disease, German researchers say. They have used a drug to help increase the levels of a crucial nerve protein missing in patients with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). The team, based at... [Read More]
Deafness gene may grant evolutionary advantage
12 May 2006 - by Heidi Nicholl
By Heidi Nicholl: Scientists have reported that a gene responsible for hereditary deafness may play a role in wound healing and increasing protection from infection. The gene, called Cx26, was first identified by David Kelsell of Queen Mary, University of London ten years ago. The mutated form, two copies of... [Read More]
Woman pregnant with baby selected to avoid childhood cancer
15 May 2006 - by Dr Kirsty Horsey
The UK's Times newspaper has revealed that a British woman is pregnant with the UK's first baby conceived to be free from an inherited childhood cancer. Last August, doctors at University College Hospital (UCH), London, were granted a licence by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority... [Read More]
HFEA to consult on altruistic egg donation
15 May 2006 - by Dr Kirsty Horsey
At its open meeting held on 10 May in Belfast, the UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) announced that it will 'prepare a proper consultation programme' on oocyte (egg) donation so that it could assess the whole range of views and ethical issues that the... [Read More]

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