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CONTENTS Issue #366
Defining the human embryo: A way with words?
Ten years after Dolly: Hype, hope and reality
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Defining the human embryo: A way with words?
5 July 2006 - by Professor Martin H Johnson
In February this year, the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (1) published a discussion paper entitled: 'Human Embryo - A biological definition'. This publication provides an authoritative and comprehensive summary of the scientific arguments and experiments that bear on our understanding of what a human embryo is and is... [Read More]
Ten years after Dolly: Hype, hope and reality
6 July 2006 - by Roger Highfield
Cloning Discovery Has Unleashed a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing'; 'Cloned Sheep in Nazi Storm' and 'Dolly Opens Door for Life After Death' were among the headlines to appear in the acres of newsprint inspired by Dolly, the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell. The cover of the... [Read More]
Gene clue to Down syndrome dementia
6 July 2006 - by Dr Jess Buxton
US scientists have discovered that a key gene could trigger the mental impairment and early onset Alzheimer's disease associated with Down syndrome. The findings, reported in two papers published in the journal Neuron, show that the over-production of a gene involved in nerve growth can kill... [Read More]
Tenth anniversary of the birth of Dolly the sheep
10 July 2006 - by Heidi Nicholl
This week has seen the tenth anniversary of the birth of Dolly, the world's first cloned animal, in research that the journal Science referred to as the world's greatest scientific breakthrough. Before Dolly was created in 1996, animals had been cloned from embryonic cells in a method... [Read More]
Stem cells could be used in fight against AIDS
10 July 2006 - by Heidi Nicholl
Human T-cells, a vital component of the immune system, have been successfully differentiated from embryonic stem cells (ES cells) for the first time. The work shows that it may be possible in the future to utilise ES cells to help fight diseases affecting the immune system such as... [Read More]
Louise Brown, world's first IVF baby, to have child
10 July 2006 - by Dr Kirsty Horsey
Louise Brown, the world's first test tube baby, is expecting her own child. Now aged 27, Louise was born after the first successful IVF treatment on 25 July 1978 - now she and her husband, Wesley Mullinder, are preparing for their first baby in January. The couple... [Read More]
New genetic link to inherited breast cancer found
10 July 2006 - by Heidi Nicholl
A team from the Institute of Cancer Research in London have found that women carrying a faulty version of the gene ATM, a DNA repair gene, have an increased risk of contracting breast cancer. They found that the risk rises from one in 12 in the general... [Read More]
UK's oldest IVF mother has baby
10 July 2006 - by Dr Kirsty Horsey
A 62-year old woman has become the UK's oldest woman to give birth to a child. Dr Patricia Rashbrook, who already has three children aged 18, 22 and 26, underwent IVF treatment using donor eggs in order to conceive her son, who was born by... [Read More]
Body clock gene works in the opposite way
10 July 2006 - by Heidi Nicholl
A collaboration between mathematicians and scientists working on circadian rhythms has led to a controversial finding that the widely researched tau mutation speeds up rather than inhibits the underlying gene activity. Discovery of the tau mutation in hamsters, affecting the gene casein kinase 1 epsilon (CK1), was... [Read More]

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