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CONTENTS Issue #426
COMMENT
Helena Kennedy steps down as Chair of Human Genetics Commission
NEWS DIGEST
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Helena Kennedy steps down as Chair of Human Genetics Commission
24 September 2007 - by Pat Wilson
Baroness Helena Kennedy has announced that she is stepping down after eight years as Chair of the UK's Human Genetics Commission. She made the announcement at the Commission's plenary meeting in Durham earlier this month. The Commission's Vice-Chair, Sir John Sulston, will take over as acting chair pending the appointment... [Read More]
Breast cancer gene test advert sparks criticism
24 September 2007 - by Ailsa Stevens
On 10 September the US genetic testing company 'Myriad Genetics' launched an advertising campaign aimed at prompting women who have a family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer to discuss genetic testing options with their doctor. The company owns exclusive rights to the sale of a... [Read More]
Treatment hope for childhood muscle wasting disorder
24 September 2007 - by Ailsa Stevens
The first trial of a new treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) will start later this year in the UK. The treatment, which has been developed by using human cells and mice experiments, hopes to overcome the effects of the genetic defect that causes the muscle wasting... [Read More]
Embryo test licence for early-onset Alzheimer's granted
24 September 2007 - by Katy Sinclair
The UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has given permission to a fertility clinic to test a couple's embryos for early-onset Alzheimer's disease, a genetic condition that can manifest from the age of 35. The Bridge Centre has been granted the licence to screen embryos for... [Read More]
Genetic testing for Gaucher's disease leads to pregnancy terminations
24 September 2007 - by Katy Sinclair
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that couples who were informed following prenatal genetic testing that their fetus had Gaucher's disease were more likely to terminate their pregnancy if they did not then speak to an expert on the condition. Gaucher's... [Read More]
Australian couple sue IVF doctor after the 'wrongful birth' of twins
24 September 2007 - by MacKenna Roberts
An Australian couple are suing their gynaecologist for medical negligence involving an IVF procedure in 2003 that resulted in the birth of twins. The birth mother expressed a wish to have only one embryo implanted, but instead two embryos were implanted resulting in the birth of twin... [Read More]
Gene therapy death link can't be ruled out, say experts
24 September 2007 - by Ailsa Stevens
A panel of experts assembled to investigate the death of an Illinois woman, who died unexpectedly after receiving an experimental gene therapy, last week concluded that there was insufficient evidence to suggest the therapy was directly responsible. The death of 36-year-old Jolee Mohr, who was being... [Read More]
Gene clue to early onset Parkinson's disease
24 September 2007 - by Dr Kirsty Horsey
A study has shown that a gene mutation may be responsible for people developing Parkinson's disease before the age of 50. The results of the study, which was supported by grants from the US National Institutes of Health and the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, were published last... [Read More]
Calls for legislation to prohibit genetic discrimination in the UK
24 September 2007 - by Antony Starza-Allen
The UK's Human Genetics Commission (HGC) has called for the proposed Equality Bill to include measures to prohibit genetic discrimination both in the workplace and by the insurance industry. Speaking on behalf of the HGC, acting Chairman Sir John Sulston, said that such measures 'would be a... [Read More]
Cells from testicles used to make stem cells
24 September 2007 - by Ailsa Stevens
Scientists have discovered a novel way of identifying the tiny subset of adult stem cells that exist in mouse testes and of reprogramming them to develop into other bodily tissues. If this technique can be replicated in humans it could provide a plentiful and more ethically acceptable... [Read More]

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