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CONTENTS Issue #439
COMMENT
A New Year, new fertility and embryology laws - and a new director for PET
NEWS DIGEST
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A New Year, new fertility and embryology laws - and a new director for PET
7 January 2008 - by Sarah Norcross
Happy New Year. I would like to introduce myself as the new director of Progress Educational Trust (PET), the UK charity that publishes BioNews. Throughout its 15 year history, PET has been dedicated to facilitating informed discussion in the areas of assisted reproduction, embryo research and human genetics, via public... [Read More]
Parent status of sperm donors in the spotlight
7 January 2008 - by Antony Starza-Allen
A UK sperm donor has announced that a decision to make him pay child maintenance, after he donated his sperm in a private arrangement to a lesbian couple, is being reconsidered by the Child Support Agency (CSA). Andy Bathie, a fireman, donated his sperm informally to Sharon... [Read More]
New fertility bill provokes fears of 'designer babies'
7 January 2008 - by Katy Sinclair
By Katy Sinclair: Commentators have warned that the UK's new Human Tissue and Embryology Bill, which will become law in 2008, could open the way for the first legal genetically modified babies. The new Bill will allow the genetic modification of embryos up to 14 days old, although the law... [Read More]
Boy in UK gene therapy trial develops leukaemia
7 January 2008 - by Stuart Scott
A boy enrolled on a pioneering gene therapy trial has developed leukaemia, his doctors based at London's Great Ormond Street Hospital have announced. The three-year-old was of one of 10 patients treated for X-SCID: a genetic disorder whereby a mutation in the IL2RG gene leaves carriers without... [Read More]
UK parliament alarmed by 1.2 million leftover IVF embryos
7 January 2008 - by MacKenna Roberts
Over the past 14 years, over half of the total number of embryos created for use in IVF in the UK have not been used, according to government statistics. Between 1991 and 2005, 1.2 million embryos were not used, from a total of more than two million... [Read More]
Scientists correct Fragile X in mice
7 January 2008 - by Ailsa Stevens
Scientists have discovered a gene modification which helps to reduce some of the symptoms of Fragile X in mice - a condition which in humans is the leading inherited cause of autism and learning difficulties. Published in the journal Neuron, the research suggests that a new class of... [Read More]
New DMD treatment shows promise in early trials
7 January 2008 - by Ailsa Stevens
An experimental treatment for boys with the inherited muscle wasting disease Duchene Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) has showed promise in human safety trials, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. In the first ever trial on humans, the new drug was shown to... [Read More]

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Sarah Norcross
Director, Progress Educational Trust
140 Gray's Inn Road
London, WC1X 8AX