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CONTENTS Issue #448
Artificial Gametes: The What, Why and How of Creating Sperm and Eggs in the Lab
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Artificial Gametes: The What, Why and How of Creating Sperm and Eggs in the Lab
10 March 2008 - by Ailsa Stevens
Scientists in Newcastle can now produce early stage human sperm cells from stem cells in the laboratory. This research is important for furthering our understanding of human development. If human eggs could be produced using similar methods in future, then this could potentially allow babies to be created without the... [Read More]
UK Labour MPs offered abstention from embryo bill vote
10 March 2008 - by Dr Karen Devine
The controversy sparked by the introduction of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill 2007, which is being debated in the UK House of Commons over the next few months, looks set to continue. The Daily Telegraph newspaper has reported that in an unusual move, Chef Whip Geoff... [Read More]
Shiny, happy people: it's in their genes
10 March 2008 - by Dr Rebecca Robey
British and Australian scientists have found that a person's genes can predispose them towards happiness. Reporting in the journal Psychological Science, the researchers found that genes account for 50 per cent of the factors contributing to an individual's satisfaction with life, with external influences such as health... [Read More]
Concerns over decreasing male fertility rates
10 March 2008 - by Dr Charlotte Maden
Two new studies have identified factors that could be causing a decline in male fertility. Research published in the journal Fertility and Sterility on the anti-impotence drug Viagra concluded that men taking the drug could be damaging their sperm and lowering their ability to conceive. Another study... [Read More]
Direct-to-consumer genetic tests raise concerns
10 March 2008 - by Katy Sinclair
By Katy Sinclair: The recent explosion of genetic tests being marketed to consumers has led to calls for the market to be regulated, and for the clinical utility of the tests available to be validated. The increase in genome association studies has led to the discovery of genetic markers for... [Read More]
Long life and short stature share common genetic link
10 March 2008 - by Stuart Scott
Researchers at the Yeshiva University in New York have uncovered a genetic variant that appears to confer both a long-life and short stature to its female carriers. The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found mutations in the insulin-like growth factor (IGF1) receptor... [Read More]
Brazilian Supreme Court delays embryonic stem cell research ruling
10 March 2008 - by MacKenna Roberts
The Brazilian Supreme Court - which was due last Wednesday to deliver its decision of whether its 2005 national law allowing human embryonic stem (ES) cell research is constitutional - has delayed the ruling because one of the eleven justices requested more time to consider the matter. The 2005... [Read More]

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