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CONTENTS Issue #475
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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. 

Visit the BioNews website at where you can subscribe for free to receive BioNews by email in one of three formats, and search the archive of more than 8,000 articles.

Non-invasive prenatal diagnosis using cell-free fetal DNA: implications for parents
15 September 2008 - by Jane Fisher
Antenatal Results and Choices (ARC) is the only UK charity providing non-directive information and support to parents before, during and after antenatal testing and when an abnormality is diagnosed in an unborn baby. We have 20 years' experience of talking to parents on our National Helpline on all aspects of... [Read More]
Progress in free fetal DNA (ffDNA)-based prenatal tests
15 September 2008 - by Tessa Homfray
The holy grail of prenatal diagnosis has been the identification of chromosome and single gene abnormalities through maternal blood sampling. This would allow safe accurate prenatal diagnosis, requiring much lower operator skills, and automation is potentially possible, making it cost-effective. In contrast, standard prenatal screening involves ultrasound and biochemical risk... [Read More]
Unproven genetic tests may create false sense of security or unnecessary anxiety
15 September 2008 - by Ailsa Stevens
BioNews reporting from the British Society for Human Genetics (BSHG) annual conference in York:By Ailsa Taylor: Clinical trials are urgently needed to validate the increasing number of experimental genetic tests available for assessing an individual's risk of developing serious common diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer... [Read More]
Drug to beat serious genetic disorders; cystic fibrosis success
15 September 2008 - by Ailsa Stevens
BioNews reporting from the British Society for Human Genetics (BSHG) annual conference in York:By Ailsa Taylor:A new investigational drug, potentially able to treat up to 2400 different genetic disorders, has been shown to induce production of a vital protein missing in patients with cystic fibrosis, the UK's most... [Read More]
Call to help families share information about genetic conditions
15 September 2008 - by Ailsa Stevens
BioNews reporting from the British Society for Human Genetics (BSHG) annual conference in York:By Ailsa Taylor:Genetics clinics may in future be able to do more to help patients notify their relatives about their risk of inheriting serious genetic conditions, Dr Samantha Leonard, a Specialist Registrar in the Clinical... [Read More]
Experts call for crackdown on sham genetic testing
15 September 2008 - by Ailsa Stevens
BioNews reporting from the British Society for Human Genetics (BSHG) annual conference in York:By Ailsa Taylor:New standards of best practice will be drawn up in the UK to try and control the boom of unregulated genetic tests now being marketed to the public via the internet, says Christine... [Read More]
Stem cell scientists win million dollar Shaw Prize
15 September 2008 - by Alison Cranage
Pioneering stem cell scientists have been awarded a million dollar Shaw Prize, at a glittering ceremony in Hong Kong. British researchers Sir Ian Willmut and Professor Keith Campbell, share the life science and medicine prize with Japanese Professor Shinya Yamanaka. Sir Willmut and Professor Campbell are the... [Read More]
Launch of public cord blood bank and stem cell research centre
15 September 2008 - by Dr Karen Devine
The UK's Antony Nolan Bone Marrow Trust this week launched a new initiative - the Antony Nolan Cord Blood Bank and a combined stem cell research centre at Nottingham Trent University. Mothers who deliver babies at the Kings College Hospital, London, are being recruited to donate the stem... [Read More]
59-year old woman is the oldest mother of triplets
16 September 2008 - by Sarah Pritchard
A 59-year old woman has given birth to triplets in a Paris hospital after receiving fertility treatment abroad. The woman, believed to be of Asian origin, travelled to Vietnam to be treated by a private clinic willing to overlook her age; the usual upper age limit... [Read More]
Australian state parliament to vote on new IVF and surrogacy laws
16 September 2008 - by Antony Starza-Allen
The Victorian Parliament in Australia will soon decide to update the states laws on IVF and surrogacy when proposed new legislation is put to a conscience vote. If passed, the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Bill 2008 will improve access to assisted reproductive technologies in Victoria by removing the... [Read More]
Exercise will keep you slim, even if your genes 'are fat'
16 September 2008 - by Dr Rebecca Robey
High levels of physical exercise can override a genetic predisposition to being overweight, according to a new study by American scientists. In a report published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers found that the increased risk of obesity associated with carrying a particular gene variant... [Read More]
Barcode identification for UK IVF patients
16 September 2008 - by Dr Charlotte Maden
A barcode system has been developed by doctors at Liverpool Women's Hospital in the UK to prevent mix-ups in IVF treatments. The system has been used for the first time for patients at the hospital in Liverpool. As reported in BioNews in April 2005, the Human Fertilisation... [Read More]

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