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CONTENTS Issue #489
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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. 


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A glimpse at the year ahead
5 January 2009 - by Sarah Norcross
Like Janus, the two headed Roman god of gates and doorways, beginnings and endings, this commentary will look back over PET's work in 2008 and look forward to 2009. * Highlights of 2008 The last year was largely dominated by parliamentary work concerning the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, which finally... [Read More]
Is the embryo sacrosanct?: Faith in preimplantation genetic diagnosis
5 January 2009 - by MacKenna Roberts
In 1989, scientists first used preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) - a technique that merges IVF with genetic testing, enabling couples with increased risk of passing a genetic disorder onto their children to screen and select only unaffected embryos for implantation. PGD involves the removal of a single cell from three-day-old IVF... [Read More]
Obesity is not a threat to successful IVF
4 January 2009 - by Sarah Pritchard
The results of a study in Scotland have indicated that obese and overweight women have the same chance of successful IVF treatment as normal weight women. The research was undertaken in Aberdeen between 1997 and 2006, on 1,700 women undergoing their first cycle of IVF, and included... [Read More]
Genetic influence on blood pressure discovered
4 January 2009 - by Sarah Pritchard
An estimated 20 per cent of Caucasians carry a gene variant that could raise the risk of developing high blood pressure or hypertension, as it is also called. US scientists at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine analysed the DNA of 542 members of the Old... [Read More]
Stem cell model created for rare childhood disease
5 January 2009 - by Dr Megan Allyse
Scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, US, have successfully created a human model for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) by using the induced pluripotency technique (iPS cells) to grow large numbers of affected nerve cells which can be studied in the laboratory. Researchers can now observe the process... [Read More]
Genes may increase risk of smoking-related cancer
5 January 2009 - by Ailsa Stevens
Individuals with alterations in ABCB1 and ABCC1, two genes thought to be involved in getting rid of inhaled toxins from the lungs, may have an increased risk of developing lung cancer, according to a new study published in the journal Cancer. The research, carried out by Chinese... [Read More]
Reprogramming phenomenon lauded 'Best of 2008'
5 January 2009 - by Adam Fletcher
As 2008 drew to a close, Science magazine announced its annual top ten breakthroughs of the year, after considering novel research that 'paves the way for future discoveries'. Work in the field of cellular reprogramming was awarded pole position, ahead of a real-time video of a developing... [Read More]
UK doctors perform first screening of BRCA1 gene linked to breast cancer
5 January 2009 - by Antony Starza-Allen
Doctors at University College London have performed the first procedure in the UK to screen out a genetic abnormality which is linked to breast cancer The BRCA1 gene, when properly functioning, can help prevent breast cancer - but abnormal variations can significantly increase the risk of developing breast... [Read More]
Cancer genes studies misleading, research shows
5 January 2008 - by Ailsa Stevens
Common gene changes which have previously been linked to increased cancer risk may not be as significant as previously thought, a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute last week suggests. The researchers, based at the University of Ioannina School of Medicine in Greece... [Read More]

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