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CONTENTS Issue #500
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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.

Happy birthday to us
23 March 2009 - by Dr Jess Buxton and Dr Kirsty Horsey
We at BioNews are celebrating its 10th birthday this week, with the publication of our 500th weekly email newsletter. Created and launched in 1999 by Juliet Tizzard - the first director of Progress Educational Trust (PET) - as a news round-up service for a few hundred interested people, BioNews now has an... [Read More]
From Dolly the sheep to embryo selection: reflecting on a decade of progress in genetics and assisted reproduction
23 March 2009 - by Mark Henderson
Some things never change. When the first issue of BioNews appeared on 29 March, 1999, the second item announced that an Italian doctor was claiming to have helped ten infertile men to become fathers, by cultivating their sperm in the testicular tissue of rats. Just this morning, I was asked... [Read More]
'Kiss' hormone to give new hope to infertile women
22 March 2009 - by Sarah Pritchard
A group of scientists at Imperial College London have found that administration of the recently discovered protein 'kisspeptin' could 'restore fertility' for some women and form the basis for a new fertility treatment. The findings of the research, presented at the annual Society for Endocrinology BES (British... [Read More]
Genetic link between obesity and polycystic ovary syndrome
22 March 2009 - by Dr Rebecca Robey
British scientists have found that a common gene variant that predisposes carriers to obesity is also linked to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). PCOS has long been known to be associated with obesity but the new study is the first to identify a genetic link between the two... [Read More]
Gene could help prevent carbohydrate-related obesity
23 March 2009 - by Rosie Beauchamp
Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have published a study in the journal Cell that outlines their identification of a gene that is critical in turning carbohydrates into fat. The gene, called DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK), is a potential key to the prevention of obesity linked... [Read More]
Schizophrenia gene controls when new neurones mature
23 March 2009 - by Rose Palmer
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Picower Institute for Learning and Memory in the US have found that a gene commonly associated with schizophrenia is essential for normal brain development and the growth of new neurons. The finding was reported in the journal Cell and... [Read More]
Anti-doping tests do not always identify cheating athletes
23 March 2009 - by Dr Charlotte Maden
New research has confirmed the inadequacy of current drug testing techniques used in sport to identify athletes using performance-enhancing drugs. The work, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, found that cheats from certain ethnic backgrounds are less likely to be caught. The tests, which were... [Read More]
New link found between our body clocks, metabolism and aging
23 March 2009 - by Dr Will Fletcher
A link has been found between the biological systems that govern aging and metabolism and those that control our daily cycles of feeding, activity and sleep. Researchers from Northwestern University, and Washington University School of Medicine, US, published their findings in the journal Science, and believe their... [Read More]
Australian genetic discrimination findings flag concerns of future abuses
23 March 2009 - by MacKenna Roberts
Researchers at the University of Tasmania, Australia, have conducted the world's first study to have verified incidents of genetic discrimination and warn that such incidents are likely to increase without better safeguards. The five-year study surveyed 1,000 individuals who have had genetic testing during the past ten... [Read More]
Doctors must alert patients to IVF risks, says fertility watchdog
23 March 2009 - by Ailsa Stevens
The UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the government's fertility watchdog, is updating its guidelines to recommend that doctors make couples aware of the potential risks to children conceived by IVF. The decision follows the publication of a study by the Centers for Disease Control and... [Read More]
500 fivers appeal tops £1000 mark as BioNews publishes 500th issue
23 March 2009 - by BioNews
Last week we made a special birthday wish for our 500 fivers appeal reach a total of £1000 in time for the 500th issue of BioNews, published today. It was a close call, but we're pleased to report that thanks to your kindness and support we've now raised a total... [Read More]
Unlimited blood supply from stem cells within ten years, say researchers
23 March 2009 - by Ailsa Stevens
The NHS Blood and Transplant Authority, the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service and the Wellcome Trust have jointly announced a pioneering project to create a potentially unlimited supply of blood for transfusions using embryonic stem (ES) cells derived from surplus IVF embryos which are donated for research... [Read More]

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