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CONTENTS Issue #510
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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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The HFEA shouldn't fix mistakes, just make sure they're fixed
1 June 2009 - by Professor Alison Murdoch
The HFEA is 'not fit for purpose' - so says Professor Toft who investigated the Authority closely following a previous laboratory error. The HFEA should not be surprised if, having established itself as the protector of patients and laboratory standards, it is challenged when an error occurs. Realistically though, zero risk... [Read More]
Commissioning NHS Fertility Services: Ending the postcode lottery
1 June 2009 - by Sally Cheshire CBE
Around one in six couples in the UK seek specialist treatment for fertility problems, and infertility can have a profoundly distressing and devastating impact. British patients have traditionally faced considerable inequality of access to NHS treatment, resulting in many having to resort to privately-funded treatment, and there continue to be... [Read More]
New technique brings stem cells closer to the clinic
1 June 2009 - by Dr Rebecca Robey
Scientists in the US and Korea have announced a new technique for creating embryonic-like stem cells from adult cells. They say that the new method is the first to be completely safe for clinical use and so could bring stem-cell based therapies for a whole host of... [Read More]
Scientists create transgenic glowing monkeys to aid research
1 June 2009 - by Dr Sarah Spain
A team of researchers led by Dr Erika Sasaki at the Central Institute for Experimental Animals in Kawasaki, Japan has created monkeys that glow, by inserting a gene from jellyfish into their DNA. The research, published in the journal Nature, showed that the transgene was passed on... [Read More]
Gene variants influence onset of menstruation
1 May 2009 - by Heidi Colleran
The first evidence for a genetic influence on the timing of female sexual maturation has been found by an international team of scientists, led by the Institute of Biomedical and Clinical Science in the Peninsula Medical School at Exeter (PMSE). The study, reported in the journal Nature... [Read More]
'Happyhour': a new gene mutation in alcoholic flies
1 May 2009 - by Adam Fletcher
Neuroscientists at the University of California, San Francisco, and the Ernest Gallo Research Center, Emeryville, US, have published a study in the journal Cell describing a new gene that influences ethanol sensitivity in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. The work offers tantalising hope that the same regulatory... [Read More]
New stem cell treatment offers potential cure for blindness
1 May 2009 - by Dr Nadeem Shaikh
Three people suffering from blindness in one eye have been given a new medical treatment to radically improve their eyesight by a team working at the Australian University of New South Wales. According to the journal Transplantation, the method involves taking 'limbal' stem cells from the patient's... [Read More]
Proposals for genetic testing of asymptomatic relatives and children
1 May 2009 - by Ben Jones
Two separate studies this week have called for extended provision of genetic testing to close family members of those who have died from sudden unexplained death (SUD), and to asymptomatic children in families affected by genetic diseases. By testing family members of 115 young persons whose deaths... [Read More]
Britain's next oldest mother highlights increase of 'fertility tourism'
1 May 2009 - by Sarah Pritchard
At 66 years old, Elizabeth Adeney is set to become Britain's oldest mother when she gives birth to a child conceived following fertility treatment at a clinic in Ukraine. The example highlights the growing trend among fertility patients to travel abroad to access treatment which in Britain... [Read More]
Human speech gene gives mice a deeper squeak
1 June 2009 - by Dr Will Fletcher
Transgenic mice containing a human speech gene could give clues about the evolution of language. A team from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany, replaced the mouse gene FOXP2 with the human equivalent - a gene implicated in speech problems, and thought to be linked... [Read More]
Mouse genome completely decoded
1 June 2009 - by Dr Charlotte Maden
The entire mouse genome has been fully decoded by scientists in the US and UK, according to a publication in the journal of Public Library of Science Biology last week. A draught version of the genome was previously released in Nature in 2002, which was mapped using... [Read More]
Criticism mounts on proposed NIH stem cell guidelines
1 June 2009 - by Antony Starza-Allen
New proposed embryonic stem (ES) cell research guidelines in the US are coming under fire from critics who are concerned that the rules will in fact hamper research in this area. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has collected over 20,000 responses to its public consultation on... [Read More]
Gene research finds opposites do attract
1 May 2009 - by Lorna Stewart
Research presented last month by a team from Brazil shows that married couples have less MHC (Major Histocompatibility Complex) similarity than randomly paired individuals selected from the same database. The study, led by Professor Maria da Graca Bicalho at the University of Parana, Brazil, compared MHC genes... [Read More]
Role of BRCA1 in DNA repair unravelled
1 May 2009 - by Alison Cranage
Scientists at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK, have shed light on the way DNA is repaired in cells. They have found that a protein called CtIP interacts with the BRCA1 gene, directing cells to mend breaks in DNA accurately. Mutations... [Read More]

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