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CONTENTS Issue #511
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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.

Egg donation: why I gave up my right to remain anonymous
8 June 2009 - by Laura Witjens
Following a change in the law that came into force on 1 April 2005, British people conceived using donated egg, sperm or embryos can ask for identifying information about the donor when they reach the age of 18. Here Laura Witjens, egg donor and mother of two, writes about why she elected to remove her anonymity and potentially become identifiable to any children born from her donation.... [Read More]
Banking Crisis - what should be done about the sperm donor shortage?
8 June 2009 - by Laurence Shaw
There is a current shortage of donor sperm in the UK. Recruitment of donors has always required marketing. Traditionally, students provided donor sperm for 'beer money'. Thirty years has seen little change in the remuneration. It is now referred to as 'travelling' costs. This is compatible with other forms of tissue donation, for which monetary remuneration is deemed illegal. The acute current shortage coincides with a change in the rules of anonymity such that donor-conceived children at 18 ... [Read More]
Pig stem cells offer renewed hope of GM organ transplants
7 June 2009 - by Heidi Colleran
A Chinese research team has brought the quest for a genetically modified pig, capable of providing viable organs for transplant patients, a step closer. Scientists at the Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology (SIBCB) have succeeded in creating the first pig stem cells in the laboratory, the Journal of Molecular and Cell Biology reports. These cells could be used to create 'transgenic' pigs, which have been genetically altered so that their organs would not be rejected by the hum... [Read More]
Scientists fix genetic defect in human cells
8 June 2009 - by Dr Sarah Spain
A team of scientists led by Professor Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, from the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California has combined stem cell technology and gene therapy to fix a genetic mutation in human cells grown in the laboratory. The researchers, who published their achievement in Nature, hope that this technique could one day be used to treat a number of inherited conditions in humans.... [Read More]
First gene clues to testicular cancer identified
8 June 2009 - by Dr Rebecca Robey
Two teams of scientists - from the UK and the US - have identified the first known inherited gene variants that predispose carriers to testicular cancer. Previous studies have highlighted genes that are active in testicular cancer cells but these studies, published together in the journal Nature Genetics, are the first to pinpoint inherited genetic causes of the disease.... [Read More]
Scientists flag concerns about Africa's place in worldwide genomic developments
8 June 2009 - by Rosie Beauchamp
A study published this week in Science has kick-started discussions surrounding research into the genetic diversity of African populations and the necessity for Africa to keep up with genomics.... [Read More]
New data released on global ART availability
8 June 2009 - by Ben Jones
The latest report (the eighth since 1989) on worldwide availability and uptake of assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) shows continued growth in demand and progress towards fewer embryo implantations. The study, produced by the International Committee for Monitoring Assisted Reproductive Technology (ICMART) is based on figures from 1563 clinics in 53 countries and compiles all available data for the year 2002 (the latest available).... [Read More]
Genetically modified mice produce human milk protein
8 June 2009 - by Dr Charlotte Maden
Scientists in Russia have genetically modified mice to successfully produce a human milk protein. The achievement raises hopes that the proteins could be commercially produced to use in healthier baby formula. Currently, synthetic baby formula contains proteins mainly from soybeans or cow's milk. Some experts dispute that it provides babies with as many health benefits as natural human breast milk.... [Read More]
New personalised treatment shrinks skin cancer tumours by 30 per cent
8 June 2009 - by Dr Will Fletcher
A new 'personalised' drug has been found to decrease the size of tumours in patients with advanced melanoma by 30 per cent. Results of an initial trial were presented at the meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Orlando, US. The results showed that the experimental treatment, a 'personalised' oral drug known as PLX4032, kept the melanoma at bay for six months. Pharmaceutical giant Roche and a privately owned company called Plexxikon Inc will carry out larger trials later thi... [Read More]
Directors of online sperm donor business face criminal prosecution
8 June 2009 - by MacKenna Roberts
Last Friday, UK authorities began a legal test case to prosecute two businessmen who were arrested for not having a valid licence to broker the sale of 'fresh' sperm from anonymous donors. The sperm was provided to women for their use in DIY fertility treatments through an online business - Nigel Woodforth and Ricky Gage, the directors of the business, face up to two years imprisonment if found guilty of illegally running a website that is reportedly believed to have matche... [Read More]

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