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CONTENTS Issue #513
COMMENT
The ethics of sperm donation
NEWS DIGEST
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The ethics of sperm donation
22 June 2009 - by Professor John Milbank
Should donators of sperm remain anonymous? Some people say yes, others say no. But most assume that the argument is in principle resolvable if we can apply the right principles in relation to accurate evidence.... [Read More]
New guidelines aimed at improving IVF access launched
22 June 2009 - by Ailsa Stevens
New guidelines aimed at improving access to fertility treatment were welcomed by the UK's new Public Health Minister, Gillian Merron, last week.... [Read More]
Father's genes affect embryonic development more than previously thought
22 June 2009 - by Dr Will Fletcher
The genetic material in sperm has far greater influence over the development of a fertilised egg than was previously imagined. A new joint study from the Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) and the IVF and andrology lab at the University of Utah, US, has revealed that the father's sperm passes along a previously unrecognised set of instructions that probably tell the developing embryo which specific genes should be turned on and off. The findings, which could lead to new diagnostic tests to help ... [Read More]
Royal College warns women not to leave pregnancy too late in life
22 June 2009 - by Sarah Pritchard
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has issued its clearest advice yet to would-be mothers urging them to begin, and try to complete their families between the ages of 20 and 35 during their 'most fertile' years in order to avoid 'regrets'.... [Read More]
Gene link to depression under question
22 June 2009 - by Dr Sarah Spain
A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has called into question a previously reported link between a gene variation and risk of depression. The study, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and carried out by scientists from six US universities, was led by Dr Kathleen Merikangas from the NIMH Intramural Research program and Dr Neil Risch of the University of California, San Francisco.... [Read More]
Discarded fallopian tubes provide stem cells for research
22 June 2009 - by Heidi Colleran
A research team in Brazil has shown that cells from post-operatively discarded fallopian tubes can be used for stem cell research. The team, based at the University of Sao Paolo, showed that fallopian tubes discarded after hysterectomies contain 'mesenchymal' stem cells that are 'pluripotent'; they are capable of developing into multiple tissue types. The finding, reported in the journal of Translational Medicine, offers the prospect of new source of stem cells for research.... [Read More]
A new test for ageing tissues
22 June 2009 - by Dr Charlotte Maden
Scientists in the US have found a novel way of defining how old you are at a molecular level. The hope is that the technique could be used to predict how tissues respond to treatments or surgery.... [Read More]
New York state to pay for research egg donation
22 June 2009 - by Ben Jones
The US state of New York has announced plans to pay women to donate their eggs for research purposes. The plan, the first of its kind in the US, is designed to assist scientists wishing to perform human embryonic stem (ES) cell research. The body behind the proposed schemes is the Empire State Stem Cell Board (ESSCB) which has overall responsibility for the state's $600,000,000 stem cell research programme launched last year.... [Read More]
Gene clue to neuroblastoma
22 June 2009 - by Lorna Stewart
Neuroblastoma, a form of paediatric cancer which affects the nervous system, may be caused by copy number variations (CNVs) in genes which control nervous system development. The research, published last week in Nature, suggests a different genetic mechanism for cancers than was previously proposed. Dr John Maris who led the study at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, US, said 'We can infer that it's not just going to be true for neuroblastoma. My expectation is that there will be ... [Read More]

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