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CONTENTS Issue #520
COMMENT
NEWS DIGEST
REVIEWS
Book Review: 50 Genetics Ideas You Really Need to Know
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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 www.bionews.org.uk 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.

Can regenerative medicine defeat ageing?
7 August 2009 - by Dr Aubrey de Grey
The relevance of nearly all biogerontology research to combating aging is restricted to the potential for slowing down the accumulation of molecular and cellular damage that eventually leads to age-related ill-health. Meanwhile, regenerative medicine has been progressing rapidly and is nearing clinical applicability to a wide range of specific conditions... [Read More]
The IVF postcode lottery: Don't promise what you can't deliver
9 August 2009 - by Grant Shapps MP
For anyone who has found it easy to conceive naturally, it's possibly hard to imagine how IVF can become all-encompassing in someone's life. The endless check-ups, scans, tests, periods of waiting and - finally - the day when you learn the result. It's a physically punishing process for the women and an emotionally exhausting process for both partners... [Read More]
First gene clue to epilepsy in mice
10 August 2009 - by Dr Rebecca Robey
UK scientists have identified a genetic cause of epilepsy in mice. If the same Mutation proves to be associated with forms of human epilepsy, then this discovery could one day lead to the development of improved treatments or even a cure for the disorder.... [Read More]
New gene variant raises ovarian cancer risk by up to 40 per cent
10 August 2009 - by Dr Will Fletcher
A genetic defect that may increase the lifetime risk of ovarian cancer by up to 40 per cent has been identified for the first time. This breakthrough of finding the first common genetic variant uniquely linked to ovarian cancer could enable a genetic screening programme to identify those women most at risk... [Read More]
Gene 'switches on' insulin production in mouse pancreas cells
10 August 2009 - by Alison Cranage
A team of researchers from Europe and the US have made insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas of mice. These are the cells that are lost in Type 1 diabetes, and their findings may lead the way for new treatments to be developed... [Read More]
Leukaemia patient's genome sequence pinpoints gene mutations in other patients
10 August 2009 - by Adam Fletcher
The second complete cancer cell genome sequence was published online last week in the New England Journal of Medicine, representing a pioneering effort to comprehensively describe the hundreds of genetic changes that underlie this most insidious of diseases... [Read More]
Gene patent enquiry triggers calls for law reform
10 August 2009 - by Antony Starza-Allen
A Senate Committee in Australia is hearing arguments for and against gene patenting with a view to propose future law reforms in this area. Opponents of gene patents argue that it can restrict access to vital diagnostic techniques, such as breast cancer screening, which identify certain genes that indicate the presence of a disorder. On the other hand... [Read More]
Calls to test athletes for sickle cell gene
10 August 2009 - by Nisha Satkunarajah
The deaths of student-athletes due to complications of sickle-cell trait has led the US's National Collegiate Athletic Association to recommend that all student-athletes should be tested for the condition. Dale Lloyd II died in 2006 after suffering 'exertional sickling' caused by overexertion during an early morning practice and... [Read More]
China offers genetic testing to help identify children's natural talents
10 August 2009 - by Ben Jones
A Chinese firm has begun offering DNA testing of children for 11 genes which it claims can be used to predict the child’s future talents and thus allow parents to target their rearing of the child towards its supposed latent potential. The Shanghai Biochip Corporation, which provides the test... [Read More]
Scientists use stem cells to grow replacement teeth in mice
10 August 2009 - by Rosie Beauchamp
A study published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reported that scientists in Tokyo have successfully grow teeth in mice using stem cells... [Read More]
MP's report shows IVF postcode lottery continues
10 August 2009 - by Ailsa Stevens
More than eight out of 10 PCTs are still failing to offer the full three cycles of IVFtreatment as recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), according to a report published by Tory MP Grant Shapps this week. The report revealed further inconsistencies in the criteria PCTs were using to decide who should get NHS-funded IVF, resulting in some mothers being both too old and too young to access treatment, depending on where they lived.... [Read More]
Book Review: 50 Genetics Ideas You Really Need to Know
10 August 2009 - by Professor John Galloway
Molecular biologist, (Lord) David Phillips once described to me, rather ruefully, a talk on genetics he had just given in the church hall in Banbury. Having been invited to talk on anything he chose, he sensibly asked who were likely to be in the audience. When told, mostly farmers and their families, he immediately plumped for genetics. If anyone would either be interested in genetics or have a basis of understanding it would surely be them. Selective breeding and inherited characteristics w... [Read More]

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