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CONTENTS Issue #528 (5 October 2009)
COMMENT
Studying autism genetics responsibly
NEWS DIGEST
REVIEWS
TV Review: The Secret Life of Twins
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Studying autism genetics responsibly
5 October 2009 - by Professor Simon Baron-Cohen
Autism and Asperger Syndrome are two subgroups on the autistic spectrum. They both share difficulties in social relationships and in communication, alongside the presence of unusually narrow interests and a strong preference for predictability. They are neurological and, as we now realise, strongly (though not 100 per cent) genetic. These two subgroups are differentiated by the presence of language delay and/or learning difficulties in autism, and by the absence of these in Asperger Sy [Read More]
Genome research shifts focus to help individuals
5 October 2009 - by Sarah Pritchard
Genome sequencing is changing its approach to focus more on rare conditions affecting individuals instead of common population-wide diseases. Scientists are abandoning genome-wide association studies (GWAS) which focus on DNA analysis of common diseases and which have been the aim of genomics research in the last decade. They are instead returning to study rare disorders which are traceable to defects in single genes.... [Read More]
UK registry will allow donor children to trace biological siblings
5 October 2009 - by MacKenna Roberts
Beginning from last Thursday, new disclosure laws for donor-conceived individuals and gamete/embryo donors came into force which will broaden access to donor genetic information. The provisions were enacted together with the vast majority of the new Human Fertilisation & Embryology Act 2008, approved by Parliament last year and aimed at updating its predecessor 1990 statute to be more inline with contemporary liberal attitudes and advances in reproductive technolog... [Read More]
New website will rate IVF clinic success
5 October 2009 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has launched a new 'Choose a Fertility Clinic' service on its website that rates fertility clinics according to success rates. The website provides numerical success rates for all 114 clinics in the UK based upon data collected in 2007.... [Read More]
Mislabeled and unaccounted for embryos prompt lawsuit against US fertility clinic
5 October 2009 - by Louise Mallon
A US fertility clinic faces legal action following the results of an independent audit which showed that some embryos stored there had been mislabelled and others were destroyed or unaccounted for. Ochsner Hospital, New Orleans, has admitted mishandling frozen embryos and that some embryos were wrongly destroyed, although deliberate mishandling has been denied. Other embryos are simply 'missing' and the hospital said that its fertility department cannot determine their whereabou... [Read More]
8-year lawsuit settled over US lesbians denied IVF
5 October 2009 - by Nisha Satkunarajah
A lesbian couple has won a landmark case against a Californian clinic, where doctors allegedly cited their religious beliefs as grounds to refuse the couple IVF treatment.... [Read More]
Transsexual seeks further IVF treatment after miscarriage
5 October 2009 - by Rosie Beauchamp
Ruben Noe Coronado, a 26 year old transsexual man from Spain, and his partner Esperanza Ruiz are to undertake a second round of IVF treatment. Mr Coronado recently miscarried in the 18th week of pregnancy and lost the twins he was carrying.... [Read More]
GMC issues new guidance on genetic disease confidentiality
5 October 2009 - by Dr Marianne Kennedy
New guidelines issued by the UK General Medical Council (GMC) will allow doctors to disclose genetic information to relatives - even when patients object, if there are compelling medical reasons for doing so.... [Read More]
Welsh women waiting years for cancer genetic test results
5 October 2009 - by Dr Jay Stone
Edwina Hart, the Welsh Assembly Minister for Health and Social Services, has said that some women in Wales at increased risk of developing hereditary breast cancer are having to wait up to three years to get their genetic test results, while English women are waiting only eight weeks.... [Read More]
Psychosis-related gene variant linked to creativity in healthy people?
5 October 2009 - by Nienke Korsten
A variant of the neuregulin 1 gene associated with an increased risk of psychosis, may positively affect the creative capacity of healthy people, scientists from Semmelweis University in Hungary suggest in a recent article in Psychological Science. However, the limitations of this small study mean that more research will be necessary to confirm this preliminary finding.... [Read More]
TV Review: The Secret Life of Twins
5 October 2009 - by Jenny Dunlop
BBC1, 30th September and 1st October 2009... [Read More]

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