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CONTENTS Issue #544
COMMENT
NEWS DIGEST
REVIEWS
TV Review: 8 Boys and Wanting a Girl
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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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Older mothers and global/national responsibilities
8 February 2010 - by Professor Naomi Pfeffer
Much of the debate about elderly motherhood has focussed on the anomalous situation of a woman simultaneously qualifying for an old age pension and child benefit. It is an engaging topic, but the discussion needs to be widened to include a consideration of global/national responsibilities: the relationship of a woman who provides an egg to, following its fertilisation, the woman in whom the embryo is implanted.... [Read More]
High-quality research is effectively being vetoed
8 February 2010 - by Professor Robin Lovell-Badge
Austin Smith and I, with support from Peter Lawrence, gave interviews to Pallab Ghosh for BBC News where we raised several issues about the peer review and editorial processes of high-profile journals dealing with stem cell research papers. We went as far as saying that some high-quality research is effectively being vetoed from publication by a few powerful scientists, in some cases to deliberately to stifle their competition. Moreover, these journals have also published some papers that hav... [Read More]
£1 million funding for stem cell research into multiple sclerosis announced
1 February 2010 - by Ben Jones
The Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society and the UK Stem Cell Foundation (UKSCF) have announced a funding competition for a million pounds of seed capital to help research into multiple sclerosis in the UK. The money, which has been contributed from the budgets of both organistations is to be employed to 'pump-prime and speed up stem cell research' in relation to the condition in the hope of bringing novel stem cell technologies to the clinic sooner than would otherwise be possible.... [Read More]
Scientists announce 'huge step forward' in stem cell research
8 February 2010 - by Sarah Pritchard
A research team at Stanford University School of Medicine has for the first time successfully transformed mouse skin cells directly into neurons. They achieved this by infecting the skin cells with a genetically modified virus that inserts three different genes into the cells' DNA... [Read More]
Experts warn of rising infertility in developing countries
7 February 2010 - by Ruth Pidsley
Infertility levels are rising faster in developing countries than in developed countries, warned experts speaking at the 'Updates in Infertility Treatment (UIT) 2010' conference in Seville, Spain, last week... [Read More]
US court to decide legal mother of surrogate baby boy
7 February 2010 - by Dr Sophie Pryor
The Court of Appeals in Indiana, US, is to decide who is the legal mother of an 11-month old baby boy conceived by IVF and born to a surrogate. The boy's genetic parents, known in court records as T.G. and V.G, are a married couple from northern Indiana. The birth mother is the wife's sister, who agreed to carry the baby for the couple. The boy's father's name is listed on his birth certificate but his mother's name will not be added unti... [Read More]
Is stem cell research being sabotaged by a 'clique'?
8 February 2010 - by Maren Urner
14 of the world's leading stem cell researchers have expressed concern that truly innovative research may be being suppressed by a small clique of peer reviewers who are intentionally hampering competitor's work from being published in high profile journals. In July last year they sent an open letter to a number of editors of major peer-reviewed journals publishing in the field of stem cell biology. Frustrated by the lack of response two leading stem cell researchers, Professor... [Read More]
Discovered: The starting pistil for sperm
8 February 2010 - by Rose Palmer
Scientists from the University of California in San Francisco have identified the mechanism by which sperm start swimming towards the egg when they enter the female reproductive system. The discovery could lead to drugs that boost male fertility and new forms of contraceptives... [Read More]
High-fibre diets may affect fertility
8 February 2010 - by Dr Will Fletcher
Women who eat too much fibre may ovulate less and have lower oestrogen levels, according to a recent study... [Read More]
Home sperm test-on-a-chip developed
8 February 2010 - by Harriet Vickers
Men could soon be able to check their sperm count in the comfort of their own homes, as scientists have developed a 'lab-on-a-chip' able to test levels in seconds.... [Read More]
Small RNAs help stem cells change state
8 February 2010 - by Dr Rachael Panizzo
Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, have discovered that microRNA (miRNA) play a key role in the switch in state between a stem cell and a mature, differentiated cell... [Read More]
TV Review: 8 Boys and Wanting a Girl
8 February 2010 - by Anoushka Shepherd
Any media coverage focusing on views toward children is always bound to be both emotive and contentious. '8 Boys and Wanting a Girl' fit that description perfectly. Throughout Channel 4's hour-long show, I felt an emotional cocktail of disgust, confusion, empathy, sorrow and disbelief.... [Read More]

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