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CONTENTS Issue #596
Event Review: Mutants and What to Do About Them
Film Review: Never Let Me Go
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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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Rising from the Ashes: Two countries, two reviews of donor conception services - Australia leads the way
21 February 2011 - by Damian Adams and Dr Marilyn Crawshaw
By one of those strange coincidences, Australia has just completed its review of donor conception services while the UK is just embarking on one. While many of the areas that they look at are similar, there is much to ponder about their very different ways of approaching it. The Australian Inquiry was conducted at federal level while in the UK the regulatory body, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA)is involved... [Read More]
HFEA must address its 'misconceived interventions'
21 February 2011 - by James Lawford Davies
On the morning of 15 January 2007, I attended a meeting about hybrid embryo research in the UK Parliament. Halfway through, I received a message from a journalist that fertility regulator the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) had announced there would be a press conference that lunchtime about a London IVF clinic, the Assisted Reproduction and Gynaecology Centre (ARGC). As I left the meeting, I was called and asked to go to the ARGC urgently... [Read More]
'Language learning genes' uncovered
21 February 2011 - by Sujatha Jayakody
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have identified a gene that may help explain how language develops in children... [Read More]
Liverpool hospital to investigate 'sex selection' claims
21 February 2011 - by Antony Starza-Allen
A Liverpool hospital has said it will investigate allegations that one of its doctors had apparently offered to make arrangements for an undercover reporter posing as a prospective patient to undergo a sex-selection procedure for family balancing abroad... [Read More]
Scientists highlight patenting problem in stem cell research
21 February 2011 - by Gozde Zorlu
The widespread patenting and privatisation of stem cell lines, data and technology could hinder medical research in this field, a group of scientists has warned in a paper published in Science this month.... [Read More]
New gene linked to pre-eclampsia discovered
21 February 2011 - by Dr Lucy Freem
A gene important in autoimmune disease has been linked to pre-eclampsia, a serious complication of pregnancy. The study from scientists at North Carolina State University looked at the genes that are switched on and off in the human placenta, to find genes that are differently expressed in pre-eclampsia... [Read More]
Human Genome Project ten years on: Breakthrough or hype?
21 February 2011 - by Dr Lux Fatimathas
An article published by a group of international scientists has said an over emphasis on the Human Genome Project (HGP) may risk a 'backlash' in the field of genetics and has called for an evaluation of where the 'real benefits' from genomic medicine will come from.... [Read More]
Birth of surrogate child highlights difficulties with Indian surrogacy laws
21 February 2011 - by Nishat Hyder
Uncertainty has arisen over the procedures followed by an Indian surrogacy clinic following the birth of twins to a gay couple from Spain. The couple used a donated egg, which was then artificially fertilised and implanted in a surrogate.... [Read More]
'Bone-fide' link to low sperm count?
21 February 2011 - by Sujatha Jayakody
A bone cell hormone can regulate male fertility hormone testosterone, a study on mice has found. Male mice engineered to produce little osteocalcin, a hormone released by bone cells called osteoblasts, had smaller litters and testes than unmodified mice... [Read More]
New genetic screening test for rare diseases to be launched in US
21 February 2011 - by Rosemary Paxman
A new genetic test screening for almost 450 rare childhood genetic diseases could be available in the US this year, reports the Beyond Batten Disease Foundation (BBDF).... [Read More]
Surrogate mother gives birth to grandchild
21 February 2011 - by Leo Perfect
A 61-year-old woman gave birth to her grandson in February because her daughter couldn't maintain a pregnancy. Kristine Casey, who may be the oldest woman to give birth to her grandson, volunteered to act as a surrogate after her daughter, Sara Connell, failed to bring two IVF pregnancies to term... [Read More]
British Fertility Society asks members for their views on the future of the HFEA
21 February 2011 - by Chris Chatterton
The British Fertility Society (BFS), an organisation representing professionals with an interest in reproductive medicine, has announced that it will be sending a questionnaire to all its members concerning the imminent demise of the HFEA (Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority).... [Read More]
Event Review: Mutants and What to Do About Them
21 February 2011 - by Dr Marianne Kennedy
'There's a bar at a nightclub and a girl is deciding whether to take some guy she's met home with her. She's not intent on asking does he dance well or does he have a good sense of humour… no, no, no. She takes a little bit of his hair and she runs out the door, down the street to the local genome shop… she hands over the hair with her credit card and comes back in 15 minutes. She opens up the envelope and she says, 'Wow, he's got a genetic quotient of 99'. She goes back to the bar and says ... [Read More]
Film Review: Never Let Me Go
21 February 2011 - by Rachel Lloyd
Starring Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield and Keira Knightley, Never Let Me Go is the film adaptation of the Booker Prize-nominated novel by Kazuo Ishiguro. The film is narrated by Kathy H (Carey Mulligan) who begins by reminiscing about her childhood at Halisham, a school for 'special pupils'. The audience is taken on a journey with Kathy as she remembers her experiences at Hailsham and her life after she leaves the school... [Read More]

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