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CONTENTS Issue #613
The birth of donor offspring rights in the USA?
The contradictory place of race in biology
Book Review: The Ethics of Consent and Choice in Prenatal Screening
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The birth of donor offspring rights in the USA?
27 June 2011 - by Professor Naomi Cahn and Wendy Kramer
The fertility industry in the US state of Washington will be transformed in late July 2011, when a new law to recognise rights of donor-conceived people comes into effect. Under the changes, anyone who provides gametes to a fertility clinic in the state must also provide identifying information about themselves and their medical history... [Read More]
The contradictory place of race in biology
27 June 2011 - by Professor Catherine Nash
Over the last decade there has been an intense debate among social scientists, ethicists and, to an extent, scientists themselves over the degree to which new studies of human genetic variation, and their application in the development of drugs targeted at ethnic or racial groups, constitutes a revival of old racial categories... [Read More]
Researchers find gene linked to rare heart condition in pregnancy
27 June 2011 - by Antony Starza-Allen
A genetic mutation has been associated with a rare and potentially serious heart condition called peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM) that can affect woman before, during or shortly after childbirth. Researchers say the findings could lead to the development of diagnostic tests for PPCM.... [Read More]
Native American tribe uses DNA to settle casino dispute
27 June 2011 - by Kyrillos Georgiadis
The Chukchansi Indian tribe in California, USA, will this month vote on whether DNA testing should be used to determine who is entitled to tribe membership.... [Read More]
Do humans carry a gene for detecting the Earth's magnetism?
27 June 2011 - by Dr Lux Fatimathas
Humans may retain a diminished ability to see the Earth's magnetic field, claims a new American study. Experiments were carried out to investigate the function of light-sensitive proteins called cryptochromes, in the eyes of fruit flies and Monarch butterflies... [Read More]
Stem cells, pigs and replacement organs
27 June 2011 - by Dr Rebecca Robey
Scientists in Japan have reported the production of mice that have rat's organs. They suggest that one day this technique could be used to grow spare human organs in another species such as pigs, easing organ shortages and reducing long waiting times for transplants... [Read More]
New software successfully identifies rare disease gene
27 June 2011 - by Chris Chatterton
US scientists have been able to identify the gene responsible for an extremely rare X-linked genetic disorder in record time, using new computer software.... [Read More]
Gene therapy used to cure blindness in monkeys
27 June 2011 - by Dr Nadeem Shaikh
A group of US scientists has successfully used a virus to deliver genes into monkey retinas that could potentially restore damaged photoreceptor cells. The findings could lead to gene therapies being developed to treat blindness and other eye conditions in humans... [Read More]
No spitting or you'll give your age away
27 June 2011 - by Julianna Photopoulos
A saliva sample can determine a person’s age to within five years, according to research published in the journal PLoS One... [Read More]
Book Review: The Ethics of Consent and Choice in Prenatal Screening
27 June 2011 - by Nkechi Nwachukwu
In this ambitious text, Eleanor Milligan peels back the ethical layers surrounding prenatal screening. She reveals a world in which women choosing if they should undergo prenatal screening are heavily influenced by social considerations and often demonstrate a lack of understanding about the technique. By exploring the many ethical factors which influence a woman's decision to undergo prenatal screening, Milligan highlights how many women who partake do so without truly giving their ... [Read More]

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