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CONTENTS Issue #626 (26 September 2011)
COMMENT
Racing ahead in the polls
Safeguarding consent and confidentiality in clinical genetic practice
NEWS DIGEST
REVIEWS
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Racing ahead in the polls
26 September 2011 - by Sarah Norcross
Throughout 2011 the charity that publishes BioNews, the Progress Educational Trust, has been running a Wellcome Trust supported project entitled 'Genes, Ancestry and Racial Identity: Does It Matter Where Your Genes Come From?'. The project is now concluding with an online poll which we'd like to encourage all BioNews readers to complete... [Read More]
Safeguarding consent and confidentiality in clinical genetic practice
26 September 2011 - by Professor Anneke Lucassen and Alison Hall
Suppose you have just had a genetic test for a condition that you suspect runs in your family. Aside from the possible implications for your own health, could – or should – your results be used to help to interpret tests done on other members of your family?... [Read More]
Sperm donor fathers 17 families and breaks UK limits
26 September 2011 - by Jessica Ware
The Human Fertility and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the UK's fertility regulator, has admitted breaches of the sperm donation limit have occurred, following news that one donor has fathered 17 families... [Read More]
Danish bank says no to ginger sperm donors
26 September 2011 - by Luciana Strait
The world's largest sperm bank, Cryos International, is turning away red-haired men as donors due to a lack of demand for their sperm. Its director, Mr Ole Schou, said the bank has reached its capacity of 70 litres of semen due to a surge in donations in recent years... [Read More]
Stem cell research funding lawsuit returns as plaintiffs appeal
26 September 2011 - by Dr Nadeem Shaikh
Lawyers acting for two US scientists who sought to challenge the legality of a decision by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to allow research on new embryonic stem (ES) cell lines have filed a notice of appeal. They seek to reverse the decision made against them by a district judge in July... [Read More]
Same genetic mutation linked to ALS and dementia
26 September 2011 - by George Frodsham
Researchers have identified a strong link between a genetic fault and two common neurological disorders. Two independent studies have found that the mutation is common in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and patients with frontotemporal dementia (FTD), particularly if the disease is familial... [Read More]
Gene therapy to treat HIV shows promise
26 September 2011 - by Dr Louisa Petchey
The success of a new gene therapy trial represents a significant step towards a 'functional cure' for HIV, US researchers announced this week. By mimicking the effects of a naturally occurring gene mutation that makes an individual resistant to infection, this therapy aims to reduce or eliminate the dependency of HIV patients on antiretroviral drugs.... [Read More]
Obese women may be denied IVF treatment by Canadian clinic
26 September 2011 - by Victoria Kay
Doctors in Canada will consider a policy to withhold IVF to obese women at a national meeting of fertility experts this week.... [Read More]
Stem cell patch to prevent premature birth
26 September 2011 - by Dr Caroline Hirst
Tissue engineers from the UK have, for the first time, developed an artificial fetal membrane from human stem cells to be used as a ‘repair patch' to prevent premature births... [Read More]
Britain trials embryonic stem cells as treatment for blindness
26 September 2011 - by Dr Rachael Panizzo
UK scientists have been granted approval to begin the first clinical trial using embryonic stem cells (ES cells) in Europe, which they hope could lead to an effective treatment for a degenerative eye disease causing blindness... [Read More]
New blood test for familial motor neurone disease to be developed
26 September 2011 - by Dr Lux Fatimathas
An international team of scientists has identified a genetic defect responsible for familial motor neurone disease (MND). A region on chromosome 9 was found to be expanded in 40 percent of people with familial motor neurone disease. It is hoped that a blood test for this disease will be available on the NHS in the near future... [Read More]
Film Review: Stem Cell Revolutions - A Vision of the Future
26 September 2011 - by MacKenna Roberts
The short film 'Stem Cell Revolutions: A Vision of the Future' uses interviews to document how stem cells have 'vitally changed our understanding of the human body'. The film opens with a voiceover by the film's celebrity commentator novelist Margaret Atwood: 'Sometimes it seems stem cells are proposed as the answer to everything... What can't they do?'... [Read More]
Book Review: Ethical and Legal Requirements for Transnational Genetic Research
26 September 2011 - by Professor Sandy Raeburn
First, here is the bad news. Readers attracted by this title are in for a stormy and depressing journey. The writing, both in choice of language and sentence construction, is turgid. The problems of 'plain English' start in the six-page introduction, reach a low point in the ethical chapter and only improve slightly in the legal section... [Read More]

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