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CONTENTS Issue #627 (3 October 2011)
COMMENT
NEWS DIGEST
REVIEWS
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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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Ten questions for Lone Frank, author of 'My Beautiful Genome'
3 October 2011 - by Dr Vivienne Raper and Ruth Saunders
'We are not our genomes'. Lone Frank, the author of 'My Beautiful Genome – Exposing our Genetic Quirks, One Genome at a Time' spoke to BioNews about her latest book, the recent surge in direct-to-consumer genetic tests, the ethical dilemmas they could pose and what we can understand from such tests. As he says, 'genetics is a work in progress'... [Read More]
If it ain't broke, don't fix it: why the HFEA should leave the gamete donation policy alone
30 September 2011 - by Dr Kamal Ahuja
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has already made two decisions following its public consultation and review of gamete donation policies in the UK: first, intra-familial gamete donation can continue as before (subject to certain provisions); and second, the number of families which a single donor might help create remains limited to ten. The bigger question on compensation and benefit in kind to donors will not be answered until later this year... [Read More]
Australian IVF pioneer, Carl Wood, dies aged 82
3 October 2011 - by Julianna Photopoulos
The Australian gynaecologist and pioneer of IVF, Professor Carl Wood, has died at the age of 82 after his long battle with Alzheimer's disease... [Read More]
'Man flu' - do women just have stronger immune systems?
3 October 2011 - by George Frodsham
Genetic differences between men and women could mean that women are better at resisting certain infections and diseases than men, a new study suggests. The second X chromosome in women gives them an immunological advantage over men, possibly giving credence to man's perceived susceptibility to 'man-flu'.... [Read More]
NICE recommends more scans for multiple pregnancies
3 October 2011 - by Dr Rebecca Hill
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued new guidelines saying that women pregnant with twins or triplets should be monitored more closely, receiving specialist care from a team of healthcare professionals... [Read More]
Genetic variants linked to asthmatics' response to inhalers
3 October 2011 - by Luciana Strait
Inheriting two copies of a genetic variant has been associated with reduced response to steroid inhalers in people with asthma. The finding could explain why around 40 percent people with asthma do not benefit from inhaled steroids, the most commonly prescribed medication for the condition.... [Read More]
Genome study suggests gene linked with cancer may be beneficial
3 October 2011 - by Dr Kimberley Bryon-Dodd
A study analysing three different, but closely related, African populations has identified that a cancer gene is present at a surprisingly high frequency; akin to those usually associated with evolutionary advantages... [Read More]
Dead end for the 'longevity gene'?
3 October 2011 - by Dr Louisa Petchey
A gene associated with increased lifespan in a number of organisms is now thought to have no effect on longevity after a second look revealed significant flaws in the original studies on which the assumptions were based. The findings will disappoint the manufacturers of many anti-ageing creams that claim to work by activating the gene, but are unlikely to put a stop to research... [Read More]
You are what you eat - study suggests veg can alter your genes
3 October 2011 - by Mehmet Fidanboylu
Small fragments of genetic material from vegetables we eat could be altering our genes, according to a study carried out by scientists in China... [Read More]
Mapping the epigenome: Europe leads the way
3 October 2011 - by Suzanne Elvidge
The European Commission (EC) is investing €30 million in BLUEPRINT, a project to map the human epigenome - the sum total of the non-coding, but inherited, modifications to DNA... [Read More]
Genetic screens detect 'hypermutated' prostate cancers
3 October 2011 - by Sarah Pritchard
Sequencing tissue samples from patients with deadly forms of prostate cancer has revealed previously undefined, drug-resistant tumour types that are ten times more mutated than other varieties, report researchers. The findings could help scientists develop screening methods and treatments specific to these 'hypermutated' forms of the disease... [Read More]
Book Review: My Beautiful Genome - Exposing Our Genetic Future One Quirk at a Time
3 October 2011 - by Emma King
My Beautiful Genome is the story of DNA told through one woman's quest to find out if the secret to her depression lies in her genes... [Read More]
Event Review: Human Embryo Research - Law, Ethics and Public Policy
3 October 2011 - by MacKenna Roberts
On 8 September 2011 the Anscombe Bioethics Centre (a Roman Catholic organisation named after the philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe) organised the conference 'Human Embryo Research: Law, Ethics and Public Policy'. This was topical, in a month when it was announced that Europe's first clinical trials using human embryonic stem cells to treat Stargardt's macular degeneration (an incurable disease causing blindness in youth) would take place in the UK... [Read More]

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