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CONTENTS Issue #630
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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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Reflections on gamete donation
24 October 2011 - by Professor Dame Marilyn Strathern
'How far should society go in encouraging people to donate their bodily material?' is the question at the heart of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics' report on the ethics of donation for medicine and research, which was published earlier this month... [Read More]
It's critical
24 October 2011 - by Sarah Norcross
A week is a long time in fertility and embryo research policy. That's why the Progress Educational Trust is launching a new appeal... [Read More]
Perhaps the Government is right to plan to abolish the HFEA
24 October 2011 - by Walter Merricks
Perhaps the Government is right to plan to abolish the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA). The astonishing behaviour of its members at last week's open Authority meeting over compensation for egg and sperm donors will lower its reputation in the eyes of some of its erstwhile supporters. Those who might have manned the barricades to halt the Government's plans may now wonder whether the Care Quality Commission (CQC) – the health and social care regulator set to take over the H... [Read More]
Ban on embryonic stem cell patents by European Court of Justice
24 October 2011 - by Antony Starza-Allen
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that stem cell processes which require the prior destruction of human embryos or are based upon the use of human embryos are not patentable. The decision may have wide implications for scientists engaged in embryonic stem cell research.... [Read More]
Drastic changes to sperm and egg donation policy made by the HFEA
24 October 2011 - by Sandy Starr
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has decided that donors should be paid fixed sums, and that these sums should be £35 per clinic visit for sperm donors and £750 per cycle of donation for egg donors... [Read More]
Premier League club tests players' DNA
24 October 2011 - by Luciana Strait
An unnamed Premier League football club has had DNA tests carried out on its players to determine which of them may be susceptible to injury. The tests were carried out by leading molecular geneticist and assistant professor at Yale University School of Medicine Dr Marios Kambouris, who was told neither the name of the club nor the identities of the players... [Read More]
Does your DNA 'remember' your childhood?
24 October 2011 - by Dr Rebecca Robey
Living conditions during childhood may have a long-term effect on DNA, according to new research by British and Canadian scientists. The findings, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, may explain why some people who grow up in socioeconomic deprivation have health disadvantages later in life, despite improvements in their living conditions in adulthood... [Read More]
World's oldest woman's DNA sequence revealed
24 October 2011 - by George Frodsham
Researchers have fully sequenced the genome of a woman who lived to be 115 years old. She is the longest-surviving person to have their DNA sequenced and the data may help to unlock the secrets of longer life. Initial investigations suggest that the woman may have had genes which provided protection from diseases such as dementia... [Read More]
New embryo test to improve IVF success rate
24 October 2011 - by Dr Rosie Morley
Researchers at Oxford University have developed a test that may help to improve IVF success rates by checking the health of embryos. The team, led by Dr Dagan Wells, has apparently developed a test which checks embryos during IVF for abnormal numbers of chromosomes... [Read More]
Safer prenatal test for Down's syndrome launched in US
24 October 2011 - by Julianna Photopoulos
A new prenatal test that can detect Down's syndrome by using a sample of the mother's blood was launched in twenty US cities last Monday.... [Read More]
IVF increases risk of pre-eclampsia by 40 percent, study claims
24 October 2011 - by Dr Louisa Petchey
Women who have conceived through IVF may be more likely to develop pre-eclampsia during pregnancy than pregnant women who have not, according to a recent study in the US... [Read More]
Young genes in young humans provide clue to brain evolution
24 October 2011 - by James Brooks
Genes that other species do not possess may play a crucial role in making the human brain what it is. Until recently scientific consensus held that the different use of genes shared across most of the animal kingdom gave each species' brain its unique character. However this hypothesis may need some revision following a study led by Professor Manyuan Long of the University of Chicago... [Read More]
Event Review: Playing God - Who Should Regulate Reproductive Medicine?
24 October 2011 - by Dr Djuke Veldhuis
Should women who choose their career first, and children second, be allowed to receive IVF on the NHS at an age when some would consider it 'unnatural'? Now ask whether it's acceptable for young soldiers fighting in Afghanistan to store their sperm in case they don't come back. And the questions surrounding reproductive medicine don't end there: after insemination, how much screening or manipulation of genetic material is reasonable?... [Read More]
TV Review: Mixed Race Britain - Mixed Britannia
24 October 2011 - by Anoushka Shepherd
In this three-part documentary, George Alagiah recounts the largely untold story of mixed race Britain and the many love stories that overcame extreme social hardship to create it... [Read More]
Report Review: Human Bodies - Donation for Medicine and Research
24 October 2011 - by Antony Starza-Allen
It was the recommendations to pay for the funeral expenses of organ donors and to remove the cap on compensation for gamete donors that made the headlines. But it is not the specific recommendations of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics' report 'Human bodies: donation for medicine and research' that it will be remembered for... [Read More]

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