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CONTENTS Issue #631
COMMENT
NEWS DIGEST
REVIEWS
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One Parent or Five – more of the same from the Commission on Parenthood's Future
31 October 2011 - by Professor Eric Blyth
'One Parent or Five: A global look at today's new intentional families' is the latest report from the Commission on Parenthood's Future (1). Authored by 'scholar Elizabeth Marquardt, a recognized family expert', it claims to offer 'the first-ever systematic critique of the concept of intentional parenthood [by] providing a global tour of today's new intentional families... [Read More]
A private sperm donor writes...
31 October 2011 - by Andrew Proven Donor
A shortfall in donated sperm, we are told, has pushed potential recipients onto websites where private sperm donors hawk their reproductive wares. If only the officially sanctioned sperm banks were well stocked, the thinking goes, women would not have to venture into that murky world. But is that correct? What if sperm donation outside the official channels actually carried certain advantages over the clinic system... [Read More]
Google to preserve free DNA database
31 October 2011 - by Jessica Ware
Google has joined forces with Californian start-up company, DNAnexus, to maintain a public DNA database online. The move follows an announcement by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) that it may have to withdraw funding from the current public database, the Sequence Read Archive (SRA), due to funding cuts.... [Read More]
$10 million prize to sequence DNA of 100 centenarians
31 October 2011 - by James Brooks
A $10 million prize is on offer for the first laboratory to accurately and economically sequence the genomes of 100 people over 100 years old. The Archon Genomics X Prize was originally founded in 2006 and has been modified so that entrants will now race to decode the centenarians' DNA... [Read More]
A fifth of PCTs offer single women IVF on the NHS
31 October 2011 - by Rosemary Paxman
An investigation by the Daily Telegraph has found that a fifth of PCTs are offering single women IVF on the NHS... [Read More]
Synthetic blood to be trialled within two years
31 October 2011 - by Oliver Timmis
Artificial blood, manufactured from human stem cells, could be used in patient trials within two years. The blood will be based on the universal donor group (O rhesus negative), a blood type suitable for up to 98 percent of the population... [Read More]
IVF linked to ovarian cancer but risk remains low
31 October 2011 - by Sarah Pritchard
Women who undergo IVF treatment have an increased risk of developing borderline, non-fatal ovarian tumours according to a clinical study from the Netherlands... [Read More]
'Wrongful life' - the children who sue for being born
31 October 2011 - by Dr Lux Fatimathas
Increasing numbers of Israeli children with birth defects are suing medical professionals for failing to detect abnormalities and allowing them to be born, says the New Scientist. The magazine reports that such is the Israeli Government's concern over the rise in 'wrongful life' lawsuits it has launched an investigation into the validity of the claims.... [Read More]
Aspirin cuts hereditary bowel cancer risk by 60 percent
31 October 2011 - by Suzanne Elvidge
Taking a daily aspirin has been recommended for people with a high risk of an inherited form of bowel cancer. Results published in The Lancet suggested the risk for those with Lynch syndrome could be cut by 63 percent... [Read More]
Gene therapy used in attempt to halt blindness
31 October 2011 - by Victoria Kay
A British man has become the first person to receive an advanced gene therapy treatment in a bid to save his sight. Jonathan Wyatt, aged 63, is the first of 12 patients to have the experimental procedure to try and halt the progression of his genetic eye disorder, choroideraemia. While he still has some sight, if left untreated, he would eventually become blind... [Read More]
Think tank tells NHS: prepare for the genetic revolution
31 October 2011 - by Dr Rebecca Robey
The NHS must take steps to prepare for a revolution in genetics-based medicine, according to a new report by the independent think tank, the Foundation for Genomics and Public Health (the PHG Foundation). The Foundation says that rapid advances in technology will soon make it possible for individuals to have their entire genome analysed affordably, and this will have a major impact on many aspects of healthcare... [Read More]
Public Bodies Bill clears the Commons
31 October 2011 - by Sandy Starr
The Public Bodies Bill - which, if passed, will allow the Government to abolish the UK's fertility regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority - has completed its report stage and third reading in the House of Commons... [Read More]
TV Review: Brave New World - Health
31 October 2011 - by Dr Louisa Petchey
'Science is on the brink of changing your life'. It's a bold and risky opening statement, but I find my initial scepticism quelled. Whether this is due to the promise coming from the revered Professor Stephen Hawking, or because I've allowed myself to get caught up in the increasingly dramatic soundtrack is hard to say. But either way, the addition of flashy sound bites from enthusiastic scientific celebrities coupled with epic landscape shots from exotic destinations is sufficient to convinc... [Read More]
Event Review: Searching for the Secret of Life - DNA Then, Now and Tomorrow
31 October 2011 - by Dr Rebecca Hill
The inaugural London Science Festival, which ran from 19-26 October, promised numerous exciting and entertaining events, many of which have received excellent reviews. So I'm particularly disappointed that I chose to spend my Friday night at 'Searching for the secret of life: DNA, then, now and tomorrow'.... [Read More]

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