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CONTENTS Issue #638
COMMENT
NEWS DIGEST
REVIEWS
Book Review: Birth Rites and Rights
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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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Progress Educational Trust Conference: Should Assisted Conception Always Be Evidence-Based?
19 December 2011 - by Dr Rebecca Hill
In what is now synonymous with Progress Educational Trust (PET)'s ethos, the final session of the annual conference, 'The Best Possible Start in Life: The Robust and Responsive Embryo', was a free-form debate. Following on from the previous sessions where a wealth of eminent researchers gave informative and often provocative talks, Guardian columnist Zoe Williams had the task of chairing what proved to be an entertaining debate... [Read More]
Progress Educational Trust Conference: Growing Concern?
19 December 2011 - by Mila Roode
The consequences of assisted reproductive technology (ART) are a matter of great concern, whether this is the development of the embryo, the perinatal health of the mother, or the ongoing health of the child.... [Read More]
Private data - for the public good?
19 December 2011 - by Sharmila Nebhrajani
Our medical records include some of the most personal and sensitive information about us. So it's understandable that two items in David Cameron's life sciences strategy caused considerable stir... [Read More]
Personalised medicine patents disputed at US Supreme Court
19 December 2011 - by Nishat Hyder
A patent for a diagnostic test is currently under consideration by the US Supreme Court. The eventual decision may have profound implications for the burgeoning 'personalised medicine' industry which often relies on DNA tests to guide physicians in choosing tailored therapies for patients... [Read More]
Lesbian mums legally recognised in South Australia
19 December 2011 - by Ayesha Ahmad
Lesbian parents in South Australia who conceive through IVF can now both be registered on their child's birth certificate, after a new law passed to recognise female, same-sex couples as the co-parents of babies came into effect.... [Read More]
Breast cancer risk genes from mum or dad? It could affect diagnosis age
19 December 2011 - by Dr Rebecca Robey
Women who inherit breast cancer risk genes from their father may be diagnosed with, or even develop, the disease several years earlier than those who inherit the same genes from their mother. This may have implications for screening and treatment strategies for those at risk of hereditary breast cancer... [Read More]
Gene therapy breakthrough for blood-clotting disease
19 December 2011 - by Dr Zara Mahmoud
Scientists have successfully used gene therapy to alleviate the symptoms of the blood disease haemophilia B in six human volunteers, raising hope for a potential cure. The study has been hailed as a landmark trial for gene therapy... [Read More]
US politician against gay marriage allegedly donated sperm to lesbian couples
19 December 2011 - by Dr Kimberley Bryon-Dodd
A former US Republican politician has made international headlines after allegedly acting as a sperm donor to multiple women in New Zealand. According to the New Zealand Herald, Bill Johnson provided sperm to at least nine women although official guidelines state that no man should donate to more than four families.... [Read More]
Gene that could protect against colorectal cancer identified, tested in mice
19 December 2011 - by Sarah Pritchard
A gene known as deleted colorectal carcinoma (DCC) could safeguard against the development of the colorectal cancer by inducing a process called apoptosis, or cell death... [Read More]
New law empowers UK Government to transfer HFEA's functions
19 December 2011 - by Sandy Starr
The Public Bodies Bill - which empowers the UK Government to transfer the functions of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the country's regulator of fertility treatment and embryo research - has received Royal Assent and has become the Public Bodies Act. This Act represents the realisation in statute of the Coalition Government's longstanding plans for a 'bonfire of the quangos'... [Read More]
US embryonic stem cell researchers face logistical and funding difficulties
19 December 2011 - by Antony Starza-Allen
A survey of over 200 human embryonic stem cell (hESC) researchers in the US has found almost four in ten respondents had experienced delays in obtaining cell lines and over one-quarter said they were unable to obtain a required cell line at all.... [Read More]
Book Review: Birth Rites and Rights
19 December 2011 - by Professor John Galloway
We inherit our biological identity at conception but our humanity in a process beginning at birth. Nothing reminds us of this more than the rites and rituals surrounding birth and the way our rights change as we stop being a part of our mother and become a 'person'... [Read More]

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