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CONTENTS Issue #658
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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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Fertility services in the new NHS
28 May 2012 - by Mark Johnson
From next year, local GP-led Clinical Commissioning Groups will take on the commissioning responsibilities of Primary Care Trusts, with the latter due to be abolished in April 2013. This now includes responsibility for commissioning fertility services such as IVF treatment... [Read More]
'Marry out?' Some surprising consequences of genetic disease risk among Ashkenazi Jews
28 May 2012 - by Dr Jessica Mozersky
Ashkenazi Jews have historically been an endogamous population. Marrying within the group remains important to many Jews because endogamy is seen as one way to preserve Judaism and ensure the survival of future generations. In the wake of the Holocaust, and amidst a steadily decreasing Jewish population, Jewish survival has great cultural relevance... [Read More]
Chromosomes as hard-drives: rewritable memory encoded into DNA of living cells
28 May 2012 - by Ruth Retassie
A rewritable memory system using short sections of DNA to hold data in bacterial cells has been developed by synthetic biologists. Dr Drew Endy and his team at Stanford University in California produced the system after three years of work and 750 designs... [Read More]
Sperm-production gene could hold the key to developing a male pill
28 May 2012 - by Dr Rosie Morley
A non-hormonal male contraceptive pill could be developed by blocking a newly identified gene involved in the final stages of sperm production, according to scientists... [Read More]
Growth factor from stem cells spurs MS recovery in mice
28 May 2012 - by Dr Lux Fatimathas
A chemical produced by stem cells promotes recovery in mice with the autoimmune neurological disease, multiple sclerosis. Hepatocyte growth factor, which is produced by human mesenchymal stem cells, appeared to both repair existing damage and prevent future neurological harm in a mouse model of the disease... [Read More]
First patients receive eye stem cell transplants in attempt to restore sight
28 May 2012 - by Ana Pallesen
Two patients with corneal blindness have become the first people in the UK to have stem cells transplanted into their eyes in order to restore their sight... [Read More]
Draft NICE guideline recommends IVF for same-sex couples and women over 40
28 May 2012 - by Dr Greg Ball
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has published a draft updated guideline on fertility that would see same-sex couples and women aged up to 42 eligible for fertility treatment on the NHS... [Read More]
Heart failure patients' skin cells turned into beating heart muscle
28 May 2012 - by Helen Brooks
For the first time, scientists have managed to turn heart attack patients' skin cells into healthy beating heart cells in the lab... [Read More]
DNA decoy drug, first of its kind, trialled in resistant melanoma
28 May 2012 - by James Brooks
A drug that mimics broken strands of DNA and pushes treatment-resistant cancer cells to autodestruct has produced encouraging results in a first clinical trial. The medicine, DT01, is the forerunner for a new class of drug developed by researchers at the Institut Curie in Paris... [Read More]
Book Review: Sperm Counts - Overcome by Man's Most Precious Fluid
28 May 2012 - by Edwin Davies
The fluidity of semen is an idea that Lisa Jean Moore returns to throughout her book 'Sperm Counts: Overcome by Man's Most Precious Fluid', though she is often less concerned with the physical qualities of the substance than she is with its fluidity as a concept... [Read More]
Film Review: Maximising the Health Benefits of Genetics and Genomics - An Introduction
28 May 2012 - by Dr Victoria Burchell
As a promotional tool to advertise the research funded by the Wellcome Trust, this short film aims both to enthuse and to inform. In both respects it's relatively successful, combining clear and engaging explanations of two projects with smart graphics and shots of impressive-looking equipment. Unfortunately, a slow and rather confusing start may discourage some viewers from reaching the main messages, all of which are in the second half... [Read More]

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