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Adam Fletcher

Adam Fletcher was previously a Volunteer Writer at BioNews, having originally joined the publication under the auspices of its writing scheme. He is currently studying for a PhD in Virology at University College London. His research focuses on the way viruses infect cells, and the way cells attempt to limit the infection. His group and others focus on the human pathogen HIV-1 and related retroviruses, to help characterise a cell's defence systems. Virus biology is important to human genetics because certain viruses are readily manipulated, and have therefore become useful tools for the geneticist. The simple cocktail of genes delivered into mature skin cells, to create the induced pluripotent stem cell phenotype, is one example.

BioNews News articles written by Adam Fletcher:
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Jawbone grown from stem cells
18 October 2009 - by Adam Fletcher
Tissue-engineers at Columbia University, New York, US, have grown a jawbone from bone stem cells in the laboratory for the first time. The team, led by Dr Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, published their work in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The result marks a milestone in the move towards bone reconstructions - from patients' own stem cells - for those affected by congenital defects, arthritis or cancer resections.... [Read More]
Gene may explain why asthma inhalers don't work for some children
12 October 2009 - by Adam Fletcher
One million children in the UK suffer from asthma, yet it last week transpired that one in ten of these might not be responding as expected to existing treatment. A collaboration between Professor Somnath Mukhopadhyay, of the University of Brighton, and Professor Colin Palmer, of the University of Dundee, has found that a common gene variant in children... [Read More]
New type 2 diabetes gene makes cells resistant to insulin
21 September 2009 - by Adam Fletcher
An international team of researchers has identified a novel gene variant in people with type 2 diabetes (T2D) that affects how muscle cells respond to insulin. The work - published in the journal Nature Genetics - was conducted by teams including those of Drs Robert Sladek and Constantin Polychronakos of McGill's Faculty of Medicine, Canada; Professor Philippe Froguel of the CNRS and Lille University in France and Imperial College London; and Dr Oluf Pedersen of the University of Copenhagen a... [Read More]
Monkey research points to cure for inherited mitochondrial diseases
1 September 2009 - by Adam Fletcher
A variation of somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), reported online in the journal Nature, could be used in humans to allow women with a certain group of incurable inherited conditions - known as mitochondrial disorders - to have children without passing on the condition. Because the technique, developed by Dr Shoukhrat Mitalipov and team from the Orgeon National Primate Research Centre, US, involves the the sperm from one monkey and two eggs from different monkeys... [Read More]
Leukaemia patient's genome sequence pinpoints gene mutations in other patients
10 August 2009 - by Adam Fletcher
The second complete cancer cell genome sequence was published online last week in the New England Journal of Medicine, representing a pioneering effort to comprehensively describe the hundreds of genetic changes that underlie this most insidious of diseases... [Read More]
NHS scientists will be trained to give genetics advice
3 August 2009 - by Adam Fletcher
The UK's Department of Health is to invest £4.5 million into a new scheme aimed at improving NHS scientists' training in genetics. By giving scientists a ‘broader' schooling, they will be better placed to advise doctors on which DNA tests might be suitable, and what to make of the results. Part of the process may include sitting in on doctor-patient consultations.... [Read More]
Most aren’t worried by Alzheimer’s gene risk test results, study shows
19 July 2009 - by Adam Fletcher
Findings published last week suggest that people are not troubled upon learning they are at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine, US, led by Dr Robert Green, measured participants’ anxiety levels following results of a genetic test. The paper arrives amidst debate on how harmful direct-to-customer genetics testing - offered by companies such as 23andMe and DeCodeMe - might actuall... [Read More]
Progenitor cells to fix a broken heart
6 July 2009 - by Adam Fletcher
An effective treatment for heart disease has been brought closer to reality thanks to work published last week in the journal Nature. Dr Kenneth Chien and colleagues at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, US, have identified a specific embryonic stem (ES) cell that gives rise to each of the various tissues that make up the heart. The finding explains how hearts develop.... [Read More]
Age influences stem cell development
29 June 2009 - by Adam Fletcher
Stem cell biologists at the Carnegie Institution and John Hopkins University, Maryland, US, have reported findings that could affect research into new therapies for inherited muscle disorders. Reporting in the journal Nature, a team led by Christoph Lepper suggests that distinct sets of genes regulate mammalian stem cell fate in adults versus embryos.... [Read More]
Ten years on - personal genome sequencing for under £50K
15 June 2009 - by Adam Fletcher
The age of affordable genome sequencing is inching ever closer, spurred on last week by the announcement that San Diego biotech firm Illumina is launching its personal sequencing service for under $50,000. Speaking at the Consumer Genetics Show in Boston, Massachusetts, US, Jay Flatley - the president and CEO of Illumina - unveiled a service that represents the first time that an individual's genome can be sequenced so thoroughly, for such a (relatively) low price.... [Read More]