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Dr Jess Buxton

Dr Jess Buxton is Contributing Editor at BioNews, and was previously a Trustee at the the Progress Educational Trust (PET). She is also a Senior Lecturer in Medical Genetics at Kingston University London, and a Member of the Galton Institute's Council. She was previously Genetics Editor at BioNews and PET, and together with Dr Kirsty Horsey she devised the BioNews writing scheme, which provides practical science writing training and experience for PhD students. She has worked as a Biocurator at University College London's Institute of Cardiovascular Science, a Research Associate at Imperial College London, a Press Officer at the British Society for Genetic Medicine and a Natural Sciences Tutor at the Brilliant Club.

Jess originally studied Genetics at the University of Leeds, and went on to obtain a PhD in Human Genetics while researching myotonic dystrophy at St Mary's Hospital and Charing Cross Hospital. She also has a diploma in Science Communication from Birkbeck University of London for which she wrote a dissertation on public engagement with human genetics, and she has advised the Science Museum on its human genetics exhibits. She is coauthor (with Jon Turney) of The Rough Guide to Genes and Cloning, and she has contributed a chapter to Human Fertilisation and Embryology: Reproducing Regulation.

BioNews Comment articles written by Dr Jess Buxton:
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What can healthy individuals learn from getting their genomes sequenced?
1 July 2019 - by Dr Jess Buxton
The past few years have seen a huge increase in the identification of rare and common genetic variants associated with disease, advances made possible through ever cheaper and faster genome sequencing technologies... [Read More]
Creating life in the lab: in vitro gametogenesis (IVG) and synthetic human entities with embryo-like features (SHEEFs)
8 January 2018 - by Dr Jess Buxton
What exactly are SHEEFs and IVGs? How might they shed light on the mysteries of early embryo development, and offer new hope to those affected by infertility? These questions were the focus of the second session at Progress Educational Trust's one-day conference 'Crossing Frontiers: Moving the Boundaries of Human Reproduction' in London on 8 December 2017... [Read More]
What's so special about the status of the embryo?
30 January 2017 - by Dr Jess Buxton
The fifth and final session of the Progress Educational Trust's annual conference 'Rethinking the Ethics of Embryo Research: Genome Editing, 14 Days and Beyond' covered a range of perspectives on the status of the human embryo... [Read More]
Genome editing and CRISPR: The science of engineering the embryo
18 January 2016 - by Dr Jess Buxton
We report from the third session of the annual conference of the Progress Educational Trust, titled 'Genome Editing and CRISPR: The Science of Engineering the Embryo', which discussed these new technologies and how they might be used in the future... [Read More]
Can donor egg recipients 'pass on DNA' to their children?
2 November 2015 - by Dr Jess Buxton
A recent study suggests that embryonic gene activity may be altered by factors present in the womb even before implantation. This finding triggered a somewhat misleading newspaper article entitled 'Infertile mums "pass on DNA"', which claimed the research means recipients of donor eggs are passing on their own DNA to their child. This isn't the case... [Read More]
Whose genes are they anyway?
15 December 2014 - by Dr Jess Buxton
This discussion around the role of commerce in genetics and fertility treatment coincided with the launch of 23andMe's controversial personal genome service in the UK. Issues around health interventions following personal genetic testing were the focus of the second session at PET's conference, which asked: 'Whose genes are they anyway?'... [Read More]
Progress Educational Trust conference: What do we know about twins?
16 December 2013 - by Dr Jess Buxton
Twins have long been an endless source of fascination to their family, friends and society, and also to scientists. This year, the topics of twins in genetics and twins in fertility treatment formed the two halves of Progress Educational Trust's annual conference... [Read More]
Can a healthy lifestyle really 'reverse cellular ageing'?
23 September 2013 - by Dr Jess Buxton
A US study proclaiming the health benefits of stress management, gentle exercise and a 'plant-based' diet grabbed the attention of the world's media last week, but what was novel about the findings, and are the life-extending claims justified?... [Read More]
BioNews survey 2012: The results
21 May 2012 - by Dr Jess Buxton
A huge thank-you to the 700 readers who took the time to complete our survey earlier this year. As with previous surveys, the results will be invaluable for the future development of BioNews, to ensure it continues to meet the needs of our readers... [Read More]
Is there a place for race in biology?
11 April 2011 - by Dr Jess Buxton
This evening debate, organised by the Progress Educational Trust (PET) in partnership with University College London's Genetics Institute, and supported by the Wellcome Trust, marked the launch of PET's project 'Genes, Ancestry and Racial Identity: Does it Matter Where Your Genes Come From?' The first of what promises to be a very lively series of debates... [Read More]

BioNews Review articles written by Dr Jess Buxton:
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Event Review: Personal Genome Project UK's GenoME launch
23 April 2018 - by Dr Jess Buxton
Being an unashamed enthusiast for genetics and genomics research and its potential to improve human health, I was delighted when an email announcing the unveiling of the Personal Genome Project (PGP) UK pilot study arrived in my inbox... [Read More]
Book Review: The Telomere Effect - A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer
5 February 2018 - by Dr Jess Buxton
We are already into the second month of 2018, so if you made New Year's resolutions then the chances are that, like me, you've long ditched them – especially any regarding your health. It seems that changing old habits is hard, even those that we know will increase our risk of succumbing to disease and disability... [Read More]

BioNews News articles written by Dr Jess Buxton:
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Call to improve accuracy of predictive genetic tests
12 October 2009 - by Dr Jess Buxton
Companies offering 'direct-to-consumer' genetic tests to predict the risk of common conditions such as heart attack and rheumatoid arthritis should provide more information to consumers about the limitations of their services, say US scientists. Their recommendations follow the finding that several tests from two such companies gave different results for the same five individuals. Genome pioneer Craig Venter and colleagues also call for more research into the predictive power of geneti
Prenatal testosterone levels linked to autistic traits
19 January 2009 - by Dr Jess Buxton
UK scientists have identified a link between levels of testosterone exposure in the womb and the appearance of 'autistic traits' in childhood. The research, carried out at the University of Cambridge, found that higher prenatal levels of the hormone were linked to an increased incidence of... [Read More]
'Postcode lottery' continues for infertile English couples
30 June 2008 - by Dr Jess Buxton
Only nine out of 151 primary care trusts (PCTs) in England are funding the recommended three cycles of IVF for infertile couples, according to the UK Department of Health. The latest figures reveal that despite guidance issued over four years ago, four trusts are still offering... [Read More]
Gene clues to cholesterol levels
23 June 2008 - by Dr Jess Buxton
A third of people have genetic variations that cut their risk of heart disease, perhaps by increasing the level of 'good' (HDL) cholesterol in their blood, say UK and Dutch scientists. A new study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, shows that individuals... [Read More]
UK MPs debate new fertilisation and embryology laws
12 May 2008 - by Dr Jess Buxton
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill returned to the House of Commons for its second reading today. MPs will debate proposed legislation on controversial issues such as the use of animal eggs in human embryonic stem (ES) cell research and other types of 'hybrid' embryos; 'saviour... [Read More]
DNA pioneer's genetic make-up published
21 April 2008 - by Dr Jess Buxton
James Watson, one of the scientists who reported the double helix structure of DNA in 1953, has now had his own genetic make-up completely decoded. A paper published in the journal Nature last week describes the sequencing of Watson's genome to reveal the precise order of... [Read More]
Genetics progress review published
21 April 2008 - by Dr Jess Buxton
The UK Department of Health has published a review of progress made in the development of genetics services in the UK since the publication of its 2003 White Paper, entitled 'Our inheritance, our future - realising the potential of genetics in the NHS'. The document laid out... [Read More]
Stem cell hope for wounded US soldiers
21 April 2008 - by Dr Jess Buxton
The US Department of Defense has announced a five year program to develop new stem-cell based treatments for service members disfigured from war-time injuries. The new Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine (AFIRM) will explore the use of a patient's own stem cells to grow replacement... [Read More]
UK team creates human hybrid embryos
7 April 2008 - by Dr Jess Buxton
Scientists based at the University of Newcastle have announced the successful creation of human hybrid embryos, made by inserting human genetic material into 'hollowed out' cow eggs. Team leader Lyle Armstrong presented the preliminary data at a conference in Israel. The team hopes that such embryos... [Read More]
More gene clues to Type 2 diabetes uncovered
31 March 2008 - by Dr Jess Buxton
US and European scientists have identified six more genes that play a role in Type 2 diabetes, bringing the total number of genetic variations associated with the disease to 16. The research, published in the journal Nature Genetics, combined the results of three earlier studies carried... [Read More]