ethics

Cell alchemy

Credit: Karin Pierre, Institut de Physiologie, UNIL, Lausanne.

The story

Researchers in California have successfully converted mouse skin cells into brain cells, eliminating the need for stem cells.

It is hoped that the same procedure could be carried out on human cells, bringing the possibility of stem cell therapy for conditions such as Alzheimer’s closer to reality.

This is a great story to use in a GCSE lesson on stem cells. Students could discuss why this is a better alternative to using those from embryos.

Weblinks

BBC news story

Great stem cell teaching resources from the Learn Genetics website.

 

Baby scientists

The story

I received an interesting letter in the post last week inviting my two year old daughter to take part in an international research study.

Feeling rather proud that scientists have realised her potential so early, I read on wondering what research they would exactly need her to carry out. More

Mending broken hearts

The story

Hope has arrived in the UK – hope that is for the thousands of people who suffer from heart failure.

You may have seen the British Heart Foundation’s new campaign on TV recently

More

Who’s the Daddy?

The story

It was announced on Tuesday that Boots will be selling home paternity testing kits in all of its stores.  These kits have been available over the counter at a few other chemists and online but this is the first time that they have been exposed to potentially millions of people.

More

What’s the beef? Is cloning cows cruel?

The 7,000 people who signed a petition against cloning certainly think so.  This was delivered to 10 Downing Street on Friday by 35 activists from Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) and was in response to the recent news that cloned cows have entered the British food system. More

Can our genes tell us our death date?

Another genetics story hit the headline this week.

A few weeks ago I reported that scientists were sequencing Ozzy Osborne’s genome to find out how the hell-raiser has managed to survive so long, now we hear that scientists have discovered a way of carrying out a genetic test to find out if you will make it past 100. More

My two Mums

Embryo 8 cellsResearchers at Newcastle University have successfully created embryos that contain the DNA of three people.

It is hoped that within the next three years, this technique will be used to help women who have mutations in the DNA in the mitochondria, More