Latest research news

July 2, 2003

Babies can be created from unborn mothers
The prospect of creating children whose biological mothers have never been born has been raised for the first time by scientists from Israel and the Netherlands who have taken tissue from the ovaries of aborted foetuses and grown it in the laboratory for a month. They have reported to the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Madrid that immature egg follicles, which would not normally become active until puberty, started to develop when bathed in a cocktail of female hormones.
(Times, Independent, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail)

Call for human virus survey
A global monitoring system should be established to detect and analyse threatening new viruses, say researchers. Such a programme would routinely screen human blood and rapidly identify new viruses, such as Sars, that might become a threat to human health. Scientists want to sequence the genetic structure of the collected viruses to form a database of the genetic code of all those associated with humans. They are calling it the Human Virome Project.

Lesbians more prone to ovary disease
Scientists from the Hallam Medical Centre in London have discovered that lesbians have a significantly increased risk of contracting polycystic ovarian syndrome, the commonest cause of ovary problems, affecting about 10 per cent of women. Their findings also suggest that a biochemical imbalance linked to the disorder may contribute to the development of lesbian sexuality. 

Europe votes for marine reserves
Europe's seas should contain a network of protected areas by 2010, international environment ministers concluded at a meeting last week in Bremen, Germany. They also decided that species of marine animal, and 10 types of habitat, are in need of protection.

'Splatometer' to count bug life
Conservationists hope a small plastic film can help establish whether flying insects really are in decline in the UK. They want car drivers to use the "splatometer" to count numbers of insects. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds says species like tree sparrows and corn bunting are on the decline. It wants to know whether the apparent decline in the number of bees, ladybirds, moths and other insects has anything to do with this.

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