Latest research news

September 29, 2004

Dolly scientist bids to clone human embryos
The British scientist who created Dolly the sheep has submitted an application to clone human embryos in the hope of finding a cure for motor neurone disease, it emerged today. Professor Ian Wilmut has applied for a licence from the human fertilisation and embryology authority to clone cells from sufferers to discover how the disease develops.
The Guardian

Doubts raised over prostate cancer test
GPS are being urged to refuse routine requests for prostate cancer blood tests by one of the government’s own advisers on the disease, in light of yet more research suggesting the blood test is not a reliable enough screening tool. Consultant urologist Dr James Kingsland’s stance flies in the face of guidelines drawn up by his own committee, which currently advises GPs to offer counselling and free prostate-specific antigen tests to otherwise healthy worried men.
The Scotsman

Scots scientists help boy cancer victims become fathers
A new technique that could enable boys who become infertile after cancer treatment to have a family later in life is being developed by a team of Scots scientists. The procedure involves removing stem cells from a pre-pubescent youth’s testicles and freezing them in storage while chemotherapy is used to kill the cancer. The stem cells can then be reimplanted and grow into cells capable of producing healthy sperm.
The Scotsman

Genetic map to help curb ivory poaching
Scientists have unveiled a new hi-tech weapon to help combat the illegal trade of ivory in Africa: a map. The map describes how the genetic profiles of African elephants vary across the continent, from the dense forests of western and central Africa to the vast eastern savanna.
The Guardian

A life of being bossed about can lead to adult diabetes
Life is much more stressful at the bottom than the top, according to a long-running study. Men who spend their working lives being told what to do by others are almost three times as likely to develop diabetes as are their bosses. The latest results from a long-running Whitehall study of civil servants suggests, in Archives of Internal Medicine, that those who work hard for the least reward are the most likely to get adult-onset diabetes.
The Times

Stretching before exercise 'can cause harm'
You see them everywhere, people yanking an ankle behind their back before setting off on a jog. It looks like sensible preparation for exercise, but it may do more harm than good. Not only does it fail to reduce the risk of injury, it may also hinder performance. Research on 23 studies of athletes who performed stretch exercises before performance tests of sporting performance showed nearly all had a bad effect.
The Independent

Bird flu transmitted between humans in Thailand
A 26-year-old Thai woman who died of acute pneumonia on 20 September was a “probable” case of human-to-human transmission of the H5N1 bird flu virus, the Thai Ministry of Public Health confirmed on Tuesday. All 40 previously confirmed human cases of the virus since 2003 were apparently caught from sick birds. But the World Health Organization fears the virus could cause a lethal pandemic if it gains the ability to pass easily from person to person.
New Scientist

Bird barcode
A new “barcoding” system using DNA has identified four bird species previously thought to have been a single species: the solitary sandpiper, eastern meadowlark (pictured), marsh wren and the warbling vireo. The study, by the University of Guelph in Ontario, is published in PLOS Biology.
The Times

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