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  • 'Lab-made sperm' fertility hope Scientists have proved for the first time that sperm grown from embryonic stem cells can be used to produce offspring.

  • And Then There was YHow the afterthought to the Human Genome Project broke the chromosomal mold The Y chromosome gets no respect. Regarded as a genetic junkyard with little to offer but sex, genomes have commonly rolled off the presses without a nod to Y. Then there's the matter of decay. Without a recombination partner, genetic insults whittle away the already diminutive Y, suggesting the chromosome's, and by extension man's, eventual extinction.

  • Radiation damage can be passed down the generations There is now evidence that radiation damage can be passed down the generations DURING the 1950s, one of the least inviting holiday destinations on the planet would have been Semipalatinsk, in Kazakhstan. It is a mere 150km (about 100 miles) from the Soviet Union's main atomic-bomb testing site and it was subjected to the fallout from 118 tests over 13 years. From this and other grim and inadvertent experiments, it is clear that nuclear radiation is a powerful cause of mutations in human DNA in the ordinary cells (those that are not concerned with reproduction) of the body. Such mutations can, in turn, cause cancers. But evidence supporting another oft-voiced fear—that radiation-induced mutations might affect human reproductive (or “germ-line”) cells—is weak and surprisingly controversial.

  • Κρυοσυντήρηση ωαρίων και ιστού ωοθηκών για την επαναφορά της γονιμότητας μετά από χημειοθεραπεία (Έγγραφο Word, 433 Kb)

  • Ovary transplant pregnancy first
    A woman has become pregnant after having an ovary tissue transplant for the first time, it has emerged.
    The breakthrough gives hope to thousands of cancer patients whose treatment can make them infertile.

  • Τα σπερματοζωάρια παρέχουν και mRNA
    Λονδίνο: Τα σπερματοζωάρια δεν παρέχουν μόνο χρωμοσώματα στο ωάριο κατά τη γονιμοποίηση αλλά και mRNA, όπως αποδεικνύουν για πρώτη φορά Αμερικανοί και Βρετανοί επιστήμονες σε μελέτη τους που δημοσιεύεται στο έγκυρο επιστημονικό περιοδικό Nature.
    Οι επιστήμονες του Wayne State University στο Ντιτρόιτ κατέληξαν στο συμπέρασμα αυτό αφού προσδιόρισαν έξι διαφορετικά μόρια mRNA τα οποία περιέχονταν στα σπερματοζωάρια και το γονιμοποιημένο ωάριο, αλλά όχι και στο μη γονιμοποιημένο.
    Πιστεύεται ότι το συγκεκριμένο αγγελιοφόρο RNA δρα στο γονιμοποιημένο ωάριο κατά τέτοιο τρόπο, ώστε να συμβάλλει σημαντικά στην αρχική ανάπτυξη του εμβρύου.
    Όπως αναφέρει χαρακτηριστικά ο Δρ Στέφεν Κράβετς που ηγήθηκε της έρευνας, η ανακάλυψή τους ενδεχομένως εξηγεί γιατί η κλονοποίηση συνοδεύεται από τόσο χαμηλά ποσοστά επιτυχίας, αφού δεν απαιτεί σπέρμα και κατά συνέπεια δεν μεταφέρεται το αγγελιοφόρο RNA από τα σπερματοζωάρια.

  • Older mothers, older fathers
    Women aged 35 or more have long been known to have an increased risk of infertility. But does advancing age in the male partner have similar effects? The results of previous studies in this area have been conflicting.
    To investigate the risk of infertility associated with paternal age, researchers from the Human Fertility Research Group at Paule de Viguier Hospital in Toulouse, France, interviewed 3,287 couples in which both partners were within the range 25-44 years.

  • Does paternal age contribute to infertility?
    Investigating the impact of the age of the male on fertility in a large European database.
    Once men reach the age of 40 years they become a risk factor for infertility, say researchers.
    Whereas a maternal age of 35 years of age and above is a well-known risk factor for infertility, the impact of the age of the male has been rarely investigated, note Patrick Thonneau (Paule de Viguier Hospital, Toulouse, France) and co-workers.

  • Primates successfully give birth following ovarian cryopreservation
    The first successful birth following ovarian cryopreservation in a primate model was reported at the XVII FIGO World Congress in Santiago, Chile (2-7 November 2003).
    Researchers have reported the first successful birth following ovarian tissue cryopreservation in a monkey. But they stress the research remains technically challenging at the current time.

  • PGD reduces recurrent miscarriage abortion rate
    A study presented at the XVII FIGO World Congress that was held in Santiago, Chile (2-7 November 2003) shows that less than one-third of embryos generated from recurrent miscarriage couples are normal. Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) may have a role to play in the diagnosis and management of patients with recurrent miscarriage, according to Spanish researchers.

  • First human ovarian transplant reported
    Indian gynecologists reported the first successful ovarian transplant in humans at the XVII FIGO World Congress held in Santiago, Chile (2-7 November 2003).
    A patient with Turner’s syndrome has been successfully transplanted with an ovary from her living sister, said Dr. Parvin Mhatre (Kothari Hospital, Mumbai, India).
    The transplant was carried out from a live donor, who was 26 years old and had two children herself, to her younger sister, aged 17 years, in March 2002. The recipient had bilateral streak ovaries and chromosomal configuration of XO—Turner’s syndrome. The donor and recipient were immunologically matched by blood group, HLA matching, and lymphocytic cross matching.

  • Sex ratio at conception shows seasonal variation
    Seasonal patterns of conception may help preserve the male to female sex ratio.
    Couples who want to have a boy should try to conceive in autumn, while the chances of having a girl are increased by conceiving in spring, study findings indicate.
    Given that male fetuses and neonates are more fragile than females, the study authors believe that the seasonal variation helps to preserve the sex ratio, by allowing more boys to be conceived during optimal conditions for pregnancy and birth.

  • Egg-sharing does not damage a donor's own chance of a baby say UK researchers
    Women who take part in egg sharing programmes run by fertility clinics are not compromising their chance of having a baby by donating some of their eggs, according to UK research published today (Thursday 30 October) in Europe's leading reproductive medicine journal Human Reproduction[1].

  • Danish study finds that taking a long time to conceive is linked to problems at birth
    Women who take more than a year to conceive have a higher than normal risk of having a premature birth, a full-term baby with low birthweight[1], or a Caesarean section, according to a large Danish study reported (Thursday 30 October) in Europe's leading reproductive medicine journal Human Reproduction[2].

  • Fever impact on semen quality confirmed
    Testing the validity of claims that semen quality is affected by febrile illness.
    Semen quality may be impaired by the development of a fever up to 2 months before ejaculation, study findings suggest.
    Although previous publications have stated that "it is a well-known phenomenon that semen quality can be affected by febrile illness," the data supporting this claim are of low quality, note Elisabeth Carlsen (Rigshospitalet, Blegdamsvej, Denmark) and colleagues.
    To address this issue, the researchers examined the influence of febrile episodes on monthly sperm samples of 27 healthy men, over a 16-month period.

  • HPV and p53 inversely correlated in genital tract tumors
    Correlating human papillomavirus positivity with p53 over expression in cervical, vaginal, and vulvar squamous cell carcinomas. The overexpression of p53 and human papillomavirus (HPV) infection may reflect independent carcinogenic processes, say researchers.
    While "one well characterized pathway for the induction of growth arrest and apoptosis is through the activation of the p53 tumor suppressor protein," human papillomavirus appears to abrogate this response by targeting the tumor suppressor for ubiquitin-dependent degradation. Consequently, it has been suggested that p53 mutations play a role in HPV negative carcinomas, although evidence of an inverse relationship between the presence of HPV DNA and mutant p53 expression is conflicting, explain Yasuko Koyamatsu (Saga Medical School, Japan) and co-workers.

  • ** Fertility first with tissue transplant **
    US scientists use ovarian tissue to produce a live monkey birth, a move which could benefit women made infertile by cancer treatment. The procedure carried out in a rhesus monkey could, researchers say, be used for humans.
    The development gives new hope to women who have become infertile following cancer treatment.

  • New technique allows real-time placenta imaging
    Researchers recommend a new imaging technique for staging human placental development.
    Using a new imaging technique, it is now possible to monitor placental development during pregnancy, reveal researchers in a finding that holds promise for the real-time diagnosis of placental pathologies.
    "Maldevelopment of placental villous trees and their blood vessels results in impaired fetal growth, which can greatly compromise fetal, neonatal, childhood, and adulthood health," write Justin Konje (University of Leicester, UK) and colleagues. However, "there are no means of directly assessing such maldevelopment."

  • First trimester trisomy screening supported
    Researchers test the sensitivity of a combined approach to first trimester screening for the detection of trisomies 18 and 21. First trimester screening combining biochemical markers and fetal nuchal translucency for the detection of trisomies 21 and 18 is an accurate and efficient alternative to second trimester screening, say researchers.

  • Perimenopausal depression linked to ovarian function
    Examining the relationship between changes in mood and pituitary-ovarian axis function in perimenopausal women. A normal dietary intake of isoflavones is linked to lower levels of total body fat in postmenopausal women, and may prove useful for the prevention of chronic disease.
    "Previous studies suggest an association between isoflavone supplementation and improved body composition," write Deborah Goodman-Gruen and Donna Kritz-Silverstein from the University of California in San Diego, USA. However, "the effect of usual dietary isoflavone consumption on obesity among postmenopausal women consuming a typical Western diet," has not been reported.

  • Oxidative stress linked to infertility apoptosis
    Investigating whether semen quality is associated with apoptosis in the presence of oxidative stress.
    High levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the semen of patients with male factor infertility are associated with increased levels of caspase-mediated apoptosis, a study shows.
    While both oxidative stress and high rates of apoptosis have been independently associated with testicular insufficiency in male infertility, "it is unclear whether the caspase-mediated pathway is involved in inducing apoptosis in ejaculated spermatozoa, and, if so, how it is influenced by oxidative stress," write researchers, led by Xia Wang from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio, USA.

  • Iron supplementation improves birth weight
    Scientists hypothesize that prophylactic iron supplementation in early pregnancy reduces anemia and increases birth weight. Results from a randomized controlled trial suggest that prenatal prophylactic iron supplementation in iron-replete, nonanemic women improves birth weight, and may have beneficial effects on related health care costs.

  • IVF and ICSI synergy in unexplained infertility
    Researchers further examine the value of splitting sibling oocytes from patients with unexplained infertility between IVF and ICSI.

  • The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) has published its World Report on Women's Health 2003, in a special issue of its journal.
    The report consists of a series of articles providing commentary on a wide range of issues that impact on women's health, highlighting new developments and initiatives that are leading to real improvements in care.

  • Sex selection for social reasons: religious and moral perspectives
    Two reports in the 25 September 2003 issue of Human Reproduction suggest that the coming availability of sex selection technology is not likely to skew the balance between the sexes. Two experts in religion and reproductive technology respond to this report and to the way it might be used in the ethics and public policy debate over the availability of sex selection technology.

  • Fetal exposure to two chemicals cause of male reproductive disorders later in life
    Primary author of several recent studies involving di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP) and linuron (L) discusses his findings and what they mean for understanding human development.
    (Philadelphia, PA) – Over the last ten years, US researchers have observed a marked increase in some male reproductive disorders, including undescended testicles, increased instances of testicular cancer, and decreased sperm count. In the last 20 years the rates for testicular cancer have grown almost five-fold in Denmark, yet neighboring Finland has not experienced such a dramatic increase. In an effort to explain this phenomenon, scientists have hypothesized that these human male reproductive deficits may have a common origin: a disturbance in the level of androgen and other critical hormones during fetal development. The results from tests with laboratory animals may help scientists better understand the effect of fetal exposure to certain chemicals has on male reproduction abilities later in life.

    Superior ART pregnancy indicators defined
    Examining the implantation potential of embryos from assisted reproductive technology cycles with low embryo production. Researchers claim that cumulative embryo score (ES) can serve as a predictor of pregnancy in assisted reproductive technology (ART) cycles, and recommend that the emphasis, in terms of achieving pregnancy, should be shifted from ovarian response to the production of viable embryos.

  • Blastomere trait boosts IVF success
    Can examination of the blastomere nucleus improve implantation rates in IVF? Japanese researchers have discovered that blastomere nuclei status may be more important than conventional features such as fragmentation and uniformity in predicting embryo implantation rates.

  • Infertility history-taking questioned
    "In this analysis, the venerable tradition of gathering information on past infections and symptoms of past infection did not help predict tubal disease among infertile nulligravid women." This conclusion from an evaluation of history-taking in 321 women is the source of much debate among specialists in the latest issue of the journal Fertility and Sterility.

  • Menstrual variability reveals menopause timing
    Determining how accurately menstrual characteristics can predict time to menopause. Simple questions about menstrual variability can help identify how soon a woman is likely to go through the menopause, US researchers have found. Sylvia Taylor (Columbia University, New York) and colleagues interviewed 326 women, aged 44 to 56 years, on six definitions of menstrual variability. Participants had all menstruated in the past year, and were followed-up for around 4.8 years-until they reached menopause (12 months without menstruation) or the study ended.

  • Deriving male gametes
    Embryoid bodies contain primordial germ cells that can mature into male gametes By David Secko
    Mouse germ cell development requires primordial germ cells (PGCs) in order to develop the egg and sperm cells (gametes). These PGCs are generated in a region in the embryo that also gives rise to the first blood lineages. Embryonic stem (ES) cells, when differentiated into embryoid bodies (EBs), also maintain blood development. In addition, the surface antigen SSEA1-a marker of undifferentiated ES cells and PGCs-persists at low levels in different Ebs, suggesting that ES-derived embryoid bodies could also support PGC formation. In the December 11 Nature, Niels Geijsen and colleagues at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Science have isolated PGCs from embryoid bodies and observed that they can form male gametes (Nature, DOI:10.1038/nature02247, December 11, 2003).

  • Maternal levels of PCBs found to influence sex ratio
    Women with high blood levels of polychlorinated biphenyls are more likely to give birth to a girl than a boy. Maternal exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), primarily through eating contaminated fish, appears to result in an abnormal sex ratio with a preponderance of female offspring, research suggests.

  • Poor ovarian reserve linked to recurrent miscarriage
    An association between ovarian reserve and the risk of recurrent miscarriage is proposed.

    Diminished ovarian reserve, as evidenced by elevated serum FSH and/or estradiol (E2) levels, may be associated with recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) in some cases, research indicates.

  • First genetic response in animal species to global warming.
    For the first time ever, a University of Alberta researcher has discovered that an animal species has changed its genetic make-up to cope with global warming. In the past, organisms have shown the flexibility--or plasticity--to adapt to their surroundings, but this is the first time it has been proven a species has responded genetically to cope with environmental forces.

  • Cell fate genes. Flk1 and Tal1 control vascular and hematopoietic development during embryogenesis.
    | Tudor P Toma Endothelial precursors and primitive hematopoietic cells are closely associated during development. They are thought to originate from a common progenitor, the hemangioblast, but the molecular mechanisms that control the fate of hemangioblasts have been unclear.

  • BRCA2 mutations may be associated
    with some hereditary pancreatic cancers

    BRCA2 mutations may be associated with some hereditary pancreatic cancers Mutations in the breast cancer susceptibility gene BRCA2 may be associated with a predisposition to familial (hereditary) pancreatic cancer, a new study suggests. The findings appear in the February 5 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

  • Genetic heterogeneity of Icelanders
    Research undertaken by Professor Einar Αrnason at the University of Iceland, Reykjavik and published in the January 2003 issue of Annals of Human Genetics highlights the inaccuracy of claims that Icelanders are a 'genetically homogenous' population.

  • Paucity of Genes on the Drosophila X Chromosome
    Showing Male-Biased Expression

    Sex chromosomes are primary determinants of sexual dimorphism in many organisms. These chromosomes are thought to arise via the divergence of an ancestral autosome pair and are almost certainly influenced by differing selection in males and females. Exploring how sex chromosomes differ from autosomes is highly amenable to genomic analysis. We examined global gene expression in Drosophila melanogaster and report a dramatic underrepresentation of X-chromosome genes showing high relative expression in males. Using comparative genomics, we find that these same X-chromosome genes are exceptionally poorly conserved in the mosquito Anopheles gambiae. These data indicate that the X chromosome is a disfavored location for genes selectively expressed in males.

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