China recently lifted its one-child policy, allowing married couples to have two children. The policy change has been followed by an increase in demand for IVF treatments, particularly among older women longing to have a second child. The higher demand for IVF treatments and added pressure on sperm banks seems to indicate a change in the social perception of fertility treatments.
Researchers in Canada conducted a small study to determine the utility of using sequencing to diagnose newborns admitted to the NICU with unknown disorders. The researchers ran genetic tests on 20 newborns and their parents. With this approach, the team diagnosed eight newborns while traditional testing only diagnosed two of the babies. The diagnoses allowed physicians to better tailor treatment and counsel parents.
In Zika news…
On Tuesday, the World Health Organization released its updated recommendation on pregnancy and sex with regards to the Zika virus. WHO and the CDC are now in consensus regarding its recommendation to abstain from sex for at least 8 weeks after Zika exposure. Maggie Fox from NBC news provides a quick overview of FAQs and guidelines regarding Zika in her latest article. To learn more about Zika and current recommendations, visit the WHO or CDC website.
Writing the DNA of Life
Scientists announced on Thursday that a 10-year project, fittingly named HGP-Write, is underway to synthetically construct an entire human genome. While the project offers the potential for numerous scientific and medical advances, it has also sparked a debate on the ethical implications of DNA engineering. This effort has prompted an interesting discussion between many leaders in the field.
Cool …or creepy?
Fact: A fly’s sperm is one thousand times longer than a human sperm. This goes against long-held conception of sperm being small cells that can be effortlessly produced in large quantities by male animals. Research by Scott Pitnick and his team has found that the evolution of these giant sperm is largely driven by the environment, which in this case is the female fly’s long reproductive tract. So really, it is not about producing the most sperm or the highest quality sperm but rather ones that are best fit for a particular environment. Who would have thought that the female reproductive tract would turn up as such a big player in sexual selection?
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