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*The Spark of Life Gene 2002-07-07

Posted by clype in Health, Science.
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British scientists have discovered the 'gene' that provides 'the spark of life', when an 'egg' is fertilised by a 'sperm', in research that promises dramatic advances in fertility treatment and 'stem cell' experiments.

A ten-year study has revealed that the 'gene' in 'sperm' triggers the crucial process by which an 'egg' starts dividing to form an 'embryo', solving a mystery that has confounded medical science for two centuries.

The breakthrough, by researchers at 'The University of Wales, College of Medicine' in Cardiff and 'University College, London', paves the way for improved therapy for infertile couples and treatments that use 'cloned stem cells' to tackle 'Alzheimer's', 'Parkinson's' and 'diabetes'.

Scientists believe it will eventually allow them to fertilise 'eggs' using 'sperm' that have previously been considered useless, and to transform success rates in 'therapeutic cloning'. It has long been known that fertilisation is followed by a surge of calcium but the molecules that start this process have remained elusive.

'We're thrilled to be at the forefront of such an exciting discovery,' Professor Mr.Tony Lai, head of the Cardiff team, said.

'The potential benefits to medicine are immense.'

'Scientists identify the spark of life', Mark Henderson, The Times, 2002-07-19

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