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21 years of the Progress Educational Trust (PET), informing debate on assisted conception and genetics

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This week at the Progress Educational Trust (2 July 2015)

The Progress Educational Trust (PET) recently welcomed the latest participants in its Writing Scheme, which trains graduate students in the art of science and news writing. The new participants - Ceri Durham from Queen Mary University of London, and Julia Hill and Paul Waldron from University College London - have been busy writing for PET's flagship publication BioNews.

Here are Ceri's BioNews articles:

Here are Julia's BioNews articles:

And here are Paul's BioNews articles:

Subscribe to BioNews for free here, and be kept up to date with future articles by Ceri, Julia, Paul and the rest of the BioNews team.

Sarah Norcross, Director of the Progress Educational Trust (PET) and Commissioning Editor of PET's flagship publication BioNews Professor Martin Johnson, Adviser to the Progress Educational Trust (PET) and Editor-in-Chief of the journal Reproductive Biomedicine and Society Online

In other news this week, PET Director Sarah Norcross is still following up a number of fruitful discussions that began at last month's Annual Conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. Sarah gave a presentation at this conference entitled 'Using the Internet and Social Media to Educate Society about Infertility: From Prevention to Access'.

Many people in PET's orbit spoke at and attended the conference, including PET's Adviser Professor Martin Johnson. Martin has just launched a fascinating-looking new journal entitled Reproductive Biomedicine and Society Online, which is dedicated to interdisciplinary discussion and debate of reproductive biomedicine and its wider implications.

Sophie Gregory (winner of the Gina Owens Memorial Prize) and Sandy Starr (Communications Officer at the Progress Educational Trust)

Meanwhile, PET Communications Officer Sandy Starr has been busy at the National Final of the Debating Matters sixth-form debating competition, which was organised by the Institute of Ideas at the British Library.

Sandy was one of the judges of the Gina Owens Memorial Prize for the sharpest and wittiest argument, which was awarded to Sophie Gregory (pictured here with Sandy) from Queens' School in Bushey. Sophie impressed the judges in a number of debates, including one in which she and her classmate Harry Cutmore proposed the motion 'We Should Embrace the Advent of Three-Parent IVF'. Despite stiff opposition from Omar Adam and Josh Ilelaboye of Mossbourne Community Academy in Hackney, Sophie and Harry won the debate by a whisker!

'Three-parent IVF' - a colloquial term for mitochondrial donation, albeit a misleading one (as Sophie and Harry pointed out during the debate) - is a subject of considerable interest to PET. Earlier this year, PET played a crucial role in persuading MPs and Peers to change the law to permit mitochondrial donation, and PET is delighted to see that the future of debate about such issues is in good hands.

Mitochondrial donation is still of considerable interest to PET, not least because the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority is currently deciding how best to implement the new Mitochondrial Donation Regulations. PET is currently drafting a detailed response to the regulator's survey on the matter, and will be publishing its survey response on this website.

The survey closes this coming Monday, on 6 July 2015 - if you wish to respond, you can do so here.

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