Welcome to the 800th edition of BioNews.
The media seems to be filled with numbers at the moment - whether it's pollsters trying to predict the results of this week's general election, the age at which a woman can have a child via assisted conception, or the number of embryos that can be transferred into her womb (see BioNews 798 for the recent story of the 65-year-old German woman who has become pregnant with quadruplets).
That's why we thought we'd mark the 800th edition of BioNews by posing eight questions to Anne Wojcicki. Anne is founder and chief executive of 23andMe, the personal genomics company that recently launched its service in the UK, prompting reactions that ranged from the enthusiastic to the critical to the curious. See what Anne has to say to BioNews here.
Also this week, we're pleased to introduce our new Science Editor Ayala Ochert, the 13th person to become a BioNews editor since our publication was launched 16 years ago. Ayala previously worked as a freelance science journalist, and has written for publications including Nature, New Scientist, Discover, the Independent and the Times Higher Education Supplement. She replaces James Brooks, who has moved on to work as a reporter at Research Fortnight (the second BioNews editor who has gone on to work there).
The charity that publishes BioNews, the Progress Educational Trust (PET), also has a major announcement to make this week. Five years after Baroness Mary Warnock agreed to become the charity's Patron, PET has now appointed a second Patron to serve alongside her - Professor Marcus Pembrey. Marcus originally became involved in PET's precursor organisation, the Progress Campaign for Research into Human Reproduction, 30 years ago. He then co-founded PET in 1992, and served as its Chair of Trustees almost continuously for the next 22 years.
It's therefore true, in more ways than one, to say that Marcus has spent the past three decades at the forefront of Progress. We are delighted that this will continue to be the case, now that he has become our Patron.
Finally, the numbers which are of most immediate concern to us at BioNews relate to our finances. We are asking all of our readers to donate £8 (or more!) to our BioNews 800 fundraising appeal - we urgently need to raise £8,000 for new computers and software, as our IT is eight years old and literally struggles to wake up in the mornings and get going. We will use the rest of the money we raise to make the BioNews website and email newsletter more mobile and tablet friendly, which is something that many of you have told us you want.
These improvements will be part of a thorough overhaul of our websites, and we will be launching a reader survey soon so that we can make sure that any changes enhance your experience and enjoyment of BioNews.
We don't have a dedicated fundraiser and so we really are reliant on you help us keep BioNews free and looking good for the next 800 editions.