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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
- About Us
She Began a Baby Boom
24 July 1998 7:00 pm
ScienceNOW wishes a happy birthday to the first test tube baby, Joy Louise Brown, who will be 20 years old tomorrow. Born in England, Brown got her start thanks to an in vitro fertilization technique developed by gynecologist Patrick Steptoe and physiologist Robert G. Edwards. The success sparked both praise and ethical debates.
Steptoe pioneered the use of laparoscopic surgery--in which a long, thin telescope is inserted through a small incision into the inflated abdominal cavity--and he developed a method for obtaining eggs from the ovaries. Edwards figured out how to fertilize eggs outside the body and achieved his first success in 1968. In 1972, the pair attempted the first implantation but had no luck until 1977. Critics voiced ethical and moral concerns about tampering with the creation of human life, and Steptoe and Edwards were reluctant to discuss the new procedure. They finally presented their work to the scientific community in 1979.
Brown was the first, but she is hardly the only test tube baby alive today. According to a worldwide survey by the pharmaceutical company Oragnon, by 1994 more than 150,000 babies worldwide had been born as a result of in vitro fertilization.
[Source: Emily McMurray, Ed., Notable Twentieth Century Scientists (Gale Research Inc., ITP, 1995).]