Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Xinran

Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Xinran

Inspiration Of Style: Kate Middleton Visits National Portrait Gallery With Statement Necklace On

Inspiration Of Style: Kate Middleton Visits National Portrait Gallery With Statement Necklace On

Women’s News: NASA Flight Engineer Sunita Williams Returns to International Space Station.

Women’s News: NASA Flight Engineer Sunita Williams Returns to International Space Station.

A Message From The Creator

A Message From The Creator

A Message From The Creator


The fact is, that to do anything in the world worth doing, we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in and scramble through as well as we can.
Robert Cushing

Women’s News: NASA Flight Engineer Sunita Williams Returns to International Space Station.

NASA reported that three crew members including Flight EngineerSuni Williams blasted off from Kazakhstan Saturday, July 14, 2012 heading for the International Space Station. Suni, who studied Physical Science at the U.S. Naval Academy, had been a Naval Aviator assigned to Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 8 in Virginia, making overseas deployments to the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf. Suni, who also holds a master’s in Engineering Management, was selected for the astronaut program in 1998. She already served as a flight engineer aboard the International Space Station in December 2006. During her previous time in space, Suni set the record for females in space of 195 days. Follow Suni’s travels on twitter, @Astro_Suni.

Inspiration Of Style: Kate Middleton Visits National Portrait Gallery With Statement Necklace On


With the 2012 London Games just weeks away, everyone’s getting into the Olympic spirit — including Kate Middleton. The duchess hit up the National Portrait Gallery, of which she is a patron, to take in “Road to 2012: Aiming High,” an exhibition documenting London’s preparations for the Olympic games.

According to the Telegraph, “Road to 2012” is the Portrait Gallery’s biggest photographic commission ever, a three-year project that captures the athletes and organizers of the event.

In short: it’s a big deal. So it made sense that Catherine got decked out in her Olympic best, including a vivid blue sheath dress by Stella McCartney (both the color and designer match Team GB’s Olympic uniforms, which McCartney created).

The duchess also surprised us with a rare piece of statement jewelry: a long, multi-strand hooper necklace by Cartier from her own wardrobe. According to the Daily Mail, “aides said she thought it appropriate to wear it today given the Olympic theme.” Girl loves her a good theme outfit.

We adore this color on Kate (much better than her recent, rather unfortunate attempt at pale yellow) but are ambivalent about the necklace. Do you like Kate’s medal-themed accessory?

Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Xinran

Emine Saner

The Guardian

China’s first agony aunt broadcaster, and author of the Good Women of China

In 1989, she started presenting her radio show, Words on the Night Breeze,China‘s first agony aunt programme. Thousands of women contacted her to tell their stories, and for the first time women’s voices and experiences were being heard – they told of rape, incest, violence and childhood abuse. “I discovered that women had no idea how to talk about themselves. In family tradition, in education, in society, even if you asked them, women had never talked about what happened in their own lives.” The programmed turnedXinran into a successful broadcaster, but she felt constrained by the state and the demands of her job. She spent two years travelling around China, listening to the stories of more women, before leaving for the UK in 1997, where she worked as a cleaner and a waitress while she learned English. Her book, based on her research, the Good Women of China, was published in 2002 to acclaim, and she continues to write about women’s stories. Xinran also set up a charity Mother Bridge of Love, to support British families who have adopted children, mainly girls, from China.

Women’s Health: Sequencing of Single Sperm Could Reveal New Infertility Causes

By Katherine Harmon

Less than a decade after the first full human genome was mapped, technology has arrived to decode the full genome of a single sex cell. The ability promises to offer new insight into the causes of infertility, the development of mutations and the diversity of the human genome.

Sperm and egg cells differ from other bodily cells in that they have a single—rather than double—set of chromosomes. Researchers have successfully amplified and sequenced 91 sperm cells from a single individual, a 40-year-old man whose genome has already been sequenced and analyzed—an important factor for checking the accuracy of the sperm sequencing. They found that the sampled sperm had sustained about 23 recombinations, which help to mix up genes from the chromosomes to increase genetic diversity in offspring, and between 25 and 36 new mutations, rates that match previous estimations for those in the general population. The scientists reported the findings online July 19 in Cell.

The new capability is “going to allow us to answer a lot of questions about genome stability in the germ line,” says Don Conrad, a human geneticist at Washington University School of Medicine in Saint Louis, who was not involved with the new research. The researchers found that although the man who donated the sperm already had healthy offspring, two of the sperm cells studied were each missing a full chromosome. Such mutations, however, make it less likely that a sperm cell will successfully fertilize an egg.

Until now, we have made rough estimates about genetic mutations and recombination on the population scale. “We haven’t had the tools to quantify those things on a personal level,” Conrad says. “This is a technological breakthrough.”Stephen Quake of the Stanford School of Medicine’s Department of Bioengineering and his team have been working on this project for the past decade. “We started with bacteria and worked our way up to humans,” he says. They harnessed developments in the field of micro-fluidics to sequence the single cells on chips. These micro-fluidic chips allowed them to amplify the genome (with a process called multiple displacement amplification) using far less material, which reduced the odds for contamination—and thus erroneous findings—by 1,000 times, they reported.

The approach also revealed new places where mutations seem to congregate on the genome—so-called hot spots. Although the study was not designed to pinpoint particular biological signals, it demonstrates “how little we actually knew about hot spots across the genome,” Quake says. And future research can use these findings—and technology—to start to probe bigger biological questions, such as “to help understand and potentially diagnose reproductive disorders, to help understand what happens when it’s the man’s fault,” he says.

Reproductive technologists, however, will not be sequencing sperm to screen them for implantation anytime soon. The current method of sequencing destroys the sperm cell subject. Quake, however, suggests that both screening and capturing a sperm cell intact is possible under the right conditions—namely, just before a sperm cell splits through meiosis. “If you can capture them before they separate, you can sequence one and you’ll know what the other is.”

Sequencing for fertility—and more
The ability to sequence these single sex cells will open a new window to study infertility. “I think there are forms of infertility out there waiting to be identified that don’t even have a name yet,” Conrad says. He estimates that the technology could be validated and ready for clinical use within five years. The next hurdle, he says, is not technological but biological: scientists do not yet know entirely what genetic changes might be linked to various fertility challenges—a major step before diagnostic tests can be developed and rolled out.

Some couples are already testing for inherited mutations that could cause disease before an embryo is implanted in the uterus. These existing genetic tests have also made clear that there are other considerations before genome screening for sperm could become widespread. One is a “complicated legal landscape,” Conrad points out. When clinicians do a full genome screen, they can find anything, such as a mutation that puts one at higher risk for a certain cancer. But it has not yet been established whether they are obligated to look for these mutations or tell patients if they find them. “Conceptually, it’s straightforward to do genome sequencing,” but layering on the clinical considerations and genetic counseling can make such screening thornier than it might first appear.

Sequencing a full genome from a single cell also holds promise for a variety of medical fields outside of reproduction. Quake and his team are already looking into cancer cells, which have “enormous genetic variation,” he says. Cancer cells, however, have two sets of chromosomes (as do most of the body’s cells), making them more difficult to genetically parse than sperm or egg cells, which have just one set of chromosomes.

Nevertheless, this technology could improve monitoring to look for specific genetic signatures of circulating cancer cells, he notes. “There’s quite a bit to do,” Quake says. But now that the technology is ready, “you can start thinking about those critical studies.”

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