Robert Edwards, the Nobel Prize winning developer of in vitro fertilisation, has died at the age of 87. He developed human IVF after years of early research using mouse embryos. By 2010 about 4 million children have been born by IVF. You can watch a short film about his life and work on the Nobel prize website here: http://www.nobelprize.org/mediaplayer/index.php?id=1520 and read more here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/11/us/robert-g-edwards-nobel-winner-for-in-vitro-fertilization-dies-at-87.html
Researchers have developed a new technique that turns brain tissue transparent, allowing them to view large neuron networks with a clarity and accuracy not available using current methods. Our favourite quote of the week as well, “I burned and melted more than a hundred brains.” This story was covered in a number of places but we've linked to Nature because they have the videos to watch as well as the science.
Early to say, but perhaps a particularly significant story - American researchers have developed a new rat model for Alzheimer's disease. The rat contains mutant human genes and exhibits a fuller range of the brain changes and behavioural changes found in Alzheimer’s disease.
Also from the US, ABC news have picked up on the story that stem cells have been used to cure canine arthritis. “Cowboy” and “Mr. Jones” were treated for their arthritis using a stem cell technique developed by MediVet America. The damaged joints are injected with cells taken from fat stores of the animal.
On a more personal note, the independent student newspaper for McGill University, Canada, has published an interview with animal researcher Hélène Ste-Croix, in a frank but positive article about the pros and cons of the animal research being conducted at the University.
And we finish with a story from New Scientist. GPS backpacks fitted to three Great Bustards in Mongolia has allowed their 2000 km migration south to be tracked.