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No change to pesticide regulations
Neonicotinoid law remains unchanged, despite link to bee decline

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) have announced there will currently be no changes to UK pesticide regulations, following a review into the effects of neonicotinoids.

The pesticide neonicotinoid has been linked to a fall in the UK bee population, with scientists claiming that it causes worker bees to stop providing food and eggs for larvae, bumblebees to restrict food supply to the hive, and honey bees to experience a breakdown in their navigational abilities.

In response, several studies from earlier this year were assessed by the Chemicals Regulation Directorate of HSE, an independent expert advisory committee on pesticides, bee experts in DEFRA's Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) and DEFRA's Science Advisory Council.

Though the report said the studies were "interesting", it was not believed that permitted neonicotinoid levels would have a serious effect on bee populations.

Friends of the Earth nature campaigner, Paul de Zylva, said: "The govenment's failure to act on neonicotinoid pesticides is astonishing - there is still a massive question mark over the impact of these chemicals in declining bee populations."

DEFRA have commented that they are carrying out additional research, however they believe the studies were either not carried out under field conditions, or neonicotinoid was used at a higher dose to that which is currently permitted.

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New DNA testing scheme for Labradors

News Story 1
 The Kennel Club has approved a new DNA testing scheme for hereditary nasal parakeratosis (HNPK) in Labrador retrievers. Announcing the news, Kennel Club secretary Caroline Kisko, said: "The Labrador is the most popular breed of dog in the UK, so ensuring that the resources are available for breeders to make informed breeding decisions is paramount.

"We are pleased to be announcing this new DNA test for the breed, which will assist in responsible breeding and enable potential puppy buyers to be aware of an issue which could affect their chosen breed, and ultimately protect and maintain the health of the breed."

A list of the laboratories the Kennel Club accepts results from can be found here: thekennelclub.org.uk  

News Shorts
Prion diseases 'should remain national research priority'

Professor Neil Mabbott, a group leader at the Roslin Institute, has written about the importance of further research into prion diseases in the journal PLoS Pathogens.

Prion diseases remain untreatable but research over the past 10 years has shed light on how prion proteins are transmitted and has allowed preventative measures to be adopted.

Prof Mabbott said there is a clear need for further research into how prions spread from the gut to the brain, causing irreversible damage, and for this knowledge to be translated into therapies.