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BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 24 November 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b4814

There’s a dearth of safety data about cosmetic labial surgery, and an increasing trend for healthy women requesting such surgery, with many citing sexual difficulties. But the surgery itself may damage the nerve supply and is associated with impaired sensitivity and impaired sexual function. A study in the BJOG found no prospective, randomised, or controlled trials for such surgery, and the authors say that the amount of genital tissue removed is comparable with type 1 and 2 female genital mutilation (2009; published online 11 November, doi:10.1111/j.1471-0528.2009.02426.x).

The development of human language remains a bit of a mystery; only one gene, known as FOXP2, has so far been implicated. Mutations in this gene lead to developmental disorders of speech and language. Scientists have discovered that the chimpanzee version of FOXP2 is evolutionarily conserved but differs from the human version by just two amino acids. This small variation leads to a cascade of activity in humans, including activation of a whole lot of other genetic networks, potentially accounting for …

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