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A computer model of the womb could be used by doctors to identify the risk of premature birth. The virtual womb simulates uterine contractions and could allow doctors to prescribe the most appropriate drugs while eliminating the need for drug trials on real people.

[Nature, 10Mar04; Information at SPUC, Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, 5-6 St Matthew Street, London, United Kingdom, SW1P 2JT, +44 20 7222 5845]