Genetic Engineering


MouseVia New Scientist:

A contender for the elusive fountain of youth: an enzyme found in humans appears to lengthen the life of mice. Researchers hoping to slow the march of age were dealt a blow in 2010, when signs that an enzyme called sirtuin 2 extended the life of worms were shown to be false due to flawed experimental design.

Mammals have seven types of sirtuin, so Haim Cohen and Yariv Kanfi at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel, turned to sirtuin 6 instead. They compared mice genetically engineered to have increased levels of SIRT6 with normal mice, engineering the mice in two different ways to control for genetic influences.

Male mice from both strains lived 15 per cent longer than normal mice or females. Older modified male mice metabolised sugar faster than normal mice and females, suggesting that SIRT6 might extend life by protecting against metabolic disorders such as diabetes …



Gordon Davidson writes in the Scottish Farmer: France has held firm in its opposition to Monsanto’s genetically modified MON 810 maize [trade name: YieldGard] – and the agri-chemical multinational has admitted defeat….



H5N1 VirusesVia DoctorTipster.com:

A Dutch researcher has created a virus with the potential to kill half of the planet’s population. Now, researchers and experts in bioterrorism debate whether it is a good idea to publish the virus creation ”recipe”. However, several voices argue that such research should have not happened in the first place.

The virus is a strain of avian influenza H5N1 genetically modified to be extremely contagious. It was created by researcher Ron Fouchier of the Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam, Netherlands. The work was first presented at a conference dedicated to influenza, that took place in September in Malta.

Avian influenza emerged in Asia about 10 years ago. Since then there were fewer than 600 infection cases reported in humans. On the other hand, Fouchier’s genetically modified strain is extremely contagious and dangerous, killing about 50% of infected patients. The former strain did not represent a global threat, as transmission from human to human is rare. Or, at least, it was before Fouchier genetically modified it.



Once home genetic engineering kits become standard can we expect home brew X-Men? BBC News‘ Karen Weintraub reports on some experiments at Harvard University that may signal the beginning of DIY genetic…



Could Tegon, the glowing dog, be the key to finding cures for many human diseases? Via Reutuers:

South Korean scientists said on Wednesday they have created a glowing dog using a cloning technique that could help find cures for human diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, Yonhap news agency reported.

A research team from Seoul National University (SNU) said the genetically modified female beagle, named Tegon and born in 2009, has been found to glow fluorescent green under ultraviolet light if given a doxycycline antibiotic, the report said.




On Thursday night, investigative reporter Jon Rappoport warned of alarming future trends in the genetic engineering of human beings. Based on his contacts with several scientists over a period of 20 years, he’s concluded that human genetics research is basically a continuation of the Nazi eugenics program, and that medical research into genes as causes of human illness is simply a cover story.

Part of this secret agenda, he detailed, is to demonstrate that people have genetic predispositions to certain diseases like cancer, so in the case of lawsuits, this argument can be made rather than placing blame for illness on environmental factors like pollution. In citing the book Remaking Eden, Rappoport noted that author Lee Silver foresees a time when the “gen-rich” (genetically enhanced class) will account for 10% of the population, while “naturals” will work as low paid service providers/laborers…





Bomb Detecting PlantSpencer Ackerman writes on WIRED’s Danger Room:

The next hydrangea you grow could literally save your life. With the help of the Department of Defense, a biologist at Colorado State University has taught plant proteins how to detect explosives. Never let it be said that horticulture can’t fight terrorism.

Picture this at an airport, perhaps in as soon as four years: A terrorist rolls through the sliding doors of a terminal with a bomb packed into his luggage (or his underwear). All of a sudden, the leafy, verdant gardenscape ringing the gates goes white as a sheet. That’s the proteins inside the plants telling authorities that they’ve picked up the chemical trace of the guy’s arsenal.





From ScienceDaily: Appearing in the latest edition of The Journal of Politics published by Cambridge University Press, the research focused on 2,000 subjects from The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. By…



From the recent March/April issue of Archaeology. Zach Zorich writes: If Neanderthals ever walk the earth again, the primordial ooze from which they will rise is an emulsion of oil, water, and…


Who Owns You?Drew Halley writes on Singularity Hub:

Here’s a disconcerting thought: for the past thirty years, genes have been patentable. And we’re not just talking genetically modified corn — your genes, pretty much as they exist in your body, can and have been patented. The US government reports over three million gene patent applications have been filed so far; over 40,000 patents are held on sections of the human genome, covering roughly 20% of our genes.

Upset? You’re not alone. Critics argue that the patents stifle potential research into disease, keep new treatments off the market, and bring in serious money to Big Pharma — all by exercising property claims that shouldn’t exist. After all, genes aren’t inventions, which are patentable — they’re discoveries, which aren’t.

Singularity Hub recently interviewed Dr. David Koepsell … His book Who Owns You? is currently being adapted into a documentary film, including interviews with experts like James Watson and Tim Hubbard. Check out the preview: