Tag Archives | Genetic Engineering

South Korean Scientists Clone Beagle That Glows Fluorescent Green

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.

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Scientist Warns That Roundup Ready GM Seeds Could Cause Crop Collapse

Roundup_herbicide_logo

The Institute of Science in Society‘s Dr. Mae-Wan Ho reports that a USDA senior scientist has sent an “emergency” warning to US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack regarding a new plant pathogen in Roundup Ready GM soybean and corn that may be responsible for high rates of infertility and spontaneous abortions in livestock:

An open letter appeared on the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance founded and run by Judith McGeary to save family farms in the US [1, 2]. The letter, written by Don Huber, professor emeritus at Purdue University, to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, warns of a pathogen “new to science” discovered by “a team of senior plant and animal scientists”. Huber says it should be treated as an “emergency’’, as it could result in “a collapse of US soy and corn export markets and significant disruption of domestic food and feed supplies.”

The letter appeared to have been written before Vilsack announced his decision to authorize unrestricted commercial planting of GM alfalfa on 1 February, in the hope of convincing the Secretary of Agriculture to impose a moratorium instead on deregulation of Roundup Ready (RR) crops.

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GMOs Linked to Organ Disruption in 19 Studies

GMOFrom Responsible Technology via Current:

A new paper shows that consuming genetically modified (GM) corn or soybeans leads to significant organ disruptions in rats and mice, particularly in livers and kidneys. By reviewing data from 19 animal studies, Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini and others reveal that 9% of the measured parameters, including blood and urine biochemistry, organ weights, and microscopic analyses (histopathology), were significantly disrupted in the GM-fed animals. The kidneys of males fared the worst, with 43.5% of all the changes.

The liver of females followed, with 30.8%. The report, published in Environmental Sciences Europe on March 1, 2011, confirms that “several convergent data appear to indicate liver and kidney problems as end points of GMO diet effects.” The authors point out that livers and kidneys “are the major reactive organs” in cases of chronic food toxicity.

“Other organs may be affected too, such as the heart and spleen, or blood cells,” stated the paper.

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Jon Rappaport Warns Of Alarming Future Trends In Genetic Engineering

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…

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After 20 Years, Nearly Everyone Still Wants GM Food To Be Labeled

GMOBy Rady Ananda at the Food Freedom blog:

At this MSNBC poll, over 40,000 people have voted strongly in favor of labeling genetically modified foods: 96% of all respondents.

But, a review of several polls going back to 1994 reveals that the numbers have always been high — the vast majority of people have always wanted GM labels. That biotech foods have remained unlabeled for nearly 20 years in the US reveals a deliberate and willful refusal by regulatory agencies to serve the will of the people, instead opting to abet industry profits through public deception.

The 96% rating from MSNBC’s casual survey does represent a jump from a scientific poll conducted in 2003 by University of Maine and The Ohio State University (and partly funded by the US Dept. of Agriculture), where 85% of respondents said they wanted GM foods labeled. Researchers also noted:

“Polls have emphasized that a majority of consumers in the United States (US) desire GMFs to be labeled (Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology, 2001), and legislation has been entered at both the federal and state levels.

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Humanity 3.0: How Will We Evolve Next?

1561781181_be42e3aaacWriting in SEED Magazine, Mark Changizi expounds on his vision of human advancement in the centuries to come. He argues that the greatest progress will not come through changing our brains and bodies via genetic engineering or cyborg-like enhancement, but by developing technology that better accommodates the magnificently-designed brains and bodies that evolution has already given us:

Where are we humans going, as a species? If science fiction is any guide, we will genetically evolve like in X-Men, become genetically engineered as in Gattaca, or become cybernetically enhanced like General Grievous in Star Wars. All of these may well be part of the story of our future, but I’m not holding my breath.

There is, however, another avenue for human evolution, one mostly unappreciated in both science and fiction. It is this unheralded mechanism that will usher in the next stage of human, giving future people exquisite powers we do not currently possess, powers worthy of natural selection itself.

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You Can’t Avoid Genetically Engineered Foods

No matter how hard you try to avoid “food” that nature never intended, the U.S. government has made it almost impossible for its citizens to stay GM-free. Three more genetically engineered crops were approved in the last month alone. AP/USA Today tells the sorry story:

You may not want to eat genetically engineered foods. Chances are, you are eating them anyway.

Genetically modified plants grown from seeds engineered in labs now provide much of the food we eat. Most corn, soybean and cotton crops grown in the United States have been genetically modified to resist pesticides or insects, and corn and soy are common food ingredients.

USA. Genetically engineered crops timeline

The Agriculture Department has approved three more genetically engineered crops in the past month, and the Food and Drug Administration could approve fast-growing genetically modified salmon for human consumption this year.

Agribusiness and the seed companies say their products help boost crop production, lower prices at the grocery store and feed the world, particularly in developing countries.

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Growing Your Own Security: Professor Breeding Bomb-Detecting Plants (Video)

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.

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Legal War Starts Against GM Alfalfa Seeds

Roundup_herbicide_logoI’m sure I’m not the only one who feels utterly betrayed by the Obama Administration’s capitulation to corporate interests — Monsanto and the agribusiness giants in this case — in approving the use of genetically-modified “Roundup Ready” alfalfa seeds without any meaningful protections for organic and non-GM farming. Fortunately there is a very strong litigation culture in the United States. I encourage everyone to join the battle to reverse the U.S. Government’s decision. UPI reports on the first legal salvo:

Washington is endangering consumer and farmer rights and hurting the environment by green-lighting genetically modified alfalfa, a public-health group said.

Executive Director Andrew Kimbrell of the non-profit Center for Food Safety vowed to seek a court order immediately reversing and voiding the U.S. Agriculture Department’s approval of “Roundup Ready” alfalfa — the fourth Roundup Ready crop approved for U.S. commercial-farming use, after soybeans, corn and cotton.

“We will be back in court representing the interest of farmers, preservation of the environment and consumer choice,” Kimbrell said.

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Genetically Modified Mosquitoes Released

Photo: Alvesgaspar (CC)

Photo: Alvesgaspar (CC)

I have a bad feeling about this — how long before the scientists say “Sorry, we didn’t think that was possible” when the mosquitoes mutate into something deadly to humans…? From the happily hyperbolic Daily Mail:

Malaysia has released 6,000 genetically modified mosquitoes into a forest in the first experiment of its kind in Asia aimed at curbing dengue fever.

The field test is meant to pave the way for the official use of genetically engineered Aedes aegypti male mosquitoes to mate with females and produce offspring with shorter lives, thus curtailing the population.

Only female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes spread dengue fever, which killed 134 people in Malaysia last year.

However, the plan has sparked criticism by some Malaysian environmentalists, who fear it might have unforeseen consequences, such as the inadvertent creation of uncontrollable mutated mosquitoes.

Critics also say such plans could leave a vacuum in the ecosystem that is then filled by another insect species, potentially introducing new diseases.

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