Tag Archives | Genetics

GMOs Alter the Genetic Make Up of Our Healthy Bacteria

Kim Evans writes on Natural News:
GMO

Although GMOs have infiltrated our food supply, the results of human feeding trials have only been published on one single occasion. Unfortunately, that occasion offered some pretty disturbing findings. It found that the genetic code of GM soy can infiltrate the genetic code of the healthy bacteria in our guts — and change the genetic makeup of the healthy bacteria inside us. Nobody knows how these mutant bacteria will function inside us — yet given the proliferation of GM soy, most of the population probably already has them inside of them.

Mutating the genetic code of our healthy bacteria is incredibly dangerous because these healthy bacteria live inside us for a reason. They are our first line of immune defense and they keep us well by crowding out many harmful bacteria, fungus, and pathogens that cause innumerable diseases. But when their genetic structure is changed, who knows if they’ll be able to do this job effectively?

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Liberals, Atheists Are More Highly Evolved?

Smarter people are more inclined to nontraditional values, a study suggests, reported by National Geographic:

Your apelike ancestors probably aren’t top of mind when you enter the polling booth. But a new study suggests that human evolution may have a big influence on whether you’re liberal or conservative—not to mention how smart you are, whether you believe in God, or whether you’ve got a cheatin’ heart.

It’s all linked to the evolution of intelligence, says author Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary psychologist at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Kanazawa’s theory is that intelligence—particularly our ability for on-the-spot problem solving and reasoning—arose as an adaptation to deal with the unusual and unexpected, such as a sudden forest fire.

Since disasters like that are rare in daily life, responding to them wouldn’t likely be something our ancestors were hard-wired to “know” how to do. Surviving the fire required both the ability to think up a new behavior, and the willingness to try it out.

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Archbishop Tutu’s DNA Helps Show African Diversity

Archbishop-TutuBy Malcolm Ritter for AP via comcast.net News:

Scientists who decoded the DNA of some southern Africans have found striking new evidence of the genetic diversity on that continent, and uncovered a surprise about the ancestry of Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

They found, for example, that any two Bushmen in their study who spoke different languages were more different genetically than a European compared to an Asian. That was true even if the Bushmen lived within walking distance of each other.

“If we really want to understand human diversity, we need to go to (southern) Africa and we need to study those people,” said Stephan Schuster of Pennsylvania State University. He’s an author of the study, which appears in Thursday’s issue of the journal Nature.

The study also found 1.3 million tiny variations that hadn’t been observed before in any human DNA. That should help scientists sort out whether particular genes promote certain diseases or influence a person’s response to medications.

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‘Sex Puppeteers’ Force Sex Changes and Virgin Births in Bugs Via Genes

Christine Dell’Amore writes in National Geographic News:wolbachia infected wasp egg

Fast-spreading parasite species force sex changes on their victims, induce virgin births, and turn animals into “gross monsters” — among other horrors. Now a new study has decoded how the bacteria may be able to wreak their havoc: by shutting down immune systems.

The parasites, of the Wolbachia bacteria genus, cause a gene in wasps to stifle the insect’s protein-based “alarms” against the bacterial invaders, say researchers who mapped the genomes of three species of Nasonia wasp for the first time. As a result, the wasps’ antibacterial defenses are never deployed, allowing Wolbachia to begin their dirty work.

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Gingers (redheads) extinct in 100 years

Via news.com.au:

Redheads are becoming rarer and could be extinct in 100 years, according to genetic scientists. The current National Geographic magazine reports that less than two per cent of the world’s population has natural red hair, created by a mutation in northern Europe thousands of years ago.

Global intermingling, which broadens the availability of possible partners, has reduced the chances of redheads meeting and producing little redheads of their own.

It takes only one red-haired parent to produce ginger-headed babies, but two redheads obviously create a much stronger possibility.

If the gingers really want to save themselves they should move to Scotland. An estimated 40 per cent of Scots carry the red gene and 13 per cent actually have red hair.

Some experts say that redheads could be gone as early as 2060, but others say the gene can be dormant for generations before returning. National Geographic says the gene at first had the beneficial effect of increasing the body’s ability to make vitamin D from sunlight.

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How to spot a GMO (genetically modified organism) in the grocery store

Very interesting. Who knew?

tomatoes

Are you eating Genetically Modified Foods? Do you know how to tell? I recently found out that you can easily tell whether the produce you purchase at the grocery store is a GMO just buy looking at the PLU (price look up) code.

Here are the rules:
If the PLU is 5 digits and begins with an 8, then it a Genetically Modified Organism
If the PLU is 4 digits (even if it begins with an 8) then it is not a GMO

When you purchase processed foods, you need to know that according to Wikipedia, as many as 75% of all processed foods on American shelves contain at least one GMO. As far as I can tell, there is no way to tell if a packaged item contains GMOs or not. Just another reason to skip over the middle of the grocery store as much as possible.

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