Kyoto researchers develop DNA software that can halt food fraud

by jeeg 21. October 2013 22:48
A group of researchers at Kyoto University has developed DNA barcoding software that can prevent the fraudulent mislabeling of farm products and seafood, and also help police at crime scenes determine the origin of substances they uncover. Utilizing the newly developed software, users can easily determine the species of living objects based on their DNA sequence information. The development of the software was announced in the U.S. scientific research journal Plos One on Oct. 18. “Pr... [More]

Epigenetics: How to alter your genes

by jeeg 18. October 2013 21:55
Towards the end of the Second World War, something unprecedented happened in modern Europe: a famine. Operation Market Garden, the Allies’ attempt to push across the Rhine in September 1944, had failed, and in retaliation for Dutch collusion the Nazis blockaded towns across the western Netherlands for more than six months. The resultant food shortages – known as the Dutch Hongerwinter – were severe: with just 580 calories of food per person per day, over 22,000 people die... [More]

The Genetics of Global Warming

by jeeg 17. October 2013 22:41
Two weeks ago, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest report taking stock of the physical basis of climate change. It examines the data on increasing greenhouse gases, rising temperatures, shrinking polar ice sheets, and climbing sea levels—and attempts to predict just how screwed we are under different future scenarios. But what most people really care about are the biological consequences that accompany the physical changes to our global climate. ... [More]

CRG endorsed GE-Free Seed Trader Launches

by jeeg 15. October 2013 22:51
The GE-Free Seed Trader recently launched.  It is an international social networking platform that allows commercial and non-commercial seed savers, growers, traders, buyers and sellers alike to share safe, genetically engineered-free seeds.  The GE-Free Seed Trader puts the consumer, and the producer in charge of their food, and enables them to control where it comes from. The GE-Free Seed Trader and the Council for Responsible Genetics have worked together to br... [More]

'CSI'-like DNA study finds herbal products don't always list all contents on the label

by jeeg 12. October 2013 00:06
DNA doesn't lie. And when scientists from the University of Guelph scoured the DNA in a number of herbal products, they found that many times the labels on the merchandise didn't accurately reflect what was in the container. Some products contained fillers like wheat or rice that were not listed on the label. Some were contaminated with other plant species that could have caused toxicity or triggered allergic reactions. And still others contained no trace of the substance the bottle purporte... [More]

DNA: The missing justice link

by jeeg 11. October 2013 18:42
When Oscar Thwala was sentenced to life imprisonment 10 years ago on three counts of rape, two counts of kidnapping, and illegal possession of ammunition and firearms, he’d never heard of DNA or of its use as a forensic tool in criminal investigations.   So, when his lawyer told the then-23-year-old street vendor that the results of DNA tests taken after his arrest were “unimportant”, Thwala accepted his advice unquestioningly.   Like many sentenced offender... [More]

Celebrities, the Police, and Surreptitious DNA Collection

by jeeg 9. October 2013 23:32
Actress Mia Farrow made gossip-news headlines this week when, asked by Vanity Fair whether her former husband Frank Sinatra was the father of her son Ronan, rather than Woody Allen as broadly understood, she replied, “possibly.” She said that no paternity test had been done. My first thought when I saw this was, some tabloid reporter without any ethics is going to try to surreptitiously get a sample of Ronan Farrow’s DNA, and of Woody Allen’s, and have both tested.... [More]

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Genetic-testing patent raises concerns about ‘designer babies’

by jeeg 9. October 2013 22:51
A controversial new patent for technology that allows people to choose egg and sperm donors, based on the traits they want in their prospective children, is raising questions among experts about the moral bounds of what can be patented.   The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Sept. 24 granted genetic testing company 23andMe’s patent application on a method for picking egg and sperm donors based on genetic calculations for certain characteristics, such as eye color or athleti... [More]

Why Genetically Modified Foods Should Be Labeled

by jeeg 9. October 2013 01:19
Did you know that you have been enrolled in the largest research study ever conducted in the United States but you never signed a consent form or agreed to participate? That's because since 1996 you -- and basically everyone you know -- have been eating genetically modified foods. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs), also known as genetically modified or engineered foods, are created by forcing a piece of DNA from a totally different species, such as bacteria or viruses, into the DNA of... [More]

Weighing Surgeries in Light of a Breast Cancer Gene

by jeeg 9. October 2013 01:08
When Tracy Dunbrook, a bioethicist in Sherman, Conn., tested positive for the BRCA gene mutation, she was told she had a 40 to 60 percent chance of developing ovarian cancer in her lifetime. Doctors advised her to have her ovaries removed. She considered going further and having a hysterectomy, in which her uterus would be removed, but in the end opted for the standard of care: a procedure known as risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy (RRSO), removal of her ovaries and fallopian tubes. Fiv... [More]
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