Tag Archive: Genetics


NHK Documentary: “The Origins of Disease – Episode 1- Cancer” Evolution’s Deadly Price

MissingSky101 MissingSky101·

 

Published on Nov 28, 2013

Nowadays, ONE IN EVERY TWO people in Japan develops cancer.
Behind the statistic is a surprising fact. Humans became prone to cancer because they evolved. That’s what the latest research has uncovered.
In Japan, cancer is now the number one cause of death.
How should we humans deal with cancer? Advanced scientific research is approaching the disease from an evolutionary perspective in an attempt to find the answer.

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By Dr. Mercola

Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) has developed a type of genetically modified (GM) wheat that may silence human genes, leading to disastrous health consequences.

Last year, University of Canterbury Professor Jack Heinemann released results from genetic research he conducted on the wheat, which showed with “no doubt” that molecules created in the wheat, which are intended to silence wheat genes to change its carbohydrate content, may match human genes and potentially silence them.

University Professor Judy Carman agreed with Heinemann’s analysis, stating in Digital Journal:1

“If this silences the same gene in us that it silences in the wheat — well, children who are born with this enzyme not working tend to die by the age of about five.”

Over 770 Pages of Potential Genetic Matches

Heinemann reported that his research revealed over 770 pages of potential matches between two GM genes in the wheat and the human genome. Over a dozen matches were “extensive and identical and sufficient to cause silencing in experimental systems,” he said.

Experts warned that eating the wheat could lead to significant changes in the way glucose and carbohydrates are stored in the human body, which could be potentially deadly for children and lead to serious illness in adults.

Since this adverse effect is extremely plausible, long-term studies are needed before the wheat is released into the environment and the human food chain – but a new review states that the risks are still not being adequately assessed.

A New ‘Breed’ of GM Crops

RNA is one of three major macromolecules, like DNA. Double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) is responsible for regulating well over one-third of human genes.

In a new risk assessment, Heinemann and colleagues explained that while all commercial GM plants are currently created through in vitro DNA modification typically to create a new protein, a “growing minority” are designed to change their RNA content in order to regulate gene expression.2

The technique, known as RNA interference or RNA knockdown, essentially turns off or “knocks down” certain genes. It was first used commercially in 1994 for the development of the Flavor Savr tomato, which was later withdrawn from the market, and has been applied in various GM crops since. As reported in The Atlantic:3

“Researchers have been using this phenomena to their advantage in the form of small, engineered RNA strands that are virtually identical to miRNA. In a technique called RNA interference, or RNA knockdown, these small bits of RNA are used to turn off, or ‘knock down,’ certain genes.

RNA knockdown was first used commercially in 1994 to create the Flavor Savr, a tomato with increased shelf life. In 2007, several research teams began reporting success at engineering plant RNA to kill insect predators, by knocking down certain genes. As reported in MIT’s Technology Review on November 5, 2007, researchers in China used RNA knockdown to make:

‘…cotton plants that silence a gene that allows cotton bollworms to process the toxin gossypol, which occurs naturally in cotton. Bollworms that eat the genetically engineered cotton can’t make their toxin-processing proteins, and they die.’

And: ‘Researchers at Monsanto and Devgen, a Belgian company, made corn plants that silence a gene essential for energy production in corn rootworms; ingestion wipes out the worms within 12 days.’ Humans and insects have a lot in common, genetically. If miRNA can in fact survive the gut then it’s entirely possible that miRNA intended to influence insect gene regulation could also affect humans.”

The Risks of GM Crops Containing dsRNA

According to Heinemann’s analysis, dsRNA-mediated silencing is becoming the basis of novel traits in GM plants, including biopesticides and altered nutritional characteristics. “Changing the nature, kind and quantity of particular regulatory-RNA molecules through genetic engineering can create biosafety risks,” the review reported,4 noting that, “we find evidence that the risks are not considered by some regulators.” They continue:

While some GMOs have been designed to make new dsRNA molecules, in other GMOs such molecules may occur as a side-effect of the genetic engineering process. Still others may make naturally-occurring dsRNA molecules in higher or lower quantities than before.

Some dsRNA molecules can have profound physiological effects on the organism that makes them. Physiological effects are the intended outcomes of exposure to dsRNA incorporated into food sources for invertebrates; biopesticides and other topically applied products, and could be the cause of off-target effects and adverse effects in non-target organisms.

A daunting outcome is raised, that each [dsRNA] formulation might have its own risks.…Production of intended dsRNA molecules may also have off-target effects due to silencing genes other than those intended. Unanticipated off-target adverse effects can be difficult to detect and they are not possible to reliably predict using bioinformatics techniques. Regulatory bodies are not adequately assessing the risks of dsRNA-producing GM products. As a result, we recommend a process to properly assess the safety of dsRNA-producing GM organisms before they are released or commercialized.”

 

Read Full ArticleHere

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By Graham Templeton on March 28, 2013 at 8:00 am

Extreme Tech

Somebody should check and make sure that Kim Dotcom hasn’t started funding any research in genetics. Maybe those guys from the Pirate Bay, too. With a paper that must send chills of fear and vindication down the spine of every internet freedom fighter, researchers from Cornell University this week presented evidence that genetic copyright is a “direct threat to genomic liberty.” Could this be the newest, most easily altruistic frontier in copyright banditry?

The study in question looked at existing patented stretches of DNA, notably in the hotly contested BRCA1 gene [1], and set about testing whether these patented sequences might pop up elsewhere due to chance or redundant function. They searched the human genome for small and large sequences patented under just a single diagnostic test, and found that these sequences existed in 689 other places.

This isn’t all that surprising. As the researchers point out, take any 15-nucleotide sequence (a ’15mer’), check it against the human genome, and you’ll always find a match somewhere else. In medicine researchers are generally selecting stretches of DNA for some sort of useful function, and evolution happens to like useful things, too; if we can’t construct a 15mer at random and find it only once in the genome, how could we possibly hope a medically useful one, one with a distinct selective advantage, will be unique? The code for several types of protein motifs, most of which are much longer than 15 nucleotides, are repeated literally thousands of times in humans. (See: Your complete DNA genome can now be sequenced from a single cell [2].)

DNA strand, over a page of TGAC base pairs [3]That certainly sounds scary, but doesn’t this all seem just a little alarmist?

On the surface, genetic copyright in just another form of the classic problem: Can we better afford to deal with the pricing that results from strong biomedical patents, or with the lack of innovations that may result from their prohibition? This is one of the main problems facing the drug industry, which sees the vast majority of new medications developed by companies that, arguably, gouge customers in their most desperate times. We’re often presented with a dichotomy — do we want poor sick people, or dead sick people?

Yet, this study represents a growing movement within biomedical research, one aimed at changing the way we treat biological products. Traditionally, one could patent “anything under the sun that is made by man”, which would seem to exclude biological patents, but American and European patent authorities accept them by the thousands.

The most obvious reason for this is money — it costs a lot more money to find and characterize a gene, find a use for it, and develop a kit to exploit that use, than it does to boil a compound out of leaf. Take away the monetary incentive to invest the money necessary to do that, and the money won’t get invested. But how much control is an unfair amount, and how much compensation is enough — especially when the products at issue exist in all of us. Lead researcher Dr. Christopher Mason claims this portends a future in which “no physician or researcher can study the DNA of [their gene of interest]… without infringing a patent,” a claim that seems at least somewhat reasonable given his findings; with such ridiculous coverage under these patents, and so many thousands of patents in the pipe…

Next page: There are more important fish to fry, such as Big Pharma gouging customers for life-saving drugs [4]

 

Read Full Article Here

 

First version of this article was originally published on 11 July, 2012


MessageToEagle.com – Scientists have made an unexpected and unsettling discovery – a large number of new and previously unseen mutations have been detected among humans.

There are those who suggest that there will soon be fantastic X-men among humans. These super earthlings do not come out of secret laboratories, as in famous blockbuster movies, but are born naturally. Other scientists are less optimistic and consider the unforeseen development can to lead to unknown changes in the human body.

This unexpected and terrifying discovery is a result of a study conducted by scientists from Cornell University (USA) and University of California.

When they examined genes of several thousands of people from around the world, it turned out that mankind has acquired over the past few years new, previously unseen mutations.

Is a new human race being born?

The scientist studied 202 genes in 14,002 people. The human genome contains some 3 billion base pairs; the scientists studied 864,000 of these pairs. While this is only a small part of the genome, the sample size of 14,002 people is one of the largest ever in a sequencing study in humans.

This project led by John Novembre of the University of California Los Angeles and Vincent Mooser of UK-based drug company GlaxoSmithKline, reports that more than 95% of variants found by sequencing 202 genes in 14,002 people were rare, and that 74% of the variants were carried by only one or two people in the study.

 

“I knew there would be rare variation but had no idea there would be so much of it!” said the senior author of the research, John Novembre, an assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and of bioinformatics at UCLA.In the study, 10,621 people had one of 12 diseases, including coronary artery disease, multiple sclerosis, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, osteoarthritis and Alzheimer’s disease; 3,381 did not have any of the diseases.

“The large sample size allows us to see patterns with more clarity than ever before,” Novembre said.

“If rare variants are like distant stars, this kind of large sample size is like having the Hubble Telescope; it’s allowing us to see more than before.

 

We see a ton of rare variation, and these rare variants more often make changes to proteins than not. In that way, this study has important implications for the genetic basis of disease in humans. It’s consistent with the idea that many diseases may be partly caused by rare variants.”

“Research carried out fifty years ago, showed that the mutant gene had only one man among a thousand, and now five people”, explained John Novembre.

What is causing the mutations?

Previously it was thought that genetic abnormalities are caused by of radiation, viruses, transposons and mutagenic chemicals, but now scientists have identified yet another factor that results in mutations – overpopulation!

Human population growth helps to explain the large number of genetic variants, the scientists said.

Mutations can cause unknown changes in the human body.

 

Read Full Article Here

 By
Waking Times

Chris Renzo, Contributing Writer
Waking Times 

American neuroscientist, Dr. Robert Sapolsky, states that there is a widespread and dangerous notion that has taken root in our dominant scientific understanding of human behavior. The notion is that we believe human behavior is genetically determined. This deterministic view of life suggests life is rooted in biology and genetics, that we are our genes, and that genes cannot be changed. This notion is used to support the view that human nature is governed by an innate self-interest, a trait we developed through evolution. This notion suggests that mental health conditions, addictions, most of our physical disease, and or violence could be explained in respect to our genetic inheritance. This is a dangerous notion because if we suppose this to be true we do not have to worry about changing the social pre-conditions that fosters social dysfunction.

Dr. Gabor Mate, a physician and addiction specialist, states that this is the “genetic argument.” It allows us the luxury of ignoring past and present historical and social factors as they relate to our modern day social ills.  Dr. Mate, Dr. Sapolsky, and others, believe that the genetic argument is a cop out.

“Most complex conditions might have a predisposition that has a genetic component, but a predisposition is not the same as a per-determination.” – Dr. Gabor Mate

Gabor Mate suggests that no condition is solely genetically determined. He understands that there is a genetic influence, but his claim is that the environment in which we live in and take part in determines, ultimately, which genes will express themselves and which will not. In support of this claim he highlighted a breast cancer study that found that for every 100 women with breast cancer, only 7 of these women will carry the breast cancer gene. And out of all the women who do have the breast cancer gene, not all of them will get breast cancer. It would seem logical then to state that the stressful and toxic environment in which we live has a greater influence over the development of breast cancer than the genetic influence itself.