Pepsi selling Food containing Genetically Modified Products

Tests commissioned by Greenpeace, shown that Pepsico’s Doritos Corn Chips contains Genetically Modified Mon 863 and NK 603 variety corn ingredients.

Both Mon 863 and NK 603 are Monsanto’s genetically modified corn varieties. Mon 863 has a bacterial gene to give pest tolerance, while NK 603 has a bacterial gene for herbicide tolerance. An Independent analysis last year, done by the Committee for Independent Research and Information On Genetic Engineering and French National Committee For Risk Assessment of GMOs had concluded that both Mon 863 and NK 603 pose serious health impacts.

The find comes from India by Greenpeas after  an independent laboratory in germany conducted Tests on products picked up randomly from a supermarket in New Delhi.

Under existing Indian laws this is illegal practice. Every importer is required to label the products containing any GM content as well as get prior approval from the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee which falls under the environment ministry.

Surprisingly in 2007 United Arba Emirates have confirmed that 40% of the food in the UAE is genetically modified yet is sold to the end users without proper labelling.

While in Europe if an item contains more than 0.9 per cent of GMOs it is required to carry a label.

Its growing concern among many developing countries that import products from US where Monsanto dominates the food chain with its GM seeds. And it is going to create more controversy as Monsanto has aggressive plans in milk production. It already has a product on Bovine somatotropin a natural protein produced in the pituitary glands of all cattle which helps adult cows to produce milk. Monsanto’s version of Bovine somatotropin is a leading dairy animal health product in the United States and many other countries.

The 1000 Genomes Project to Study Human Genetic Variation to Support Disease Studies

The 1000 Genomes Project, led by an international research consortium, will
sequence the genomes of at least a thousand people from around the world to create the most detailed and medically useful picture to date of human genetic variation.

The international research consortium draws support from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Hinxton, England, the Beijing Genomics Institute, Shenzhen (BGI Shenzhen) in China and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The other participants include from as many as 35 Institutions such as the

Sanger Institute, BGI Shenzhen and National Human Genome Research Institute’s Large-Scale Sequencing Network,  Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard; the Washington University Genome Sequencing Centre at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis; and the Human Genome Sequencing Centre at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. European Bioinformatics Institute near Cambridge, UK, and the National Centre for Biotechnology Information in the USA

Using standard DNA sequencing technologies, the effort would likely cost more than £250 million. However, leaders of the 1000 Genomes Project expect the costs to fall to as little as £15 million by the use of new sequencing technologies.

The scale is immense. At 6 trillion DNA bases, the 1000 Genomes Project will generate 60-fold more sequence data over its three-year course than have been deposited into public DNA databases over the past 25 years.

Among the populations whose DNA will be sequenced in the 1000 Genomes Project are: Yoruba in Ibadan, Nigeria; Japanese in Tokyo; Chinese in Beijing; Utah residents with ancestry from northern and western Europe; Luhya in Webuye, Kenya; Maasai in Kinyawa, Kenya; Toscani in Italy; Gujarati Indians in Houston; Chinese in metropolitan Denver; people of Mexican ancestry in Los Angeles; and people of African ancestry in the southwestern United States.

 

Missing Evolutionary Link -how RNA progressed to share functions with proteins

Alan Lambowitz, director of The University of Texas at Austin’s Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology and Senior researcher Paul Paukstelis and his team has found the missing links in evolution of life from the simple to the complex and involvement of RNA.

By crystallizing a fungus the team of researchers were able to visualize the process of moving from RNA to RNA and proteins and then to DNA.

The crystal structure provides a snapshot of how, during evolution, protein molecules came to assist RNA molecules in their biological functions and ultimately assumed roles previously played by RNA quoted by Purdue structural biologist Barbara Golden

The study is published at January edition of Nature

Alternative for Smallpox vaccine

University of California, Irvine researchers  Philip Felgner and Huw Davies with the Department of Medicine found that the modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) produced the same antiviral response in human and animal studies as the current smallpox vaccine Dryvax.

Smallpox was declared eradicated worldwide in 1980; the last naturally occurring case in the world was in Somalia in 1977. and last I heard of it was when I watched the zombie movie I am Legend  last year,

In the study, Researchers applied blood serum samples taken from both humans and animals to microarray chips containing more than 200 vaccinia virus proteins, on which they simultaneously studied how the serum antibodies responded to all the vaccinia proteins

Details are on the UCI website press release 

UK Government-backed sociology study using Genetics raises privacy concerns

The Uk government backed UK Household Longitudinal Study to use genetics analysis of British citizens (previous post on UK BioBank) to assess impact of Genetics and lifestyle in health and medical treatment and how it affects people’s social and economic status over time, is turning into controversy. The expansion of the program to cover “nature versus nurture” questions through genetic and medical testing has raised fears among civil liberties campaigners.

More than 100,000 people, including children as young as 10, will be asked to provide saliva tests and DNA samples in a new annual survey of the lives, behaviour and beliefs of people in the United Kingdom.

I thought of how we are going to look at privacy concerns at such government backed studies, Take a look at the blog by Deepak Singh Your personal health: The internet and privacy

Even though participation is voluntary The plan has been denounced by civil rights campaigners. ‘I would not let my DNA details be taken in this way,’ said Richard Clayton, the barrister representing the rights group Liberty in its fight to prevent police from keeping DNA samples of suspects later cleared of wrongdoing as quoted on The Observer

Details of the study is available at the University Essex website of UK Household Longitudinal Study

George Bush Sings Glory to Open Source

The truth behind the new bill signed into law by President Bush on 26 December 2007, which states that the findings of NIH-funded research must be made freely available to the public within one year of publication.

But all is not Hunky dory , as more obvious once you go through the complete text of the LAW as published in Government website

And it clearly states that copyright law takes precedence over deposition into PubMed Central.

What does that mean, when you publish a research paper it usually belongs to the University or the institution that funded the project. ie if you did sign a copyright transfer agreement with your publisher or sponsor of your funding he can deny the article being published in open source website or journal.

The only surprise is that in future based on the new Law the Director of NIH can prevent publication by grant recipients in journals that don’t allow publications of articles into PubMed Central. Aha now thats not good news for scientists and many are not going to welcome it either

But how many would care NIH is not the lone sponsor of grants, and yes certainly none from healthcare/pharma companies would allow their articles be published at open source journals. that questions how helpful the law would become

But certainly Many Many thanks and Happy New Year to  SPARC and the Alliance for Taxpayer Access  for making the first step, and it sure is a big one

There is certainly going to evoke multiple responses from everyone, wired magazine says its bad news for the science publishing industry, who’ve rallied against initiatives such as PRISM, and other open source websites such as PLOS, to preserve the right of journal publishers to charge for access to federally-funded findings. that means they will find their ways

Am certainly one of those not so politically obsessed persons, and I dont know that many politically savvy lab rats. may be few of those working in stem cell research, cloning or any other controversial topics might be. but I am beginning to like Dubya more. Not a bad a move for someone more associated bad grammar

Cryptography with DNA binary strands

Biotechnological methods can be used for cryptography. DNA binary strands can be used for steganography to provide rapid encryption and decryption. It is shown that DNA steganography based on DNA binary strands is secure under the assumption that an interceptor has the same technological capabilities as sender and receiver of encrypted messages.

I thought this as an interesting article since my last post was about DNA based security

http://www.cs.mun.ca/~banzhaf/molcomp.html

AUTHORS: Andre Leier, Christoph Richter, Wolfgang Banzhaf and Hilmar Rauhe

SOURCE: BioSystems, 57 (2000) 13 – 22,Extended Manuscript from 6th DIMACS Workshop on DNA Computing, Leiden, 2000

AUTHORS: Andre Leier, Christoph Richter, Wolfgang Banzhaf and Hilmar Rauhe

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