The rats were fed an ordinary rat chow found to contain GMOs on PCR analysis using probes for the cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter, a gene control element in more than 80 % of commercial GM crops grown with potential health hazards predicted since 1999.
Dr Mae-Wan Ho
Researchers led by Hanaa Oraby at Egypt’s National Research Center in Cairo are not the first to look for horizontal transfer of genetically modified (GM) DNA into animal cells, but certainly among the first to do an experiment aimed at detecting it and succeeded . Horizontal gene transfer is the direct uptake of DNA (or RNA) into cells and integration of the sequence into the cell’s genome. Some of us regard horizontal gene transfer as the most serious hidden hazard of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) released into the environment ( Horizontal Gene Transfer – The Hidden Hazards of Genetic Engineering (ISIS special report). But a prevailing culture of denial by vested interests and regulators has obstructed proper investigation until very recently (see  Horizontal Transfer of GM DNA Widespread, SiS 64).
A GMO is an organism with synthetic foreign DNA gene sequences inserted into its genome in a laboratory process of artificial genetic modification that bypasses normal reproduction. Part of the foreign DNA is a control element called a promoter that is necessary for expressing the foreign genes. The most widely used is the cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV) 35S promoter (which is what enables the virus to hijack the cell for making endless copies of the virus). The CaMV 35S promoter is now in more than 80 % of all GM plants , and is the first test for the presence of GMOs in unknown samples. Read the rest of this entry »
Antibacterial resistance. You’ve heard of it. Everyone has. Hospitals are rife with it and it makes treating diseases with antibiotics next to impossible if resistance has been acquired.
…what occurs more often than mutation-derived resistance is the spread of antibiotic resistance through horizontal gene transfer, which occurs when genetic material from bacteria, such as plasmids, transposons, or DNA are passed from cell to cell. Through this mechanism, bacteria can even develop multi-drug resistance. Even when a singular antibiotic is used for more than ten days, multidrug resistance develops to structurally unrelated drugs as the resistant bacteria recruit resistance genes from other bacteria in the environment, encouraging the development of “super-bugs.”
There is also another term being bandied about: Antimicrobial resistance. So, what is the difference?
The term “antimicrobials” include all agents that act against all types of microorganisms – bacteria (antibacterial), viruses (antiviral), fungi (antifungal) and protozoa (antiprotozoal).
The term “antibacterials,” being the largest and most widely known and studied class of antimicrobials
In a nutshell, a bacterium is in a class of microbes. If something is bacterial, then it is microbial, but not necessarily the other way around.
So, when we find information that states there is a worldwide antimicrobial resistance crisis, we must understand that antimicrobial resistance encompasses “an ever-increasing range of infections caused by bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi,” not just bacterial. Read the rest of this entry »
Memo to Just Label It: fire Scott Faber, and fire yourselves
Scott Faber testifies before Congress. Wobbly drum roll, sour cymbal crash.
Faber is the executive director of Just Label It, a group that wants mandatory labeling of foods containing GMOs.
As the representative of all Americans who want labeling (really??), Faber recently testified before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, about the Pompeo Bill, which, if enacted into law, will put an end to mandatory GMO labeling everywhere in the US.
So what did Faber do? After finding 10 or 20 different ways to say the American people have a right to know what’s in their food, he figuratively went down on his knees and offered this sopping wet olive branch:
“We do not oppose genetically modified food ingredients. We think there are many promising applications of genetically modified food ingredients. I am optimistic that the promises that were made by the providers of this technology will ultimately be realized…that we will have traits that produce more nutritious food that will see significant yield.” Read the rest of this entry »