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Now, in a paper to be published in the journal Science, University of Rochester biologist John Jaenike and colleagues document a clear example of a new mechanism for evolution. In previous well documented cases of evolution, traits that increase an animal's ability to survive and reproduce are conferred by favorable genes, which the animal passes on to its offspring. Jaenike's team has chronicled a striking example of a bacteria infecting an animal, giving the animal a reproductive advantage, and being passed from mother to children. This symbiotic relationship between host animal and bacteria gives the host animal a readymade defense against a hazard in its environment and thus has spread through the population by natural selection, the way a favorable gene would.

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News reports that UC Berkeley and Stanford University are collaborating on a project to build a biotechnology resource called BIOFAB. This stands for International Open Facility Advancing Biotechnology. (IOFAB?) I guess the missing B stands for BYOB, or “Bring Your Own B.” What’s so fabulous about BIOFAB?

Well, genetic engineering requires all sorts of tools. There are the various parts of genes that you need, from the promoter sequence, to the terminator sequence, enhancers, repressors, not to mention the functional part of the gene itself. But then you also need the tools to get it into your target organism… and the list goes on. It takes time, research, and least of all piles of $$$ to get all these parts together to make it all work. It’s no small wonder that the only companies to successfully launch GE crops are the big ones.



re: fortune tellers in michigan:

i guess paul here, who i happen to know has a police record for pickpocketing back in bermuda, better stay out of michigan. :)

Bio not so fabulous. No mention of the millions or billions the Monsantos of the world spend on marketing to convince us of the necessity of the latest GMO gadget.

So now maybe we will have cheaper things that we don't need. Of the thousands of various seeds for all sorts of plants that existed a century ago, only a handful are used in industrial agriculture today, but we can buy tomatoes that are almost as hard as apples and that last forever in the frig.

Hurrah for progress. Soon two handfuls will be available and we will be responsible for one of the great extinctions: the plant seed extinction.

Your ignorance on this topic is absolutely astounding.

Norm, your arrogance and naivety on this subject are absolutely astounding. For that matter, what did I say that was wrong?

But to your credit you did put up my links to Vandana Shiva.

Of the thousands of various seeds for all sorts of plants that existed a century ago, only a handful are used in industrial agriculture today

That has nothing to do with genetic engineering. When you genetically engineer a plant you are adding something new, not subtracting from what's there. It's like saying if I use traditional breeding to form a new plant that I'm responsible for the fact that fewer seeds are used than a century ago. It has nothing to do with the method for getting the seed.

One of the objections to genetic engineering is that only the corporate world had access to it. This helps address that problem.

Big-Daddy hasn't weighed in on this article. It would be interesting to hear his opinion on it.

Ask and ye shall receive.

I'm glad that the project is being funded by the NSF and not some corporate entity. I think it's exciting research and I anxiously await its findings. I really don't see this as part of the corporate effort to wear down resistance to GMOs so that corporations can patent the food supply, which has been my concern with the efforts of Monsanto & Syngenta, et al. I see this as more akin to stem cell research. Of course there's potential for abuse, but the people involved here seem about as responsible as we could realistically hope for.

There may be hope for you after all. :)

So far the Monsantos etc. have used GMO's to replace other seeds, not to "complement" them. Monsanto itself has bought up independent seed companies by the dozens, particularly in the U.S. and the Indian sub-continent.

The project "aims to produce thousands of free, standardized DNA parts to shorten the development time and lower the cost of synthetic biology for academic or biotech laboratories." and help small start-ups. Good luck given the current industry structure.

Monsanto can just buy them up when it wants to, but it will probably use the free-stuff with companies it already owns.

Even with these free elements, the clear idea is to replace, not add to, the seeds available for use.

Does it really matter? Corn and soybeans are essentially man-made (through thousands of years of selective breeding) anyway. Pretty sure if man were to disappear tomorrow, corn and soybeans would disappear shortly thereafter.

Yes, it matters. There are thousands of plants that were once used for food but now only exist in seed banks, particularly the U.S. France, and Norway.

In France because of the colonial period when scientists collected all they could; in Norway because a tunnel and galleries were dug into a mountain to store unused species.

Perhaps Germany also has some because Alexander Von Humbolt(you know, the Humbolt current)collected all he could, but perhaps much was destroyed during WWII.

Soy and corn are very likely to survive after the demise of man.

My main points are that GMO's are unnecessary, do nothing to respond to the food crisis in many countries, and are principally a product of marketing. Maybe there are other points that I forget at the moment.

My main points are that GMO's are unnecessary, do nothing to respond to the food crisis in many countries, and are principally a product of marketing. Maybe there are other points that I forget at the moment.

So you must believe that traditional plant breeding is also unnecessary since genetic engineering, in addition to transgenic changes, makes the same kinds of changes to plants that traditional breeding does. GE techniques for example were used to help develop flood tolerant rice, which directly deals with the food crisis in many countries. You simply don't know what you're talking about.

It doesn't matter if you use traditional breeding or GE techniques, the method has nothing to do with whether the seeds are used or not. I suspect those who farm organically use only a handful of different seeds. They also bear some responsibility for the lack of diversity. They use the ones that work best in their environment.

The only thing you've got right is that seed banks are extremely important.

You seem to have so little knowledge about the subject that it is pointless to discuss it with you.


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