Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Death knell for ‘Enviropig’

Death knell may sound for ‘Enviropigs’
Rod Nickel
April 03, 2012

Group pulls funding, genetically modified animals may be euthanized

Pigs that might have become the world’s first genetically modified animals approved for human consumption may instead face an untimely end, as key backers of Canada’s “Enviropig” project withdrew their support for the controversial engineered animal.

Scientists at the University of Guelph, 90 km west of Toronto, bred the first GMO pig that was developed to address an environmental problem in 1999. The animal - known as Enviropig - digests its feed more efficiently than naturally bred pigs, resulting in waste that may cause less environmental damage to lakes and rivers.

The project has produced eight generations of Enviropigs, including the current herd of 16 animals. But they may be the last of their kind, after Ontario Pork - an association of hog farmers in the eastern Canadian province - yanked their funding last month.

[Read More…]

Friday, January 13, 2012

Mozzies may have reproduced

Cayman’s GM mozzies may have reproduced
Cayman News Service
January 12, 2012

The genetically modified mosquitoes released in the Cayman Islands over a year ago as part of a research study on the eradication of dengue fever by the UK-based company Oxitec could have reproduced and mixed in with the local population. According to a redacted document released to GeneWatch UK following a freedom of information request in Britain, the genetically modified pests, which the manufacturer described as sterile, did produce offspring around 15 percent of which survived. During the study the GM mozzies were fed cat food containing chicken contaminated with low levels of tetracycline, which allowed the mosquitoes to reproduce with their offspring surviving to adulthood.

The international charity, Friends of the Earth, has accused the company of trying tried to hide the evidence that its technology failed to prevent reproduction.

The release of the genetically modified mosquitoes in the Cayman Islands, where there are no biosafety laws or regulations, caught the international scientific community and most residents by surprise. The release took place in East End.

The goal of Oxitec’s research was to prevent the progeny of GM mosquitoes from surviving in the wild, thereby reducing mosquito populations. However, the activist group said that failure to prevent reproduction in the presence of low levels of tetracycline is cause for concern, raising the spectre of genetically modified mosquitoes surviving and breeding, producing adult populations of GM mosquitoes, including GM females which can bite and transmit disease.

[Read More…]

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Kerala says NO

Government no to GM crops in Kerala
By Reema Narendran
The New Indian Express
January 09, 2012

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Now it is official. The Oommen Chandy Government will not permit any trials on genetically modified (GM) crops in the state. What is more, it has also been stated that even research on GM will not be permitted within the boundaries of the state.

A communication from the Agriculture Department (No.35564/Ag1/11/AD) to the city-based NGO Thanal has said that the State Government’s stand regarding this has already been conveyed to the Union Government.

While the previous LDF Government had categorically stated that Kerala would be a GM-free state, this could be the first written document from the present government saying the GM ban would continue to be in place. Until now, there had only been a few vague statements from officials on this issue.

[Read More…]

Friday, January 6, 2012

Chimera monkeys

Chimera monkeys born in US
The Telegraph
January 05, 2012

The world’s first chimeric monkeys have been created in the US, with researchers fusing cells from up to six different embryos

Until now, rodents have been the primary creatures used to make chimeras, a lab animal produced by combining two or more fertilised eggs or early embryos together.

Scientists have long been able to create “knockout” mice with certain genes deleted in order to study a host of ailments and remedies, including obesity, heart disease, anxiety, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.

Attempts to do the same with more complicated primates have failed in the past, but scientists in the western US state of Oregon succeeded by altering the method used to make mice.

[Read More…]

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Mosquito release delayed

Release of genetically altered mosquitoes delayed
By Kevin Wadlow
January 04, 2012

Confusion over government permits will delay the planned release of genetically altered mosquitoes in Key West for several months.

The pilot program outlined by the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District would release a test batch of about 5,000 to 10,000 mosquitoes — the Aedes aegypti species that carries dengue fever — that have been specifically bred to produce offspring that die young.

Once planned for January, any release now will can occur no sooner than “late spring,” said district Executive Director Michael Doyle.

In theory, the released male bugs with faulty breeding genes will compete with natural mosquitoes, sharply reducing the overall production of future generations. Male mosquitoes do not bite.

An international environmental group, Friends of the Earth, this month issued statements that urge a more skeptical view of what would be “the first-ever release of genetically engineered mosquitoes in the U.S.”

Doyle said in an e-mail that the Friends of Earth campaign does not affect estimated time of release.

The delay mostly can be blamed on uncertainty over which state and federal agencies should review the project. Permit approval “appeared imminent several months ago,” he said.

[Read More…]

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