February 23, 2013 |
Consumers who believe they have a right to know whether their food contains genetically modified ingredients are pressing lawmakers, regulators and voters to require labels on altered foods. But even if they succeed, experts say there's no guarantee that labels identifying genetically engineered foods would ever appear on packages. "People are usually surprised to learn that there is no legal right to know," said Michael Rodemeyer, an expert on biotechnology policy at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 21, 2013 |
SACRAMENTO-- Delving into an area once reserved for science fiction, state Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) has introduced legislation that would prohibit the unauthorized collection, analysis or transfer of an individual's genetic information. The California Genetic Information Privacy Act, SB 222, is in response to research that is expected to make genomic sequencing and testing affordable to the public and routinely used in medical care, Padilla said. “I strongly support and believe in the promise of genomic research to improve public health and our quality of life," said Padilla.
February 14, 2013 |
About 30,000 years ago, a tiny mutation arose in a gene known as EDAR and began to spread rapidly in central China, eventually becoming common in the region. This week, scientists at Harvard University offered some explanations for why the EDAR mutation may have been so successful - by observing how it affects mice, animals long used in disease research but never before pressed into service for the study of human evolution. The small change, substituting one chemical letter of DNA for another, may have helped humans in Asia survive crippling heat and humidity by endowing them with extra sweat glands, the scientists reported Thursday in the journal Cell.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 22, 2013
Before Carl R. Woese, science divided the living world into two types of organisms: bacteria and everything else. But the University of Illinois professor and colleagues in the 1970s discovered that microbes now called archaea look like bacteria but genetically are as different from bacteria as people and plants are. The discovery added archaea as a third domain of living things and helped pioneer the use of genetic sequences. Woese died at his home in Urbana, Ill., on Dec. 30 from pancreatic cancer, the university announced.
December 21, 2012 |
After more than a decade in regulatory limbo, genetically engineered Atlantic salmon that grow faster than their naturally born counterparts moved closer to American plates, with the publication Friday of a government report that found the fish wouldn't hurt the environment and would be safe to eat. The draft report, released by the Food and Drug Administration after months of unexplained delay, was greeted with cheers by members of the biotech community...
December 20, 2012 |
Will Adam Lanza's genes help answer the incomprehensible? Connecticut's chief medical examiner, Dr. H. Wayne Carver II, has said that he has asked a geneticist at the University of Connecticut to contribute to the investigation of Lanza , the 20-year-old who last week shot 20 children and six adults at a school in Newtown, Conn., and then turned the gun on himself as police arrived. Hope of peering into Lanza's state of mind as he prepared his final act has been dashed by the assailant's apparent destruction of his computer's hard drive.
December 10, 2012 |
Human DNA contains myriad individual differences that influence a host of traits, be they eye color or the ability to digest milk. Now a study shows that most of those tiny genetic variations are rare - and they arose in the very recent history of our species. Joshua Akey, a geneticist at the University of Washington in Seattle, led a consortium of scientists who examined the DNA of 4,298 European Americans and 2,217 African Americans. Limiting their analysis to the parts of the genome that contain instructions for making proteins, the study authors found more than 1 million sites where the building blocks of DNA - the nucleotides known by the letters A, C, G and T - varied in at least one of the subjects.
December 9, 2012 |
MT. GERIZIM, West Bank - When Ben Yehuda Altif got engaged to his first cousin Mazal, there was no problem winning the blessing of their families or the Samaritan high priest, who leads their ancient Israelite sect. Marriage between cousins is common in the religious community. But there was still an obstacle. Like many Samaritan couples today, the pair had to pass a premarital genetic screening to predict the likelihood of having healthy children. Without the green light from doctors, the marriage would be off. "Doctors said OK, and now we have a healthy, handsome boy," said Altif, 33, reaching for his wife's cellphone to show off pictures of their son. Samaritans, who trace their roots back about 2,700 years, are best known for clinging to strict biblical traditions that have largely disappeared, including animal sacrifice, isolation of menstruating women and, until recently, a ban on marrying outsiders.
November 7, 2012 |
SACRAMENTO -- Supporters of Proposition 37, the genetically engineered food labeling initiative, are calling their defeat at the polls a surmountable setback. They're vowing to take the fight for consumers' right to know what's in their food to an initiative campaign in Washington state next year and Oregon the year after that. Proponents, a coalition of organic farmers, retailers and consumer groups, also plan to try again to pass legislation in Vermont and Connecticut and pressure the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a labeling regulation.
November 7, 2012 |
California voters roundly defeated Proposition 37, the genetically engineered foods labeling initiative, after being subjected to a prolonged barrage of negative television advertisements and criticism from newspaper editorial boards. With 100% of California precincts reporting, the ballot measure, backed by the organic foods industry and consumer groups, went down, opposed by 53.1% of voters and supported by 46.9%. "California voters clearly saw through Proposition 37 and rejected higher food costs, more lawsuits and more bureaucracy," said Henry I. Miller, a research fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution think tank and a key spokesman for the No campaign on its television spots.