Association for Molecular Pathology, cancer, cures, diseases, DNA, Elite, genes, Genetics, greed, Human Genome Project, Humans, money, Myriad Genetics, Patent, research, Science, Supreme Court, United States Patent and Trademark Office
Imagine you could be the key to curing a disease or reducing the risk of suffering from a debilitating ailment for millions of people. Then imagine that you couldn’t help find that cure, because the gene inside you that holds the secret is owned by a company that won’t allow for testing or further research without a significant payment.
No need to imagine. It has already happened.
DNA research has evolved rapidly since scientists learned we could map it. Your DNA is unique to you and only you. Well, kind of. The part that is unique to you is limited to small variations on the genes, amounting to approximately less than 1% of your DNA. The rest of it is shared with every other human being past, present and future. In April 2003, scientists identified the genetic code we all share. Called The Human Genome Project, they successfully mapped the genetic makeup of every human being that has ever existed. And it was cool.
The possibilities of having this data codified are endless. Great progress has been made in the past ten years understanding certain cancers and genetic diseases, not to mention the fortune companies can make on patenting them.
Yes, our genes are registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
When scientists sequence a gene, they make what is called a synthetic copy. It’s chemically the same and has the same properties that were created by nature. This has been going on for decades and is how we got to where we are with DNA science today. Being able to isolate this product of nature gives scientists the foundation to discover what makes us tick, and what makes us sick.
If they can afford the license, that is.
Patent law prohibits patenting anything that is considered a natural occurrence. While everyone would agree that there is nothing more natural than our cellular structure, some do argue that any physical (i.e., synthetic) copies of our genes aren’t “natural” and are, instead, a product of human ingenuity. Products can be patented. This is what Myriad Genetics has argued before the Supreme Court in The Association for Molecular Pathology vs. Myriad Genetics, Inc. Myriad owns the patent to the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, having been the first to isolate them. Mutations in these two genes have been identified as a key indicator to the risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers.
Angelina Jolie recently discussed her family history of breast cancer, as well as her decision to have a double mastectomy to reduce her risk in a New York Times op-ed. In it she indicated that she got tested for the BRCA1 gene. Myriad also owns the test for the gene, which costs thousands of dollars. They can charge whatever price they want, because no one else is allowed to test for it without going through them. In fact, nothing related to these two genes, including additional research, can be done without first going through Myriad.
Most women aren’t Angelina Jolie and most cannot afford thousands of dollars to determine their risk. Having such a barrier to access could have tremendous ramifications, considering that many populations, such as Eastern European women and African-American women, have a significantly high incidence of breast cancer, with black women having a 60% higher death rate.
It is unknown if a less expensive test could be developed. Because of Myriad’s patent, clinics and researchers would have to pay a license fee to even look into the possibility of developing a cheaper alternative. That’s assuming that Myriad would allow them to do the research at all.
It is estimated that almost 40% of human genes are patented. Many in the scientific community believe in, and understand the value of, collaborative efforts in the name of science. Still, the only reason to patent anything is to protect any future financial benefit. It is more than unsettling to know that the very building blocks of human life could be in the hands of a company that will only make it available to those most able to pay.
Edward R. Murrow asked Jonas Salk, the man who created the polio vaccine, who owned the patent to his life changing discovery. Mr. Salk famously replied, “Well, the people, I would say. There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?”
This month the Supreme Court will let us know the answer.
Atmosphere, carbon dioxide, climate change, climate crisis, consumers, Dangerous, environment, fossil fuels, global, Global Warming, Hawaii, History, Humans, Mauna Loa, Mauna Loa Observatory, Records, world-wide
Earth’s atmosphere is entering a new era. A mountaintop research station that has been tracking carbon dioxide for more than 50 years says the level of that gas in our air has reached a milestone: 400 parts per million.
That number is one of the clearest measures of how human beings are changing the planet. It shows how much carbon we have put into the air from burning fossil fuels — and that carbon dioxide drives global warming.
This measurement comes from Mauna Loa, Hawaii, a remote volcano where the air is largely free of local influences.
Clouded Leopards Declared Extinct in Taiwan –
Take a good look at this animal, because you will never see one in the wild thanks to humanity’s destruction of the species and their natural habitat! Very sad and happening all too frequently these days. There are two left at the zoo there! That’s it.
Attorneys at Center for Food Safety (CFS) filed a lawsuit on behalf of CFS, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) and seven other U.S. food safety, agriculture, public health and environmental groups to compel the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to respond to the groups’ three year-old petition which calls for immediate withdrawal of FDA’s approval of arsenic-containing compounds as feed additives for food animals. Filed the same day Consumer Reports released an alarming study on antibiotic resistance in turkey, the lawsuit highlights yet another gaping hole in FDA oversight of animal feed additives.
Arsenic is commonly added to poultry feed for the FDA-approved purposes of inducing faster weight gain on less feed, and creating the perceived appearance of a healthy color in meat from chickens, turkeys and hogs. Yet new studies increasingly link these practices to serious human health problems. The lawsuit filed last week seeks to force the FDA to fulfill its mandate to better protect the public from arsenic. The 2009 petition presented abundant science to FDA that organic arsenic compounds—like those added to animal feed—are directly toxic to animals and humans, but also that they convert to cancer-causing, inorganic arsenic inside of chickens, in manure-treated soil and in humans. Additional testing since submission of the 2009 petition demonstrates even greater cause for public concern and therefore greater urgency meriting FDA’s prompt attention.
“FDA could easily and immediately fix the problem,” said Paige Tomaselli, senior staff attorney with CFS, “but instead puts its head in the sand. We can only conclude the FDA is catering to the companies that continue to sell products containing arsenic that ends up in our food supply.”
“FDA leadership is asleep at the switch, if not turning a blind eye to public health,” said David Wallinga, MD, a physician with the IATP. “Seven years ago, IATP blew the whistle on FDA’s indifference to arsenic being needlessly fed to chickens and turkeys. More than a decade ago, we sounded the alarm on how FDA let the routine feeding of drugs to chickens and turkeys help ensure that Americans would eat meat often contaminated with bacteria resistant to multiple antibiotics. We are filing suit because nothing much has changed.”
Read IATP’s 2006 full report, Playing Chicken: Avoiding Arsenic in Your Meat.
First approved as animal feed additives in the 1940s, arsenic-containing compounds remain legal for use in U.S. chicken, turkey and swine production. They were never approved as safe for animal feed in the European Union, Japan and many other countries.
Substantial evidence confirming the serious public health risks of using arsenic as a feed additive was provided as part of the 2009 petition to the FDA.
Since 2009, this evidence has continued to grow, yet the FDA still fails to respond to the 2009 petition:
While these efforts are a step in the right direction, they are far from the comprehensive approach that is necessary under the law to protect public health. For example, without an FDA ban in place, Alpharma is free to begin marketing Roxarsone at any time.
Organizations participating in the lawsuit include: Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Environmental Health, Center for Food Safety, Food Animal Concerns Trust, Food & Water Watch, Health Care Without Harm, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility and San Francisco Bay Area Physicians for Social Responsibility.
2012, Atlantic Ocean, burning, carbon dioxide, climate change, CO2, destruction, East Coast, environmental catastrophe, environmental disaster, fossil fuels, Global Warming, Gulf of Maine, high, History, Huffington Post, Human, IPCC, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, oceans, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, record, rise, sea levels, Sea surface temperature, water temperature
NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) has reported that the U.S. east coast sea surface temperatures had the warmest year in 2012 in the past 150 years.
The researchers analyzed temperatures between Cape Hatteras, N.C. and the Gulf of Maine using satellite and ship-board measurements. They found that the average sea surface temperature reached 57.2 F (14 C) in 2012, which beat the previous highest record set in 1951.
“2012′s temperature rise also marked the largest single-year increase since records began in 1854 and one of only five times that average temperatures have jumped by more than 1.8 F (1 C),” writes the Huffington Post.
“Changes in ocean temperatures and the timing and strength of spring and fall plankton blooms could affect the biological clocks of many marine species, which spawn at specific times of the year based on environmental cues like water temperature,” Kevin Friedland, a scientist in the NEFSC Ecosystem Assessment Program, said in a press statement.
The Huffington Post shares:
Research has shown that rising ocean temperatures as a result of climate change may also pose a threat to the ocean’s single-celled phytoplankton, such as algae. They are not only the foundation of the marine food chain, Climate Central explains, but they also “consume about half of the carbon dioxide that enters the atmosphere.”
Scientists aren’t certain of the extent to which rising temperatures will impact these organisms, or how quickly they will be able to adapt, but slowed phytoplankton growth could mean more CO2 remaining in the atmosphere.
Atmospheric CO2 concentrations are at their highest level in human history and continue to rise.
“It’s yet another reason to be very seriously concerned about the amount of carbon dioxide that is in the atmosphere now and the additional amount we continue to put out,” NOAA chief Jane Lubchenco told the Associated Press in 2012. “It is going to be a long time before we can stabilize and turn around the direction of change simply because it’s a big atmosphere and it’s a big ocean.”
As we’ve previously reported, new research from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research has found that the global rise in sea level is happening 60% faster than the projections by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
“Results show that global temperature continues to increase in very good agreement with the best estimates of the IPCC,” the authors of the new study write. “The rate of sea level rise of the past decades, on the other hand, is greater than projected by the IPCC models. This suggests that IPCC sea level projections for the future may also be biased low.”
The study’s lead author, Sefan Rahmstorf, of the Potsdam (Germany) Institute for Climate Impact Research shares:
It contrast to the physics of global warming itself, sea level rise is much more complex. To improve future projections it is very important to keep track of how well past projections match observational data. The new findings highlight that the IPCC is far from being alarmist, and in fact in some cases rather underestimates possible risks.
Wondering how different the two projections are? The IPCC projected that sea level rise is happening at the rate of 2mm per year, whereas the new research estimates that sea levels are rising at an average rate of 3.2mm a year. What’s more, these findings don’t even account for the ice flowing into the sea from Greenland and Antarctica.
A committee of the National Academy of Sciences’ National Research Council released a report today that outlines problems with the Environmental Protection Agency’s oversight of dangerous pesticides that are hurting endangered species across the country. The report comes when the EPA is decades behind in assessing the effects of hundreds of chemicals on endangered wildlife.
“This report should jump-start a major reform of the EPA’s deeply flawed approach to approving powerful pesticides,” said Jonathan Evans, toxics and endangered species campaign director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The agency urgently needs to reform the pesticide review process and truly protect rare wildlife and people’s health.”
The report examines how the EPA and federal wildlife agencies — the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service — assess the harmful impacts of pesticides on the nation’s endangered species, and how to better protect endangered species from harmful chemicals. It finds that the EPA has not relied on the best scientific information available; has not effectively coordinated with expert wildlife agencies; and has not adequately analyzed the sub-lethal, indirect and cumulative effects of pesticides. The report recommends methods for addressing these problems.
arrests, cancer, cancer-causing, Catholic, CD Corp., citizens, Crystalline Silica, Dan Nisbit, environmental catastrophe, environmental disaster, frack sand mining, greed, Minnesota, Mississippi River, Police, Protest, Sand Fracking, silica sand, Silicosis, Winona
Officers arrested 19 people at the city’s commercial dock after protesters were asked multiple times to leave the private property. Police then responded to a sand processing plant on Winona’s west end, where another 16 people were arrested, the Winona Daily News reported. Winona Catholic Workers organized the protest. Protesters say their goal was to halt business operations at each site.
Dan Nisbit, owner of CD Corp., which leases the commercial dock, says the protest created a distraction for workers and temporarily slowed operations at the facility.
“Obstructing business isn’t the right way to go about things,” Nisbit said.
Frack sand is used by oil and gas drilling companies. Opponents of frack sand mining have raised environmental concerns.
Monday’s protest was part of an annual celebration of the regional Catholic Worker community. Volunteers from Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Michigan and other states in the Midwest traveled to Winona to participate.
“As Catholic Workers living with the poor and marginalize, we come to this land to prevent the desecration of this land and the health of this community,” they wrote in a statement Sunday evening. “We declare Monday to be a moratorium of business as usual at the sites of production of silica sand to eliminate a necessary component of fracking.”
Catholic Workers and others in the Winona area have protested the industry for more than a year. They have blocked a rail loading terminal, demonstrated at the steps of the Winona City Hall prior to a city council meeting on frack sand regulations, and held other rallies.
During one rally at city hall in May 2012, a protester was cited for littering after he threw a handful of frack sand on the front steps.
Information from: Winona Daily News
Note: Dan Nisbit stated that “Obstructing business isn’t the right way to go about things,” yet he continues to ruin the environment and the safety of animals and humans including his own workers?! Hypocrite!!
Let Dan Nisbit know what you think of him and his environmentally destructive and human Silicosis and cancer-causing business:
CD Corp. of Winona – Address: 978 Riverview Dr. Winona, MN 55987. Telephone: (507) 454-5421. Fax: (507) 454-6230. EMAIL Dan Nisbit: DNisbit@rconnect.com