Thursday, May 26, 2005

Boston, Biological Weapons and the New Arms Race

Boston-based B-Roll FIlms has produced a 15 minute short video (link to QT movie) about the struggle against one Biolab. If you're not keeping up with what's going on in bioweapons defense in the US, the new "Manhattan Project" called for by Republican Senator Bill Frist, it's troubling to say the least.
from the B-Roll Site:
Boston, Biological Weapons and the New Arms Race - A Bio-Safe Level 4 (BSL4) Laboratory has been approved for the Roxbury/South End neighborhoods of Boston.  This piece reviews the local, national and international concerns of building this type of laboratory. This may be the single biggest issue of our time - one that the government would rather have us ignore. This project is in under review and in progress at this time.

posted by ryan griffis  # 9:41 PM 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, May 21, 2005

BioDolls

Elio Caccavale and bioethicist Richard Ashcroft's myBio dolls:
"A collection of educational dolls exploring the emergence of biological hybrids in biotechnologies, and our moral, social, cultural and personal responses to the strange and different in human biology and also 'transhuman' creatures."

posted by ryan griffis  # 12:16 PM 0 comments links to this post

Friday, May 20, 2005

New Seed Laws Limit Local Action vs. GMOs

Seed companies, pharmaceutical makers and biotechnology groups are pushing legislators to limit oversight of the experimental crops designed to resist disease and insects or to produce chemicals and enzymes for scientific research. But environmentalists and food and beverage producers are urging caution, warning lawmakers of unknown economic and health risks of genetically engineered crops that could cross-pollinate with regular plants.

posted by ryan griffis  # 5:17 PM 0 comments links to this post

Bill to Protect California Farmers from Genetic Contamination

The Assembly Judiciary Committee today passed on a vote of 6-2 the Food Integrity and Farmer Protection Act, AB 984 (John Laird, D-Santa Cruz). Under this landmark legislation, California farmers, handlers and food processors will not have to suffer the legal and financial liability caused by the inadvertent contamination of crops by genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

posted by ryan griffis  # 5:15 PM 0 comments links to this post

Canada Denies Visa for Africa's Top Biosafety Negotiator

from the: ETCgroup

Montreal's status as UN's biodiversity headquarters is jeopardized

Ottawa - In a breathtaking display of political interference, the Canadian government has blocked entry of Africa's chief negotiator for the Cartagena (biosafety) Protocol, who was scheduled to attend UN meetings beginning next week in Montreal. The Protocol is the United Nations treaty that governs the international movement of genetically modified (GM) organisms.

posted by ryan griffis  # 5:12 PM 0 comments links to this post

Message from Ignacio Chapela

I am proud to contact you with extraordinary news.  Yesterday afternoon, the Dean of the College of Natural Resources at Berkeley communicated to me the intention of our new Chancellor to grant tenure to my position at Berkeley.
This decision is a clear message of vindication not only of myself, but also of the innumerable individual and collective efforts put into this process by all of you.  You have generously added your voices to the many questions raised around my tenure review and demanded a process free of conflict of interest or undue influence, and for this I am thankful.  I foresee no official recognition of your presence, but you should know that it was precisely that which in the end achieved this result.
As happened two years ago, when I received an important communication once I had decided to bring my office out into the street in front of California Hall, the tenure decision reached me while in the midst of another street intervention seeking to cast public light upon the newest incarnation of the bioengineering edifice.  A small number of us have been using our bicycles all week to circulate messages about the hull of the bioengineering building on the Berkeley campus, which will soon reach completion (see http://www.pulseofscience.org).
The cycling has been difficult at times, not least because of highly unseasonable rain in Berkeley, but this has not stopped us from continuing to be present, in the measure that we can, to represent our positions in the face of the biotech dream.

posted by ryan griffis  # 5:10 PM 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, May 14, 2005

How to Farm Stem Cells Without Losing Your Soul

In a bit of diplomacy that may satisfy both the scientists and the theologians, Hurlbut advocates genetically altering cloned embryos so, like a teratoma, they wouldn't have the DNA necessary to become viable humans. For the first few days of existence, they would grow normally and produce stem cells, but then die when a critical embryonic component - say, a placenta - failed to emerge.

posted by ryan griffis  # 12:26 PM 0 comments links to this post

DNA Study Yields Clues on First Migration of Early Humans

By studying the DNA of an ancient people in Malaysia, a team of geneticists says it has illuminated many aspects of how modern humans migrated from Africa.

posted by ryan griffis  # 11:57 AM 0 comments links to this post

DNA Hacking

A post from the Make Blog:
DNA Hack is website for Amateur Genetic Engineering. The site has tons of resources, supplies, how-tos and this interesting snippet from Michael Schrage in the June 2003 Technology Review: "Maybe bathtub biotech will be the next to capture the mindshare of the techie tinkerers. Maybe bioinformatics and the diffusion of genetic engineering technologies will inspire a new generation of bio-hackers. Certainly the technologies are there for those inclinded to genetically edit their plants or pets. Maybe a mouse or E. coli genome becomes the next operating system for hobbyists to profitably twiddle. Perhaps this decade will bring a Linus Torvalds or Bill Gates of bio-hackerdom -- a hobbyist-turned-entrepreneur who can simultaneously innovate and market his or her DNA-driven ideas."
See also: Biotech Hobbyist
But beware of the FBI

posted by ryan griffis  # 11:47 AM 0 comments links to this post

Here we go...

DNA test aims to predict sporting aptitude

posted by ryan griffis  # 11:47 AM 0 comments links to this post

Day of reckoning for stem cell research nears

There is nothing controversial in and of itself about research on stem cells, which promise wondrous breakthroughs in treating thousands of diseases because of their potential to grow into many different kinds of tissue. Already, they are being used to create skin grafts, repair stricken hearts and generate bone marrow for patients with lymphoma and leukemia. The disagreements arise when you start talking about where those cells come from.

posted by ryan griffis  # 11:16 AM 0 comments links to this post

Zambia builds high-tech lab to detect GM food imports

Michelle Nganga, head of research and development at NISIR told Times of Zambia last week (6 May) the new laboratory is being built to safeguard Zambians' health and maintain a sustainable environment.

posted by ryan griffis  # 11:07 AM 0 comments links to this post

Friday, May 13, 2005

more on genetic determinism & sexual identity

Genes behind transsexualism possibly found

posted by ryan griffis  # 11:40 PM 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, May 08, 2005

America Creates a Virtual Monopoly in Bio-Technologies

According to all observers, it is a given that the United States will carve the lion's share of this strategic market out for itself. A comparative study by EuropaBio, the European Association of Biotech Industries, made public Wednesday, April 13, at the BioVision salon in Lyon, highlighted the lead the Americans have taken in this domain. From a single and even restrictive definition of the reality covered by the term "biotech" - incubators, consultants, certain suppliers of medical material have been excluded from the field - it first of all seems that Europe's backwardness is not due to any deficiency in entrepreneurial spirit: in 2003, 1,975 biotech companies were recorded in the European Union, versus 1,830 in the United States. These companies are located mostly in Great Britain (455) and in Germany (525), but France (225), Sweden (108) and Switzerland (98) occupy significant positions.

posted by ryan griffis  # 2:08 PM 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, May 07, 2005

1960s Reports on Chemical, Biological, Psychological and Other Weapons

Released by the Air Force circa 1997 due to a Freedom of Information Act request, these documents are being seen by the general public for the first time. They consist of the title pages and (in most cases) tables of contents for Air Force Armament Laboratory reports on nerve gas, bioweapons, anti-crop chemicals, fire-bombs, and other WMDs. This front matter is unclassified, but the bodies of the reports remain highly classified and - in the post-9/11 era - aren't likely to see the light of day. downloadable documents from the Memory Hole.

posted by ryan griffis  # 1:56 PM 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

GM soybeans stop hair loss

target=_blank>The team fed shaven mice with one-1000th milligram of
novokinin per one gramme of their body weight and found that their hair
grew back faster.

Great. Just what we need: "Bald Americans
for GMOs"

posted by ryan griffis  # 10:55 PM 0 comments links to this post

Questions surround stem cell financing

href="http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2005/05/04/
BAGQHCJIO511.DTL" target=_blank>The suit claims Prop. 71, which was
approved by 59 percent of the voters last November, illegally placed
state funds in the hands of a board that is not under state control and
management. That board is the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee,
whose 29 members were appointed by the state's top elected officials
and University of California chancellors; it governs the stem cell
agency, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

posted by ryan griffis  # 10:50 PM 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Part human, part animal: research raises concerns

href="http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/ethics/2005-04-30-chimera-
research_x.htm" target=_blank>The National Academies, in a recent
report, said that mixing human and animal cells could be vital to
advancing medicine. But the academies recommends that each proposed
experiment be first reviewed by an ethics board created at each
research institution. It also proposed banning the mixing human
embryonic stem cells with monkey and other primate embryos.

I
guess they saw Planet of the Apes...

posted by ryan griffis  # 3:30 PM 0 comments links to this post

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