Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Science of Taking Life Industry

The connection between current "life science" corporations and warfare should be fairly well known, DuPont, Dow, Monsanto - now major companies involved in seed production and agri-chemicals. Well, that history isn't over. According to a recent editorial, the work of many "life science" companies in the arena of biowarfare research isn't being made public, despite legal requirements for NIH funded research.


Some of the companies in question: Abbott Laboratories, BASF Plant Science, Bristol-Myers Squibb, DuPont Central Research and Development, Eli Lilly Corp., Embrex, GlaxoSmithKline, Hoffman-LaRoche, Merck & Co., Monsanto, Pfizer Inc., Schering-Plough Research Institute, and Syngenta Corp. of Switzerland.


Quoting Sunshine Project reports and University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign international law scholar Francis Boyle, the editorial drops the following info:


- The Bush Administration has called for $44 billion for biowarfare research, apparently this is more than in any other time in history


- Only 8,500 (16%) of the 52,000 workers at the top 20 US biotech firms work as NIH guidelines-compliant facilities


- the Pentagon's Chemical and Biological Defense Program has been revised (as of 2003) to include offensive strikes


- the NIH received $1.76 billion for biodefense (mostly for anthrax research), while it only received $120 million to combat influenza, which kills around 36,000 US citizens annually.

posted by ryan griffis  # 5:02 PM 0 comments links to this post

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Dark Matter of DNA

From Biology News Net:
Not so long ago, the difficult-to-sequence, highly repetitive, gene-poor DNA found in regions of chromosomes known as heterochromatin was called "junk." Like dark matter in the universe, the true nature of heterochromatin was unknown.

posted by ryan griffis  # 9:40 AM 0 comments links to this post

The FDA (or Freemarket Drug Administration)

The connections between our food and drug regulating bodies, namely the FDA, and corporate interests probably get most of us upset, as we think we know a conflict of interest when we see it. But, for investors, it's all in a day's work. Just look at this commentary on the connections between the FDA drug approval process and stock success.

posted by ryan griffis  # 9:33 AM 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Canadian Bill Would Extend Ban of Terminator Seeds

A bill introduced into the Canadian Parliament on May 31 would place Canada in line with Brazil and India in their efforts to refute the efforts of agri-biotech companies to produce patented lines of seeds that cannot reproduce. The UN has already recommended a moratorian on field testing and sale of seeds using this technology initially developed by the USDA along with multi-nationals like Monsanto.
For more on the Canadian and global effort to stop Terminator tech, see the Ban Terminator site.

posted by ryan griffis  # 4:54 PM 0 comments links to this post

If You Build It (out of DNA), They Will Come (with money)

OK, forget SynBio (that's Synthetic Biology, for newbies), now there's Constructive Biology. What is constructive biology, you ask? Well, it's a trademarked neologism that a start up named Codon Devices (Cambridge, MA based privately held company founded in 2004) is using to position themselves as the avant garde in biotech.
With the US even beginning to acknowledge the coming energy crisis, and frantically proposing solutions that would least alter overconsumption, and the bio/nano tech industry is already positioning itself as a savior.

posted by ryan griffis  # 1:06 PM 0 comments links to this post

More Pharming News

Biotech corporation Ventria Biosciences, has planted a rice containing two human breast milk proteins that will be used as a treatment for diarrhea and as an additive to infant formulas, yogurt, granola bars and sports drinks.
The rice has been planted in Kansas under permission from the Bush Administration, despite the 20,005 "against" to 29 "for" public comments the USDA received about the issue.

posted by ryan griffis  # 12:35 PM 0 comments links to this post

Gene Doping

The New York Times has a piece on the potential for gene therapy in the realm of athletic medicine and performance-enhancing. Of course, if something is going to drive gene therapy, it only makes sense that it would the spectacle of sports.

posted by ryan griffis  # 12:32 PM 0 comments links to this post

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