Avian Influenza: Flu Factories
In our efforts to streamline farming practices to produce more meat for more people, we have inadvertently created conditions by which a harmless parasite of wild ducks can be converted into a lethal killer of humans.
- Johns Hopkins University neurovirologist R.H. Yolken and Stanley Medical Research Institute director E.F. Torrey.
How does naturally occurring, innocuous waterfowl flu mutate into virulent, highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI)?
According to the World Health Organization's 2005 assessment of the pandemic threat, HPAI viruses aren't born, they're made. "Highly pathogenic viruses have no natural reservoir. Instead, they emerge by mutation when a virus, carried in its mild form by a wild bird, is introduced to poultry. Once in poultry, the previously stable virus begins to evolve rapidly, and can mutate, over an unpredictable period of time, into a highly lethal version of the same initially mild strain." Scientists have demonstrated this transformation in a laboratory setting.
Scientists find threat in livestock feedlots
Growing so large that they are now called "factory farms," livestock feedlots are poorly regulated, pose health and ecological dangers and are responsible for a deteriorating quality of life in America's and Europe's farm regions, according to a series of studies published this week by scientists.
Animal feedlots are contaminating water supplies with pathogens and chemicals, and polluting the air with foul-smelling compounds that can cause respiratory problems, but the health of their neighbors goes largely unmonitored, the reports concluded.
The international teams of environmental scientists also warned that the livestock operations are contributing to the rise of antibiotic-resistant germs, and the proximity of poultry and hogs could hasten the spread of avian flu to humans.
Originally posted by UofCinLA
I'm on the fence, but I ask that people take a hard look at their arguments in this debate
Also, since I was a bio guy - note that this ball of dirt we call earth is a wonderful, self regulating system. Any thing we can do to an ecosystem, mother nature can outdo or undo in short order. Other creatures are far better at expoliting things than we are - are they any less deserving of a chance to win out and succeed than us..??
Microbial Threats to Health: Emergence, Detection, and Response
Microbes live in every conceivable ecological niche on the planet and have inhabited the earth for many hundreds of millions of years. Indeed, microbes may be the most abundant life form by mass, and they are highly adaptable to external forces. The vast majority of microbes are essential to human, animal, and plant life. Occasionally, however, a microbe is identified as a pathogen because it causes an acute infectious disease or triggers a pathway to chronic diseases, including some cancers. Certainly, humankind remains ignorant of the full scope of diseases caused by microbial threats, as only a small portion of all microbes have been identified by currently available technologies. ...Microbial threats continue to emerge, reemerge, and persist. Some microbes cause newly recognized diseases in humans; others are previously known pathogens that are infecting new or larger population groups or spreading into new geographic areas.
The emergence and spread of microbial threats are driven by a complex set of factors, the convergence of which can lead to consequences of disease much greater than any single factor might suggest. Genetic and biological factors allow microbes to adapt and change, and can make humans more or less susceptible to infections. Changes in the physical environment can impact on the ecology of vectors and animal reservoirs, the transmissibility of microbes, and the activities of humans that expose them to certain threats. Human behavior, both individual and collective, is perhaps the most complex factor in the emergence of disease. Emergence is especially complicated by social, political, and economic factors—including the development of megacities, the disruption of global ecosystems, the expansion of international travel and commerce, and poverty—which ensure that infectious diseases will continue to plague us.
...Infectious diseases have emerged as a direct result of changes in technology and industry. Advances in medical technologies, such as blood transfusions, human organ and tissue transplants, and xenotransplantation (using an animal source), have created new pathways for the spread of certain infections. Even the manner in which animals are raised as food products, such as the use of antimicrobials for growth production, has abetted the rise in infectious diseases by contributing to antimicrobial resistance.
Originally posted by UofCinLA
Not saying what we do is not bad, but the bottom line is the earth and nature is a dynamic system - a very dynamic system and that it is very selfish to say that we jumans are the only thing of importance (or our cute furry friends)....
One part of the process: How chemicals can speed up evolution
THE mystery of how human DNA evolves during someone's lifetime looks a step closer to being solved.
Researchers in Japan have found evidence that environmental agents that cause chemical changes to our DNA throughout life may increase the amount of shuffling and mutation that occurs within our DNA during the formation of egg and sperm cells. So exposure of our DNA to reactive chemicals may actually drive evolution by promoting genetic diversity in our children.
Yusaku Nakabeppu and his colleagues at Kyushu University in Fukuoka have shown that, if unrepaired by enzymes, a type of chemical damage called oxidation can reshuffle DNA's four basic building blocks - adenine, thymine, cytosine and guanine.
New Treatment Shows 'unambiguous' Benefits
The study involved injecting the stem cells into golden retriever dogs with a condition that closely mimics Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). The cells integrated into damaged muscle tissue and, in some cases, led to impressive improvements in the animals' walking ability.
"This is the most dramatic example that stem cells really have a lot of potential to regenerate damaged or diseased tissues," said Jeffrey Chamberlain at the Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine in the University of Washington. He was not involved in the work. "There's been a lot of interest in applying stem cells to treating diseases, but so far that's been mainly theoretical. There haven't been any good examples of the success of that strategy."
Scientists believe that stem cells hold great promise in medicine because they are able become a variety of other cells and so could be used to rebuild damaged tissue.
U.N. Leader Urges Biotech Safeguards
Secretary General Kofi Annan of the United Nations warned Saturday that the potential for danger from the rapidly growing biotechnology industry was increasing exponentially and urged creating global safeguards.
“We lack an international system of safeguards to manage those risks,” he said. “Scientists may do their best to follow rules for responsible conduct of research. But efforts to harmonize these rules on a global level are outpaced by the galloping advance of science itself.”
Multi-Copy DNA More Common Than Thought
It appears that many more genes than once thought have multiple copies of themselves, called "copy-number variants" - some of which may contain disease-causing mutations, researchers report. ...This type of mutation has often been overlooked as a cause of genetic disease, the researchers add. What proportion of genetic disease is caused by copy-number variation isn't known but experts believe that it is significant.
To find out more, they have developed a DNA map of gene segments. ...Scherer's group made the map by analyzing DNA from 270 individuals from four populations from Europe, Africa or Asia. The team found over 1,447 copy-number variants, covering 12 percent of the human genome. This means that copy-number variants are much more common than has been thought.
Copy-number variants can influence gene expression and phenotype (the way genes play out in appearance or behavior) and can cause disease. So, unless they are analyzed directly, they could be missed by the current strategies that experts use to identify DNA mutations in genetic diseases. ...Based on this finding, researchers may need to go back and look again at genes involved in diseases, Scherer said. "We are going to find tens of thousands of these differences," he said.
Originally posted by unityemissions
Thank you sofi, for this important information. I'm surprised not many people have replied.
This is a vital topic that should be well known.
Perhaps together we at ATS can put some pieces together,
in hopes of surviving the many mutations taking place on this planet at every which level...
Originally posted by Astyanax
What's the big deal if the environment changes? What's the big deal, even, with another Great Dying?
Oh yes, human beings will have a torrid time of it. If any survive, they will be a tiny, well-protected (read well-adapted) handful. Of badasses.
I really don't see what problem you have with all this. It's just evolution going its merry way. No need to get all excited and doomy about it...
Originally posted by marg6043
The damage that the so call Super crops are doing to the environment is just incredible, but people doesn't get to see it for themselves because the media is not interested.
I have been following the GMO and Monsanto for a while and now their super crops are creating super weeds and within those super weeds we are to find the super bugs.
This industrial monster is tampering our food supply with human hormones to create bigger and the so call better food supply, even our sea food is not off limits to this monsters, no wonder we are becoming so susceptible to animal diseases now.
But the government will never agree with any of this because profits are over human life.
Originally posted by marg6043
We the human race has survived in this earth longer than any other species before us, if we are to follow the examples of other species that are extinct, we humans should have fallen into that fate long time ago.
Originally posted by rhinoceros
Anyways what's killing the current biosphere is consumerism. Story of stuff, watch it..