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Genetically Engineered Mad-Cow Resistance

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posted on Jan, 1 2007 @ 06:42 PM
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Scientists working for the USDA's Agricultural Research Service recently announced initial results of research project developing prion-free cattle. Prions are infectious agents associated with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), more commonly known as Mad-Cow Disease, as well as a variety of other spongiform encephalopathies. Prions are believed to result from misfolding of proteins naturally present in the body; misfolding is thought to be 'induced' or 'nucleated' via exposure to other misfolded prion proteins. While the native function of the prion protein is not known, scientists working on this project report that genetic modification of the animals so that they no longer produce the prion protein resulted in no adverse effects on the cattle's health.
 



www.sciencedaily.com
ARS studied eight Holstein males that were developed by Hematech Inc., a pharmaceutical research company based in Sioux Falls, S.D. The evaluation of the prion-free cattle was led by veterinary medical officer Juergen Richt of ARS' National Animal Disease Center (NADC) in Ames, Iowa. The evaluation revealed no apparent developmental abnormalities in the prion-free cattle.

Richt said, "The cattle were monitored for growth and general health status from birth up to 19 months of age. Mean birth and daily gain were both within the normal range for Holsteins. General physical examinations, done at monthly intervals by licensed veterinarians, revealed no unusual health problems."

ARS, with assistance from researchers at Hematech and the University of Texas, evaluated the cattle using careful observation, post-mortem examination of two of the animals, and a technology that amplifies abnormal proteins to make them easier to detect. Further testing will take at least three years to complete.


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


An interesting and positive result that comes on the heels of the FDA announcing that cloned meats are safe to eat. Though these cows haven't been demonstrated to be unaffected by prions, the fact that they no longer produce to protein would seem to alleviate any fears that prions could still effect the cattle, but nature has a funny way of surprising the heck out of scientists. Prions themselves are perfect examples of this. In any case, I think this is a practical and useful research project; the intial positive results are encouraging. Let's hope the technology pans out, and is a lasting solution to the threat of BSE derived prions with respect to not only the safety of the food supply but also to human health. It will be interesting to watch this project progress from both the perspective of BSE development and with respect to the long term effects of 'knocking-out' expression of endogenous prion protein.

Related News Links:
www.fda.gov
www.organicconsumers.org
www.cdc.gov
www.mad-cow-facts.com

Related AboveTopSecret.com Discussion Threads:
SCI/TECH: Mad Cow Madness
Mad Cow: 3rd Case in 2 Years Found in the USA
SCI/TECH: "Mad Cow" Disease Uses Immune System to Spread in Body
BTS.humor: Bird Flu or Mad Cow: You Choose

[edit on 1-1-2007 by UM_Gazz]




posted on Jan, 1 2007 @ 09:11 PM
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While the native function of the prion protein is not known


Playing with things they don't understand. Wasn't this thing created by feeding plant eaters (cows), meat (ground up sheep). So the answer must be to use genetic engineering, something else they don't fully understand, to fix the previous monstrous creation. Wow!



posted on Jan, 1 2007 @ 09:57 PM
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Playing with things they don't understand. Wasn't this thing created by feeding plant eaters (cows), meat (ground up sheep). So the answer must be to use genetic engineering, something else they don't fully understand, to fix the previous monstrous creation. Wow!

"Playing with things they don't understand" would have to be a complaint levied against science in general. Science is the process of figuring out things that are not understood. Do you have any idea how they figured out what the function of any given gene is? They knocked 'em out and observed the phenotype. Often multiple knockout, or other such experiments must be carried out before a clear function is even hinted at.

Prions weren't created per se, they've been known to exist in nature for centuries. Sheep have been documented with Scrapie, a prion disease, since the early 18th century. It's extremely likely that it got into the cattle in the food chain however via the mechanism that you've described. However, this is really no different than any other emerging disease, some encroachment, or some new practice introduces naive pathogen to naive host. The disease appeared in humans in the form of CJD via cannibalism of infected individuals. There are indeed, many routes to the acquistion of prion diseases. Prions have even been discovered in fungus.

The answer is actually different agricultural practices, combined with better monitoring, and an enforced ban on feeding ruminants animal parts, and other crap. In any case, yes, Genetic Engineering is a reasonable option to explore in the multipronged assault to protect the world's food supply. Whether you like it or not... it's practically a guarantee that you've been consuming GMO foods. Most of the soybeans, a good percentage of the corn, and a host of other GMO crops are on the market, actively being consumed, in all likelihood by even yourself.

I know alarmist language is fun and all... especially here on ATS, but let's approach the topic with a scintilla of reason.



posted on Jan, 2 2007 @ 06:31 PM
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I know alarmist language is fun and all... especially here on ATS, but let's approach the topic with a scintilla of reason.


Sorry, don't have the faith in science you do. So I'll exercise my right to whatever language I feel like, thank you. Because, by the time 'science' makes a mistake, we may end up with something far worse than prions.



posted on Jan, 2 2007 @ 08:08 PM
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Originally posted by HimWhoHathAnEar
Sorry, don't have the faith in science you do. So I'll exercise my right to whatever language I feel like, thank you. Because, by the time 'science' makes a mistake, we may end up with something far worse than prions.


And you're certainly free to use whatever language you wish... just expect it to be recognized as alarmist.

Prions undoubtedly have spread further as a result of man's agricultural practices, not scientific practices. As was discussed in my previous post, science didn't create prions... they've been described and known, more-or-less since before science existed.

Additionally, there are no incidents known where knocking-out any genes has had even a single negative outcome on the 'environment' or on 'wild-type' organisms. So for what reason, should this be a 'faith in science issue,' and not simply a matter of empirical observation regarding what science does happen to understand about genetic engineering. This quite simply appears to be alarmist language based on something you personally don't understand?

For what specific reason, should we fear the precedent that this particular experiment represents? How is this experiment, other than a bovine vs. murine subject, different than anyone of the thousands of mice knockout experiments done in the US every year?



posted on Jan, 2 2007 @ 08:13 PM
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We're not eating mice.



posted on Jan, 2 2007 @ 08:48 PM
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There is a campaign to narrow the definition of "prion" to include only one particular protein - a 33–35 kD protein - coded for by one specific gene on the short arm of chromosome 20.

Consider that a PR and marketing campaign - NOT an accurate reflection of the science.

In fact, the world is full of prions...

Here are a few definitions that have not yet been censored:


Protein infectious agent associated with several neurological diseases (scrapie; kuru; Creutzfeld-Jakob syndrome; Alzheimer's disease). Each disease has a different prion.

***

Prion: A disease-causing agent that is neither bacterial nor fungal nor viral and contains no genetic material. A prion is a protein that occurs normally in a harmless form. By folding into an aberrant shape, the normal prion turns into a rogue agent. It then coopts other normal prions to become rogue prions.

Prions have been held responsible for a number of degenerative brain diseases, including scrapie (a fatal disease of sheep and goats), mad cow disease, Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease, fatal familial insomnia, kuru, an unusual form of hereditary dementia known as Gertsmann-Straeussler-Scheinker disease, and possibly some cases of Alzheimer's disease.

Dr. Stanley B. Prusiner received the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of prions. See also: Prusiner, Stanley B..

***

prion (plural prions)

1. The etiologic agent of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. The only self-replicating cause of disease known to lack nucleic acids.
2. A self-propagating alternative conformer of any protein.


***

prion - The word, for proteinaceous infectious agent, was coined in 1982 by neurologist Stanley Prusiner as part of a hypothesis regarding ailments bearing aetiologic resemblance to those caused by slow viruses (for instance, kuru). The hypothesis has been borne out by investigation. Prions are now believed responsible for several transmissible neurodegenerative diseases




Also FYI

Human drugs and vaccines are manufactured using U.S. cattle and cattle products.

Continued profitability, and avoiding liability lawsuits, depends on convincing people that the process is safe, always was safe, and always will be safe - that prion diseases like Mad Cow are "genetic," only affect the brain, and are NOT a problem in the USA.


...U.S. herd an ideal resource for companies that extract blood and other products from cattle for use in human pharmaceuticals.

...it may not be necessary for Hematech to use prion-free cattle as it strives to make potent, disease-killing antibodies in cattle for use in humans with life-threatening infections.

Misfolded prion proteins are blamed for BSE and other, similar brain diseases. It is known that certain genetic variations make animals more susceptible to the diseases.




Sorry. It's NOT safe.

Drug and vaccine manufacturing processes don't just spread infectious prions - standard manufacturing processes create new infectious prion strains.

This is common knowledge in the scientific world. It is the reason for running a mega-billion dollar fifty-year marketing campaign to say prions don't exist. It is the reason the FBI destroyed Linus Pauling's reputation in the early 1950's - and it's the reason Stanley Prusiner had to wait 20 years to get a Nobel Peace Prize for 'discovering' infectious prions.

Everyone who knows anything about proteins knows they misfold and create infectious prions. Everyone who knows anything about the pharmaceutical industry knows they've been targeting proteins since Pauling discovered the actin protein's "a" and "b" configurations in 1950 - and the processes and products have been creating new prion strains since then. And everyone knows that the chronic disease epidemic results from infectious prions created by industry. They just don't talk about it publicly - or they'd be destroyed financially or professionally, or fatally mugged, or charged with treason.

Current standards, processes and products are NOT safe - and it's common scientific knowledge.

But these processes continue to be used, and the products remain on the market because the standard analysis says the 'benefits' outweigh the 'risks.'

But the standard "risk-benefit analysis" is NOT scientific or medical - it's economic. And it's dead wrong - as evidenced by the rising costs of Social Security, and health related unemployment and disability payouts.

Prion-related diseases usually take decades to cause symptoms; so the big boyz bet on everyone dying before they got too sick to work. But guess what? It didn't happen that way. Now prion-related diseases are pandemic and still spreading, and killing every national economy because they do not kill their victims, they just render them unproductive.

So when all the nation-states go broke supporting all their prion-infected disabled citizens, who here thinks the corporate-states are in position and ready to run with the ball?



Also see:

Mad Cow Madness

Prion Contaminated Vaccines



posted on Jan, 2 2007 @ 10:12 PM
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Originally posted by HimWhoHathAnEar
We're not eating mice.


Apparently, you didn't catch my 'bovine vs murine' disclaimer.

Nope but we (yourself included) are consuming large amounts of genetically modified corn, soy, and canola. So how is this so much different?



posted on Jan, 3 2007 @ 05:41 PM
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Nope but we (yourself included) are consuming large amounts of genetically modified corn, soy, and canola. So how is this so much different?


I didn't agree to eat that garbage either. So I guess while they're slipping it into the food supply anyway, might as well just let 'em keep goin' on to bigger and better things? I'm not sure that that stuff isn't causing problems. There are unexplained increases in many diseases these days, so who's to say?

How is it so much different? I guess I just see a bigger difference between Plants and Animals than you do.



posted on Jan, 3 2007 @ 05:53 PM
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C'mon kallikilak.

This is just marketing - a bs press release.

Human drugs and vaccines are manufactured using U.S. cattle and cattle products.

Continued profitability, and avoiding liability lawsuits, depends on convincing people that the process is safe, always was safe, and always will be safe - that prion diseases like Mad Cow are "genetic," only affect the brain, and are NOT a problem in the USA.

Drug and vaccine manufacturing processes don't just spread infectious prions - standard manufacturing processes create new infectious prion strains.

Who cares if there's a genetically engineered cow without the mutation on chromosome 20 that codes for 33–35 kD protein?

That's not the only infectious prion - in cattle, in vaccines or drugs, or infecting humans.

Genetic engineering does NOT solve the prion problem.






posted on Jan, 3 2007 @ 06:19 PM
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Originally posted by soficrow
This is just marketing - a bs press releas.

Well... it's technically a news report written about some research published in Nature Biotechnology. I doubt the scientists working on the project consider it "bs," but opinions do vary.


Human drugs and vaccines are manufactured using U.S. cattle and cattle products.

Some human drugs and vaccines are manufactured using products of bovine origin.... so? So human drugs and vaccine are manufactured using chicken eggs... does this automatically invalidate any research performed on chicken embryos?


Continued profitability, and avoiding liability lawsuits, depends on convincing people that the process is safe, always was safe, and always will be safe - that prion

Well given that there is an effort to genetically engineer prion-free cattle, and especially in light of deaths that have occurred in the UK for example as a result of eating BSE contaminated 'cattle-parts,' I seriously doubt people can be convinced that food production "is safe, always was safe, and always will be safe." Indeed the fact that researchers are exploring prion-free cattle more-or-less acknowledges that there is in fact a problem.

Exactly how many lawsuits have resulted from BSE infected cattle?


diseases like Mad Cow are "genetic," only affect the brain, and are NOT a problem in the USA.

I don't think any scientist believes that prion diseases are genetic. Genetic predispositions have been described, but that means exactly squat in a case like this. Prion diseases have long been acknowledged to be the result of protein misfolding. Certain amino acids may render a person more or less susceptible to prion diseases, but a 'genetic predisposition' is nothing to spend your life fretting over.

In any case, how is genetic predisposition relevant here? Scanning ahead, it looks like you didn't bother reading the 'bs press release' or at the very least, you didn't comprehend it. You stated:

Who cares if there's a genetically engineered cow without the mutation on chromosome 20 that codes for 33–35 kD protein?

but the statement is somewhat ambiguous. It could be seen as implying that scientists simply removed the mutation that 'predisposes' one to prion disease. This is distinctly not the case. They removed the protein altogether... the proteins not there, gone, and is thus not an issue with respect to BSE... seems like a practical solution to a real problem... as opposed to a hysterical conspiracy theory that seems to be more or less unsupported by any real science - despite being "common knowledge" in the scientific community.


Drug and vaccine manufacturing processes don't just spread infectious prions - standard manufacturing processes create new infectious prion strains.

Perhaps, but this article is only dealing with the prions responsible for BSE. The other prions are projects for someone else's lab.

BTW... is there even a single shred of primary scientific evidence to support the notion that "Drug and vaccine manufacturing processes don't just spread infectious prions - standard manufacturing processes create new infectious prion strains."

even a scintilla of primary scientific evidence supporting this?


That's not the only infectious prion - in cattle, in vaccines or drugs, or infecting humans.

So? Your logic appears to be that since this isn't the only prion, science shouldn't waste their time with it. I mean why bother there's just a bunch of other prions...

Why bother getting vaccinated for anything then... there's always some other disease on the horizon?


Genetic engineering does NOT solve the prion problem.

No... not the whole problem... but that's how it's done... piece-by-piece... expecting science to solve a problem that centuries old with a single project is absurd.



posted on Jan, 3 2007 @ 06:29 PM
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Originally posted by HimWhoHathAnEar
I didn't agree to eat that garbage either. So I guess while they're slipping it into the food supply anyway, might as well just let 'em keep goin' on to bigger and better things?

Well... it's not exactly being slipped in... there's been debate about it for years... IMO, inadequate, and perhaps misdirected debate, but debate nonetheless. Furthermore if you really were concerned about not eating that garbage you could avoid it... just takes a little bit more searching in the grocery store, and likely a trip to a natural foods store. The genetically engineered, prion-free cattle isn't being 'slipped-in' either... in fact, (and you know this if you'd read the news article) there's years of experiments still planned to even demonstrate 'proof-of-concept.' The cow is literally years if not a decade or more from hitting your plate.


I'm not sure that that stuff isn't causing problems. There are unexplained increases in many diseases these days, so who's to say?

Why would you be sure? You've apparently not even read enough about the topic to be aware of the fact that you've been consuming GMO foods for what probably amounts to a good portion of your life. You're right there are unexplained increases in disease... the operative word there being unexplained... Maybe some can be explained by GMO foods.... there's little conclusive evidence to suggest that this is true.


How is it so much different? I guess I just see a bigger difference between Plants and Animals than you do.

I highly doubt that. Personally the issue of BSE is a non-issue for me... I've not eaten a piece of meat in more than 17 years, and was vegan for 7 of those.



posted on Jan, 3 2007 @ 06:54 PM
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I said,


so who's to say?

You said


Why would you be sure?






You've apparently not even read enough about the topic to be aware of the fact that you've been consuming GMO foods for what probably amounts to a good portion of your life.


I think you're making assumptions about my age and my knowledge. 'I' don't effect what 'they' get into the food supply, and I am aware of organic food.




Personally the issue of BSE is a non-issue for me...


This explains alot. Confidence may be easier to have in something that only effects others.



posted on Jan, 3 2007 @ 09:29 PM
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Originally posted by HimWhoHathAnEar
I think you're making assumptions about my age and my knowledge. 'I' don't effect what 'they' get into the food supply, and I am aware of organic food.

Perhaps, in both cases. However 'you' do control what 'you' do put into your body.



This explains alot. Confidence may be easier to have in something that only effects others.

I didn't say I wasn't effected by it. I said it's a non-issue for me personally... which may have been a bad choice of wording, since I am the only vegetarian in my family, wife's not veg.. kids aren't etc, rest of family isn't. So while I don't effect me personally... it can affect me personally.



posted on Jan, 3 2007 @ 10:33 PM
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Just a tidbit from my files:



"What we are learning from both yeast and mammalian prions raises the disturbing possibility that the process of infecting, heat-rendering of the animal parts, and then re-infecting cows might actually have selected for a prion strain conformation that is particularly virulent and resistant to being inactivated," Weissman said. "So, it might have been this very process that humans set up that made the bovine prion so virulent and created the epidemic of mad cow disease."





kallikak

soficrow
This is just marketing - a bs press releas.


Well... it's technically a news report written about some research published in Nature Biotechnology. I doubt the scientists working on the project consider it "bs," but opinions do vary.



The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health through Hematech, a biotechnology company and a South Dakota subsidiary of Kirin, who is interested in genetically engineering cows to produce antibiotics and other medicines for people - and was evaluated by the Agricultural Research Service of the USDA.



The USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) announced Sunday that initial results of a research project involving prion-free cattle are now available online at www.nature.com/nbt/.

...The evaluation of the prion-free cattle was led by veterinary medical officer Juergen Richt of ARS' National Animal Disease Center in Ames, Iowa.

***

Genetic Modification in Livestock

Prevention of BSE/TSE by Knockout of the Prion Gene

NIH Grant Abstract: Bovine spongiform encephalopathy is an emerging prion disease of cattle. Mounting evidence indicates that BSE is transmissible to humans in the form of a new, deadly variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD). Consumption of BSE-tainted beef has been implicated as the most likely mode of transmission. BSE thus represents a threat to human health via the food supply and other bovine-derived products. As no vaccine, diagnostic test or therapy exists for either vCJD or BSE, protection depends on preventative measures. The pathogenesis of prion disease requires expression of host-encoded prion protein. In mice, priori gene knockout of confers resistance to priori disease. Knockout of the prion gene in cattle should similarly render the bovine resistant to BSE. The long-term goal of this work is to test the hypothesis that cattle bearing bi-allelic prion knockouts are resistant to BSE. Offspring with mono-allelic prion knockouts will be bred in future work to generate cattle with bi-allelic prion knockouts.

NIH Grant Number: 1R21NS045908-01
PI Name: EYESTONE, WILLARD H.
Project Title: Generation of Prion Knockout Cattle

***

Production of Human Antibodies in Cattle Blood
Hematech and Kirin

Human polyclonal antibodies (hPABs) are useful therapeutics, but because they are available only from human donors, their supply and application is limited. To address this need, we prepared a human artificial chromosome (HAC) vector containing the entire un-rearranged sequences of the human immunoglobulin (hIg) heavy-chain (H) and lambda (lambda) light-chain loci. The HAC vector was introduced into bovine primary fetal fibroblasts using a microcell-mediated chromosome transfer (MMCT) approach. Primary selection was carried out, and the cells were used to produce cloned bovine fetuses. Secondary selection was done on the regenerated fetal cell lines, which were then used to produce four healthy transchromosomic (Tc) calves. Human immunoglobulin proteins were detected in the blood of newborn calves. The production of Tc calves is an important step in the development of a system for producing therapeutic hPABs.

Nat Biotechnol. 2002 Sep;20(9):889-94.
Cloned transchromosomic calves producing human immunoglobulin.
Kuroiwa Y, Kasinathan P, Choi YJ, Naeem R, Tomizuka K, Sullivan EJ, Knott JG, Duteau A,
Goldsby RA, Osborne BA, Ishida I, Robl JM.
Pharmaceutical Research Laboratory, Kirin Brewery Co., Ltd., Japan.




For years, the USDA's position on BSE and prions was, "Problem? What problem? Prions don't exist."

Now, they're saying, "No problem - we fixed it. We can genetically engineer cattle that are immune to prions."

Q: So why the dance? Why fund research, and evaluate it as successful, while saying it's not really needed?

A: Because the USDA is in the business of protecting the US cattle industry - NOT public health.

Never mind the food supply - this is more about "biological products." The US being the primary supplier of bovine-derived materials to the drug and biotech industries.

And: The US market position hinges on the assumption that US cattle are prion-free. The USDA is concerned first with protecting the nation's cattle industry - so research supported by the department can be seen as designed to support the industry - and "research reports" can be seen as press releases and marketing tools.

Q: Can genetic modification prevent prion diseases?

A: Only if genes are required to make prions. They're not.



Dr. Crick assumed from the start that the genetic code was universal to all forms of life. Dr. Crick formulated the "central dogma" -- the view that the usual sequence of events is from DNA to RNA to protein. By contrast, Dr. Prusiner has postulated the prion -- the idea that
proteins can go it alone. DNA and RNA are unnecessary to the prion.

The discovery that a small change in the condition of a cell can cause the development of a prion offers an explanation, says Prusiner, for the sporadic form of Creutzfeldt Jakob disease (CJD), which is responsible for 85 percent of cases of prion disease in humans (occurring in 1 or 2 people per million) and is believed to develop spontaneously. It also supports his belief, he says, that sporadic forms of prion disease are caused by prion strains that are different from the one causing bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle in Britain.

***

Recommendations for the Use of Vaccines Manufactured with Bovine-Derived Materials: Bovine-derived materials have traditionally been used in the manufacture of many biological products, including vaccines.

***

The FDA's TSE Advisory Committee and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee met in 2000 to discuss the issue of potential risk of BSE from vaccines, talked about revealing the risks to parents and concluded, "We have a duty...to protect the vaccine system in this country." (PDF)

***

The role of hydrophobicity patterns in prion folding

Prions' Changeability: Nuclear magnetic resonance shows more pieces of the puzzle

Fibril shape is the basis of prion strains and cross-species prion infection

Prion Yields Clues to Infection Across Species Barriers





Developing "BSE prion-free cattle" now is like closing the barn door after the cows already escaped, and left town. On a full plane.


PS. If you clicked on the Kirin link above, you may be wondering why a Japanese brewery is interested in prions. Hint: Brewing beer involves using yeast. (Yeast carries prions. Lots of different strains.)





posted on Jan, 4 2007 @ 08:30 AM
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Originally posted by soficrow
Just a tidbit from my files:

Well... this isn't exactly a primary source, but let's forgo that for the sake of discussion.

This is an interesting source, but nonetheless doesn't support the general statement that 'standard manufacturing process create new infectious prions.' It supports the idea that the processes of rendering ruminants and feeding them to other ruminants selected for existing prion strains that are particularly hardy. But you can't generalize this to include all 'standard manufacturing processes.'

What they're saying in the article is probably true... so?


soficrow
The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health through Hematech, a biotechnology company and a South Dakota subsidiary of Kirin, who is interested in genetically engineering cows to produce antibiotics and other medicines for people- and was evaluated by the Agricultural Research Service of the USDA.

Again... so what? It's not like it's some conspiracy. This information is clearly available to anyone who just reads the authors names on the paper. The NIH funds research... it's what they do. Biotech companies bring products, like genetically engineered cows to market... it's what they do... often biotech companies do more than one thing any given organism... it makes sense... it's the system they're familiar with.

Would this all somehow be okay with you if Kirin and Hematech weren't involved? Would this be okay with you if, and of course this wouldn't happen, but hypothetically... would this be okay with you if the experiments were being funded by the Organic Consumers Association, and the research being carried out by a bunch of hippies? Would this make it acceptable.

Most likely not... since you've generalized the problem to 'standard manufacturing processes,' and since you've more or less demonized every single scientist working for the USDA.

Do you actually even know any scientists working for the USDA? Ever talked with even a single one in all of your 'research?'


For years, the USDA's position on BSE and prions was, "Problem? What problem? Prions don't exist."

Now, they're saying, "No problem - we fixed it. We can genetically engineer cattle that are immune to prions."

Maybe that prions don't exist was the USDA's position some time in the past... I've been following prions... for a while, and I don't recall that... but whatever...

It's not their position now... and they're not saying we can fix it. If you'd chill out for a moment, you'd realize, that the ONLY thing the research says is that cows that don't contain the gene that encodes this particular prion, are phenotypically indistinguishable, based on x number of criteria, y days since birth. They're not saying the problem is fixed... nowhere does the NBT paper say this.


Q: So why the dance? Why fund research, and evaluate it as successful, while saying it's not really needed?

A: Because the USDA is in the business of protecting the US cattle industry - NOT public health.

I know this is a conspiracy site an all, but my goodness


That they've even funded the research suggests they don't 'say it's not really needed.' Gov't agencies aren't in the business of funding research that 'isnt needed.'

I won't take you to task on the idea of the USDA protecting industry over public health, but I refuse to demonize the entire scientific structure that exists in the US. If you take even a single drug developed via that scientific structure you shouldn't either.

Furthermore, and if you knew any USDA scientists, Local Cooperative extension agents, etc. you'd realize that these people are for the most part interested in helping and primarily work with small, local growers and food producers. Research and Extension Centers, and USDA ARS sites work generally with mom & pop... not Dole... that's who these systems were set up for.



posted on Jan, 4 2007 @ 08:55 AM
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Originally posted by soficrow
Never mind the food supply - this is more about "biological products." The US being the primary supplier of bovine-derived materials to the drug and biotech industries.

And: The US market position hinges on the assumption that US cattle are prion-free. The USDA is concerned first with protecting the nation's cattle industry - so research supported by the department can be seen as designed to support the industry - and "research reports" can be seen as press releases and marketing tools.

I'd be foolish to deny that the USDA wishes to protect the nation's cattle industry... isn't that the point... protect the nation's cattle industry by making it as safe for consumption as possible. Part of making the cattle supply safe is eliminating the threat of BSE. Genetic engineering isn't the ONLY solution to this problem, and may in fact not be effective, but it is one of the options currently being explored.

Just out of curiousity, soficrow... what's your proposed solution to the problem... given that prions are everywhere in nature... and that standard manufacturing processes are creating new ones... by your descriptions... we'd have to estimate every second of the day?


Q: Can genetic modification prevent prion diseases?

A: Only if genes are required to make prions. They're not.

Genes are required to make proteins. Proteins are required to make prions, hence genes are necessary for the creation of prions.

Additionally... implicit in your statement is that removing the relevant protein from cattle doesn't eliminate the threat of BSE, as BSE can interact with different proteins. To my knowledge, there is zero, none, nada, zilch, zip, no evidence to suggest that the misfolded BSE prion can interact with and induce prion formation in any proteins other than THE prion protein. Hence removal of that gene, in theory should eliminate the problem. As I mentioned in my OP, we could be surprised... nature has a funny way of doing this; but in the meantime, no a scintilla of available evidence suggests that BSE will induce other proteins in cattle to misfold.


Dr. Crick assumed from the start that the genetic code was universal to all forms of life. Dr. Crick formulated the "central dogma" -- the view that the usual sequence of events is from DNA to RNA to protein. By contrast, Dr. Prusiner has postulated the prion -- the idea that proteins can go it alone. DNA and RNA are unnecessary to the prion.

Yes, DNA/RNA are unnecessary for the infectivity of prions. This is not disputed. DNA/RNA are entirely necessary for the production of the proteins that a) become prions, or b) are induced to misfold by other prions. Hence removal of the proteins that are induced to misfold by prions, should in theory eliminate further prion infection in cattle.


The discovery that a small change in the condition of a cell can cause the development of a prion offers an explanation, says Prusiner, for the sporadic form of Creutzfeldt Jakob disease (CJD), which is responsible for 85 percent of cases of prion disease in humans (occurring in 1 or 2 people per million) and is believed to develop spontaneously. It also supports his belief, he says, that sporadic forms of prion disease are caused by prion strains that are different from the one causing bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle in Britain.

So... and a different strains of HIV still cause AIDS. Different strains of influenza still cause flu, different strains of C. jejuni still cause food poisoning, and different strains of prions still cause TSE's. What's your point?


Bovine-derived materials have traditionally been used in the manufacture of many biological products, including vaccines.

Yep, so have chicken, pig, sheep, and pretty much every other livestock animal you can think of.



posted on Jan, 4 2007 @ 09:06 AM
link   

The FDA's TSE Advisory Committee and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee met in 2000 to discuss the issue of potential risk of BSE from vaccines, talked about revealing the risks to parents and concluded, "We have a duty...to protect the vaccine system in this country."

So you don't think the FDA has a duty to protect the vaccine system is this country?


Who does the responsibility of protecting the vaccine system in this country belong to?




The role of hydrophobicity patterns in prion folding

Prions' Changeability: Nuclear magnetic resonance shows more pieces of the puzzle

Fibril shape is the basis of prion strains and cross-species prion infection

Prion Yields Clues to Infection Across Species Barriers


Okay.... lots of good information about prions there, none of it demonstrates that we shouldn't be trying to eliminate the problem in cattle though, which is what seems to be what you're driving at... either we shouldn't or we can't... I can't figure out which it is... perhaps you can clarify.


Developing "BSE prion-free cattle" now is like closing the barn door after the cows already escaped, and left town. On a full plane.

Oh... now I see.. we can't fix the problem so we shouldn't even bother trying... or if we do all grant proposals should be approved by soficrow prior to funding, thus eliminating the chance of some industrial conspiracy, or the incorporation of some new and dangerous standard manufacturing process.




PS. If you clicked on the Kirin link above, you may be wondering why a Japanese brewery is interested in prions. Hint: Brewing beer involves using yeast. (Yeast carries prions. Lots of different strains.)

Actually, I wasn't. I am aware of the presence of prions in yeast and fungi... and in fact mentioned it in this very thread a couple of posts back.



posted on Jan, 4 2007 @ 12:12 PM
link   
You're all over the place kallikak, without sources or references. So I'll just tackle your main assumptions.


You say DNA is required to create proteins.

Yet proteins routinely are created in labs, by human scientists, and DNA-coded proteins are changed, also routinely. Purposefully and accidentally.

Are you saying humans can create proteins without DNA, and change DNA-coded proteins, but nature (or God) cannot?



Some old news:


1997: Researchers for some time have been able to create proteins in the lab by stringing together amino acids, but this has been a very hit-and-miss process because of the vast number of ways that the 20 amino acids found in nature can go together.

***

Computational Protein Design / Protein-Protein Interactions / Structural Biology / Ubiquitination

What is protein design? Most ambitiously it is the creation of novel proteins to perform useful tasks. At a more modest level it might be identifying amino acid mutations that enhance protein stability, alter binding specificity, or increase solubility.

How do we design proteins? We have developed a computer program that identifies low energy sequences for a target structure or interface. In essence, it is like solving a jigsaw puzzle.The pieces, in this case amino acids, must fit together so that there are no overlaps and little empty space.In addition, specific interactions such as hydrogen bonds must be satisfied..

What have we designed in the past? In the past we have used our program to enhance protein stability, design a protein with a topology that has not been observed in nature, enhance protein-protein binding affinities and design a protein conformational switch..

***

NASA Scientists Create Amino Acids in Deep-Space-Like Environment

A team of scientists at the NASA Astrochemistry Laboratory today announced that they had created amino acids in conditions mimicking deep space. Amino acids are the basic components of proteins, from which all life is made. According to researcher Max Bernstein, "We found that amino acids can be made in the dense interstellar clouds where planetary systems and stars are made. Our experiments suggest that amino acids should be everywhere, wherever there are stars and planets."

The three amino acids produced in the Astrochemistry Lab are similar to those found previously in certain meteorites. Meteorites are pieces of asteroids or comets. The chemical similarities may indicate that amino acids were made in deep space, before the solar system formed, then eventually fell to Earth in meteorites. "This finding suggests that Earth may have been seeded with amino acids from space in its earliest days," said team member Jason Dworkin, adding, "[T]his increases the odds that life also evolved in places other than Earth."

In their deep-space simulator, the Astrochemistry Lab team has previously produced cell-membrane-like structures and other organic compounds basic to life. Next, they plan to investigate why left- and right-handed amino acids exist in space, but only the left-handed forms are used by life on Earth. Other scientists on the team include Lou Allamandola, George Cooper and Scott Sandford.

***

Chemical synthesis of proteins

Chemical synthesis is the most powerful approach for constructing proteins of novel design and structure, allowing for variation of covalent structure without limitations. Here we describe the various chemical methods that are currently used for creating proteins of unique architecture and function.

***

Patch engineering: a general approach for creating proteins that have new binding activities.

Patch engineering is a technique for creating folded proteins that have new binding activities. Different protein scaffolds are used to present a patch of discontinuous residues on a folded-protein surface. By varying simultaneously the residues in these patches and displaying these mutant proteins on phage, one can select proteins that have new binding activities. Patch engineering is applicable to any protein fold. Novel proteins derived by this approach might replace antibodies in certain applications or provide lead molecules for the design of non-peptide analogues.

***

Creating Proteins

***

An efficient method for generating proteins

...bacteria lacking RRF cannot exist because of their inability to create new proteins.

'Synthetic Life' Created in Labs

New synthetic amino acid developed by UCI Chemists




You acknowledge that there are numerous prion strains, and recommend a one-off approach to attack each one, individually and separately.

I say the attack approach is doomed to failure - not least because each 'attack' will result in new strains being created.

You ask what I think should be done instead.

I say:

Change the paradigm.

Start looking at proteins as biological systems that are part of larger biological systems, which in turn are intrinsic components of an even larger biosphere.



FYI - I think you are coming from a very angry place, and unwilling to update your personal database. It's difficult to get through - so I may not post here again.



Also see:
Is Biotech Creating New Incurable Diseases Accidentally?



posted on Jan, 4 2007 @ 12:47 PM
link   

Originally posted by soficrow
You're all over the place kallikak, without sources or references. So I'll just tackle your main assumptions.

All over the place... nope, not at all... very consistent, in fact. And I've not provided any refs., because as I've pointed out, there aren't refs. to support most of what you're saying. Like below for example:


You say DNA is required to create proteins.

Yet proteins routinely are created in labs, by human scientists,

Yes... in a biological context... the context in which prions occur and are infective, DNA and RNA are required to make proteins.

Industrial synthesis of protein has an upper limit of about 50 residues... beyond that companies have to get tricky and try and splice fragments together. Furthermore, there is zero evidence to suggest that industrially synthesized proteins are causing ANY impact in the environment. Again, I can't cite a ref. because the data doesn't exist. If you're going to make the claim... or rather imply that industrially synthesized polypeptides are contributing to the problem of prions in the environment, then the burden of proof is on you, not me.


and DNA-coded proteins are changed, also routinely. Purposefully and accidentally.

So? Yeah... it's a fact of life. It's called descent with modification, and mutagenesis. Descent with modification is responsible for not only creating prions, but the diversity of life as we know it. Mutagenesis is tool used by geneticists to not only maliciously create prions in some vast government conspiracy
, but also to study disease, generate recombinant therapeutic proteins (insulin), or engage in a variety of other scientific pursuits. But how does any of this prove that 'prion-free cattle is simply a bs marketing ploy carried out by scientists with large $$$ in their eyes,' which is more-or-less what you've been suggesting.


Are you saying humans can create proteins without DNA, and change DNA-coded proteins, but nature (or God) cannot?

I've said nothing of the sort. God is not relevant to this discussion. But for what it's worth, there's no evidence to suggest that polypeptides of more than about 20 residues could ever arise via anything other than an enzyme catalyzed reaction... forgoing industrial synthesis that is.


Some old news:
1997: Researchers for some time have been able to create proteins in the lab by stringing together amino acids, but this has been a very hit-and-miss process because of the vast number of ways that the 20 amino acids found in nature can go together.

Well this is really old... the process hasn't been 'hit-or-miss' for some time now. Indeed, the use of protecting groups, and other species to prevent undesired competing reactions has been employed for... a while now. Time to update your references... or at least post up-to-date ones.



Computational Protein Design / Protein-Protein Interactions / Structural Biology / Ubiquitination

What is protein design? Most ambitiously it is the creation of novel proteins to perform useful tasks. At a more modest level it might be identifying amino acid mutations that enhance protein stability, alter binding specificity, or increase solubility.

How do we design proteins? We have developed a computer program that identifies low energy sequences for a target structure or interface. In essence, it is like solving a jigsaw puzzle.The pieces, in this case amino acids, must fit together so that there are no overlaps and little empty space.In addition, specific interactions such as hydrogen bonds must be satisfied..

What have we designed in the past? In the past we have used our program to enhance protein stability, design a protein with a topology that has not been observed in nature, enhance protein-protein binding affinities and design a protein conformational switch.

Okay... nothing new here.



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