Smart Video Reveals How Antibiotics May Have Created a Dangerous Apocalyptic Scenario

There is plenty of places to spread the blame around, and this is coming from one of my doctors: The patients who do not take all of their meds when they are sick, then wonder why they often feel like crap again when they relapse, and then the doctor’s who overprescribed antibiotics as if they were candy. In both instances are opportunities for increased resistance. There were warnings of this years ago and they were mostly written off as “Chicken Littles”.

I also wonder if the modern [North American] parental insanity to keep their kids clean to the point of a sterility guarantee may also share some of the blame because exposure to daily life I would think strengthen the immune system making it more able to fight off infections. When I was a kid we played, and we played hard, to the point of looking like Pig Pen when we walked in the door. Virtual dirt playing Minecraft on an iPad inside all day does not quite equate to the same thing.

In Vitro is Chauvinist: The Sex Ratio of IVF Babies is Skewed Towards Males

Got to admit, I thought this was about eugenics and culture.

In vitro fertilization (IVF) accounts for up to five percent of babies born in developed countries, and the technique has yielded some five million people ever since Louise Brown was born in the UK on July 25, 1978. And that’s just humans; the technology has been a huge boon in breeding farm animals. Yet there are hints that the procedure can have some unwanted effects on the resultant embryos. One such indication is a skewed sex ratio.

Source: In vitro is chauvinist: The sex ratio of IVF babies is skewed towards males

Looks like the fix is just a change in culture medium. It will take some time for this to become mainstream for human IVF. It also looks like (from the abstract) that this extra bath doesn’t harm male embryos in any way, so it won’t require genetic testing of embryos to sort out the girls (extra $$$ and mandatory freeze).

The best part is that this fix will likely increase overall success rates as those female embryos that would have failed instead thrive. Even a small % increase in success means so much to people desperately trying for a child, regardless of gender.

Ancient Humans Had More DNA Than We Have Now

A new atlas of human genetic diversity reveals what human ancestors’ DNA may have looked like before people migrated out of Africa.

Ancestral humans carried 40.7 million more DNA base pairs than people do today, researchers report online August 6 in Science. That’s enough DNA to build a small chromosome, says study coauthor Evan Eichler, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Source: Ancestral humans had more DNA

The news isn’t that surprising – we’ve know that the Y chromosome is shrinking.  The media initially portrayed this as doom saying, that men were going to disappear…

How does DNA get shorter?  DNA in chromosomes can move around, which leads to a bunch of different methods that leads to deletion.

One such example is during crossing over, of which you may be aware. But as a crude refresher/description: homologous chromosomes line up during meiosis (mitosis as well, but meiosis occurs in sex cells, which is how we inherit DNA). Your paternal chromosome and maternal chromosome pair up, and since they’re homologous (but not identical), the tips of each chromosomes can cross over/switch. Now you have two new homologous chromosomes.

However, sometimes, when they line up, they don’t line up perfectly, and a larger portion will cross over with a shorter portion. Then, the new chromosomes will be of different size: one will have an addition, and the other will have a deletion.

These additions/deletions can cause mutations/disease, but they can be silent too.  Also, the ends of chromosomes (telomeres) aren’t replicated during cell division.  So after many cycles, chromosomes get shorter and shorter.

Mystery Pooper: Firm to Pay $2.2M over Forced DNA Testing for Workers

A federal jury has concluded that an Atlanta grocery warehousing firm must pay two employees a combined $2.2 million for forcing them to submit to a buccal cheek swab to determine if their DNA was a match to feces being left throughout the facility.

Source: Mystery pooper: Firm to pay $2.2M over forced DNA testing for workers

This is an update to the Mystery Pooper story.  I’m glad to see that there are laws against this sort of thing.

I’m skeptical that the payout will be what is listed.  Being awarded and actually receiving can be different things, and that’s besides if the firm challenges the amount awarded.

The Most Important Plant You’ve Never Heard About

Few of know you the mouse-ear cress. It’s a relative of mustard and cabbage, but it’s not known for its flavor or nutrition. It’s not farmed commercially. It’s not noticeable. It’s a small white plant with boring white flowers —and yet even though it’s not famous, it’s still the most well-known plant in the world.

Source: The Most Important Plant You’ve Never Heard About

That said, some have started to doubt the usefulness of this species in extrapolating knowledge derived from it to crops of human interest.

Hunt for the Rogue Pooper – Company Demands DNA swabs, Employees Sue

Who was the “devious defecator” leaving their “offending fecal matter” across an Atlanta-area warehouse that stored and delivered products for grocery stores?

Source: Hunt for the rogue pooper—company demands DNA swabs, employees sue

As funny and weirdly odd as the news is that lead to this, it’s not laughing matter about the intrusion performed on this two people.  The ability to do DNA testing opens the doors to incredibly invasive knowledge – predisposition to disease and cancer, etc.  I highly recommend watching Gattaca if you haven’t seen it already.

What Made the Y Chromosome So Tiny?

The Y chromosome, a chunk of genetic code that is unique to male animals, isn’t just physically smaller than the X. It also contains far fewer genes. The X has more than 1000 genes, while the Y has fewer than 200 —and most of them don’t even work. Why do men have this odd, stunted chromosome in their genomes?

Source: What Made the Y Chromosome So Tiny?

Some animals already have lost the Y for good. And yet, they keep having male offspring. How? Nob0dy knows yet.

Not All GMO Plants Are Created Equal

Many people have strong opinions about genetically modified plants, also known as genetically modified organisms or GMOs. But sometimes there’s confusion around what it means to be a GMO. It also may be much more sensible to judge a plant by its specific traits rather than the way it was produced – GMO or not.

Source: Not all GMO plants are created equally: it’s the trait, not the method, that’s important

GMO Cows Can Make Human Antibodies

Cows are big hulking creatures—not so great for tipping over while drunk, but great for turning into living factories that make massive quantities of antibodies. Scientists have inserted a modified human chromosome to cows that can now make human antibodies for hantavirus. Other deadly disease like Ebola and MERS could come next.

…These antibodies from these genetically modified cows, however, would be basically indistinguishable from those made in a human body after purification. Cows are much bigger and more efficient than mice, too; a single cow could make up to 1,000 doses a month. Someday, cow-men could save your life.

Source: Cows With Human Chromosomes Can Now Make Human Antibodies

I wonder about the volume that could be produced taken into consideration with the resource footprint.   Cows need more food and space.  More importantly, what if they become self-aware: