Justice Dept. Details Program for Collecting DNA From People in Federal Custody

The Bush administration moved forward on Friday with a program to expand collecting DNA samples from people in federal custody.

But it was unclear how federal laboratories would be able to handle the added work.

The Justice Department formally proposed regulations for collecting the samples, a technique that essentially mirrors taking the fingerprints of people arrested for federal offenses, as well as illegal immigrants detained by federal authorities.

The government now collects DNA just from felons. DNA, the genetic marker found in hair and blood and other body fluids, can provide a more concrete link to a crime than fingerprints, which often are not left at a crime scene or are difficult to collect.

For the new effort to succeed, the samples, most collected by swabbing an inside cheek, have to be entered into the DNA database of the F.B.I.

A spokeswoman for the bureau’s laboratory, Ann Todd, said it already had a backlog of 225,000 samples to be processed, a more complex procedure than entering fingerprints.

If Justice Department estimates are accurate, work at the laboratory would increase twelvefold, Ms. Todd said.

Read moreJustice Dept. Details Program for Collecting DNA From People in Federal Custody

U.S. to Expand Collection Of Crime Suspects’ DNA

Policy Adds People Arrested but Not Convicted

The U.S. government will soon begin collecting DNA samples from all citizens arrested in connection with any federal crime and from many immigrants detained by federal authorities, adding genetic identifiers from more than 1 million individuals a year to the swiftly growing federal law enforcement DNA database.

The policy will substantially expand the current practice of routinely collecting DNA samples from only those convicted of federal crimes, and it will build on a growing policy among states to collect DNA from many people who are arrested. Thirteen states do so now and turn their data over to the federal government.

The initiative, to be published as a proposed rule in the Federal Register in coming days, reflects a congressional directive that DNA from arrestees be collected to help catch a range of domestic criminals. But it also requires, for the first time, the collection of DNA samples from people other than U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents who are detained by U.S. authorities.

Although fingerprints have long been collected for virtually every arrestee, privacy advocates say the new policy expands the DNA database, run by the FBI, beyond its initial aim of storing information on the perpetrators of violent crimes.

They also worry that people could be detained erroneously and swept into the database without cause, and that DNA samples from those who are never convicted of a crime, because of acquittal or a withdrawal of charges, might nonetheless be permanently retained by the FBI.

“Innocent people don’t belong in a so-called criminal database,” said Tania Simoncelli, science adviser for the American Civil Liberties Union. “We’re crossing a line.”

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States Hand Over the DNA of Newborns to DHS

Unknown to most new parents, or those who became parents in the last ten or so years, DNA of newborns has been harvested, tested, stored and experimented with by all 50 states. And all 50 states are now routinely providing these results to the Homeland Security Department.

No doubt we can all see the benefits in testing for genetic disorders or genetic traits and tendencies that could be more adequately dealt with, in some cases actually deterring the onset of life-time illness, but that seems not to be the real thrust of these programs. It may have been initially….but not now.

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Your Burger on Biotech

Scientists serve up leaner beef, tastier cheddar and healthier ketchup

burger.jpg
The Annotated Hamburger: Photo by Colin Smale; Schnare & Stief/Getty Images; illustration: Mitch Romanowski Design

If the biotech industry has its way, ordering a hamburger might soon sound something like this: “one charbroiled cloned-beef patty, with genetically modified cheese, lab-grown bacon and vitamin-C-fortified lettuce, on a protein-spiked bun.” The burger of the future is delicious, nutritious and contains more engineering than a stealth bomber.

With the Food and Drug Administration ruling in January that meat and milk from cloned cows, pigs, goats and their offspring is safe to eat, the only thing keeping the superburger off your dinner plate is time. It will be a few years yet before cloned meat hits store shelves. Cloning the perfect (and tastiest) cow can cost upward of $15,000, which makes clones themselves too expensive to eat, so we’ll have to wait until they spawn enough offspring (the old-fashioned way) to feed the masses. Meanwhile, researchers are busy formulating all the fixings. Take a look at what science is doing for the burger, from bun to beef and everything in between.

Recipe for Burger 2.0

Vitamin Bun
After isolating a gene in wild wheat that controls protein, zinc and iron content, scientists at the University of California at Davis spliced the gene into domestic wheat, boosting nutrient content by 12 percent.

Cruelty-Free Bacon
Scientists in the Netherlands have grown minced pork in a dish by adding water, glucose and amino acids to pig stem cells. Expect artificial ground meat by 2012 and bacon within the decade.

Better Cheddar
Food engineers are boosting cheddar flavor by adding a bacterial gene that produces an enzyme that eliminates the bitter taste created during ripening.

Leaner Beef
Several companies are cloning the country’s most prized cows to produce leaner, tastier cuts of meat. Ranchers will start breeding the clones this spring, and in five years, the offspring will be ready to grill.

Healthier Ketchup
The ethanol boom is driving up the price of corn syrup, so Heinz is breeding a tomato that is 10 percent sweeter than those grown today. Look for naturally sweeter ketchup by 2010.

High-C Lettuce
By splicing rat genes into lettuce, Virginia Tech scientists figured out how to turn on the vegetable’s latent vitamin-C-producing abilities (rats are natural C-makers). Since rodent-altered lettuce is somewhat unappetizing, the team used the data to identify plant DNA that can do the same thing.

By Rena Marie Pacella Posted 03.17.2008 at 2:55 pm

Source: popsci.com

Chemical Additives – Are They Slowly Killing Our Children?

sickchild-mother.jpgExcerpts from the article:

…”The mixtures of the additives had a much more potent effect on nerve cells than each additive on its own. The effect on cells was up to four times greater when Brilliant Blue and MSG were combined, and up to seven times greater when Quinoline Yellow and Aspartame were combined.”….

…”The study shows that when the nerve cells were exposed to MSG and Brilliant Blue or Aspartame and Quinoline Yellow the additives stopped the nerve cells from normal growth and interfered with proper signalling systems.”

( In other words, additives like Aspartame and MSG are exitotoxins and they destroy the brain and they were intentionally designed to do exactly that. And PS: Fighter jet pilots are not allowed to drink soft drinks at all. Hello.)

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Lab Freaks Gone Wild?

Scientists plan to make “cybrids” by putting human DNA into cow eggs.The British government gave the go-ahead this week for two separate groups to experiment with the process. Scientists will “inject human DNA into empty eggs from cows, to create embryos known as cytoplasmic hybrids that are 99.9 per cent human in genetic terms,” according to The Times of London.

Read moreLab Freaks Gone Wild?