Tissue of dead humans to be cloned

Scientists are to be permitted to use tissue from dead people to create cloned human stem cells for research, under a legal change put forward by the government.

Health ministers have proposed that laboratories should be allowed to use stored human tissue to create cloned embryonic stem cells without the explicit consent of the tissue donor. This would allow research to be done on tissue donated for medical research as long as 30 years ago. Scientists would also be able to use cells from people who have died since they donated their tissue or who cannot be contacted.

Many laboratories have banks of stored tissue which act as DNA libraries that can play a vital role in finding cures for serious disorders such as diabetes and motor neurone disease.

Ministers have until now insisted that scientists contact tissue donors to gain explicit consent before DNA can be used to create cloned embryonic stem cells.

Leading scientists, including three Nobel prize winners, say gaining such consent is sometimes impossible because the donors have died, donated anonymously or cannot be contacted. They say the ban on using DNA without consent could hold up vital research.

Read moreTissue of dead humans to be cloned

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

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?