What are open-source seeds? Why are open-source seeds important?

Perhaps you have heard the term open-source. Maybe you heard about it within the context of software and technology as the open-source movement originated within the software development community as a means to encourage innovation and knowledge sharing. As such, the open-source concept is best-known within the technological paradigm. However, the essence of open-source can be applicable across practically all fields and sectors. 

At the most basic level, open-source means that a technology or process is made freely available for modification and redistribution. It is common practice for one or more individuals or groups to work together to develop and refine the technology. Such distribution and organizational structures are in contrast to presently common economic models where a single entity works to create a product or process and retains exclusive ownership of the output (although the right to use the product or process can be sold). 

The characteristic of allowing participants to edit and change open-source products is also contrary to conventional production practices. In a sense, this suggests that open-source products belong not to one single entity or person but to the wider community that has contributed to the realization of that product. This organizational structure contrasts common economic standards where property rights are clearly defined (which helps to clarify the principal-agent dilemma). 

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September 12, 2022, U.S. President Joe Biden signed an “Executive Order on Advancing Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Innovation for a Sustainable, Safe and Secure American Bioeconomy.”1

This executive order makes biotechnology a national priority across agencies and branches of government. As noted in this order, biotechnology will also be used to “improve” food security, sustainability, and agricultural innovation in the U.S.:

“The Secretary of Agriculture, in consultation with the heads of appropriate agencies as determined by the Secretary, shall submit a report assessing how to use biotechnology and biomanufacturing for food and agriculture innovation, including by improving sustainability and land conservation; increasing food quality and nutrition; increasing and protecting agricultural yields; protecting against plant and animal pests and diseases; and cultivating alternative food sources.”

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Chinese team behind extreme animal gene experiment says it may lead to super soldiers who survive nuclear fallout

A team of military medical scientists in China says it has inserted a gene from the microscopic water bear into human embryonic stem cells and significantly increased these cells’ resistance to radiation.

They said success in this unprecedented experiment could lead to super-tough soldiers who could survive nuclear fallout.

From water bear to super soldier

The water bear, also known as tardigrade or moss piglet, is an eight-legged animal smaller than 1 millimetre long and the hardiest creature on Earth. Over years of scientific testing, it has survived -200 degrees Celsius, more than anour hour in boiling water and after flying in space.

The water bear’s toughness comes in part from a gene that can generate shieldlike proteins to protect its cells against radiation and other environmental damage.

The Chinese team said it had found a way to introduce this gene into human DNA using CRISPR/Cas9, a gene-editing tool now available in most bio-labs.

In their laboratory experiment, nearly 90 per cent of the human embryonic cells carrying the water bear gene survived a lethal exposure to X-ray radiation, according to the team led by professor Yue Wen with the radiation biotechnology laboratory at the Academy of Military Sciences, Beijing.

There has been a growing interest in the study since Yue and his colleagues published their findings in the Chinese-language journal Military Medical Sciences in October, according to a Beijing-based life scientist.

“This is amazing, considering the big difference between the water bear and a human,” said the researcher who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the technology.

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The toxic world of GM crops

The biotech industry promised genetically engineered foods would reduce pesticide use, increase the nutritional content of food, boost farmers’ profits and feed the world by increasing yields.

In reality, GM crops have turned glyphosate into one of the most widely and recklessly used herbicides in history and monoculture has led to a loss of biodiversity.

GM crops have also failed to live up to expected increases in crop yields and, nutritionally, GMOs primarily provide cheap, unhealthy ingredients for ultra-processed ready meals, pre-packaged foods and fast-food restaurants.

More than 40,000 people in the US have filed lawsuits alleging exposure to Roundup is the cause of their cancer. Once a rare cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma is now the seventh most common cancer in US men and women.

The agricultural biotech industry continues to advance with a new suite of genetic engineering technologies known as gene editing, which includes techniques such as CRISPR as well as synthetic biology and gene drives.

Promises, promises, promises. The toxic world of genetically modified organisms (“GMOs”) and industrial agriculture is built on false promises. For nearly 30 years we have been listening to the propaganda of big biotech companies like Monsanto/Bayer, Syngenta, DuPont/Pioneer, BASF and others about how genetic engineering will transform farming and food production.

We’ve heard how it will reduce the environmental impact of farming by lowering pesticide use. We’ve been promised that it will increase the nutritional content of food. We’ve been told how it will boost farmers’ profits by increasing yields, and that those increased yields will help “feed the world.”

As the problem of man-made climate change has moved to the top of the global agenda, new promises have emerged about how GMOs will fight climate change and how genetic engineering will make plants more resilient to drought and flooding. The huckster promises keep on coming, but what has the biotech industry actually delivered over nearly three decades?

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“Mini Antlers” Grown On Mice Heads After Scientists Implant Deer Cells

Scientists have grown “mini-antlers” on mice by inserting deer genes into the mouse genome, according to a new paper. The results suggest that mammals that have lost the ability to regenerate organs may still contain some regenerative genes, and that it may be possible to harness the rapid growth of antlers in other applications. 

Growing at 2.75 centimeters (around 1 inch) per day, antlers are one of the fastest regenerating tissues in the animal kingdom and offer a perfect look at how mammals can regenerate cells on a regular basis. Antlers are especially interesting because mammals in general have lost the ability to regenerate organs and most other tissues, so a large appendage that regularly regrows offers unparalleled insight into how regenerative medicine for bones could work.  

In the pursuit of regenerative medicines, Chinese researcher Toa Qin and colleagues took a deep dive into the mechanics behind the antlers of Sika deer, which regrow every year before they are shed. In doing so, they created a regenerative “atlas” of Sika deer antlers, isolating multiple single cells and genes that are critical in the development of the antler tissue. 

Ten days before the antlers were shed, the researchers identified one type of stem cell that was highly active in the regeneration, and these remained with the antlers a short time after shedding. However, by day five post-shedding, a new subtype of stem cells had emerged. 

After identifying multiple stages of growth, the team took the stem cells with the most regrowth potential (which proved to be from shed antlers around five days old) and cultured them in a Petri dish before implanting them into the head of mice. 

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Scientist who edited babies’ genes says he acted ‘too quickly’

The scientist at the heart of the scandal involving the world’s first gene-edited babies has said he moved “too quickly” by pressing ahead with the procedure.

He Jiankui sent shock waves across the world of science when he announced in 2018 that he had edited the genes of twin girls, Lulu and Nana, before birth. He was subsequently sacked by his university in Shenzhen, received a three-year prison sentence, and was broadly condemned for having gone ahead with the risky, ethically contentious and medically unjustified procedure with inadequate consent from the families involved.

Speaking to the Guardian in one of his first interviews since his public re-emergence last year, He said: “I’ve been thinking about what I’ve done in the past for a long time. To summarise it up in one sentence: I did it too quickly.”

However, he stopped short of expressing regret or apologising, saying “I need more time to think about that” and “that’s a complicated question”.

He declined to elaborate on what he believed ought to have been in place before proceeding with gene editing, but said he would give further details at an invited talk he is scheduled to give at the University of Oxford next month.

He studied physics in China before moving to the US to study for a PhD at Rice University and a post-doctorate in genome sequencing at Stanford University. He returned to China in 2012 to pursue Crispr-Cas9 gene-editing research, launching a variety of biotechnology business ventures.

Gene-edited cells were already beginning to be used in clinical treatments for adults. But genetically modifying embryos was – and is – far more ethically contentious, because changes are made to every cell in the body and are passed down to subsequent generations. Some question whether such a step could ever be medically justified.

Against this backdrop, He dropped the bombshell at an international conference in Hong Kong four years ago that he had modified two embryos before they were placed in their mother’s womb. It later emerged that a third gene-edited baby had been born.

The edit, of a gene called CCR5, targeted a pathway used by the HIV virus to enter cells, and was claimed to give the babies immunity to HIV.

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Scientists Use CRISPR To Put Genes From Alligator Into Catfish

Millions of fish are farmed in the US every year, but many of them die from infections. In theory, genetically engineering fish with genes that protect them from disease could reduce waste and help limit the environmental impact of fish farming. A team of scientists have attempted to do just that—by inserting an alligator gene into the genomes of catfish.

Americans go through a lot of catfish. In 2021, catfish farms in the US produced 307 million pounds (139 million kilogram) of the fish. “On a per-pound basis, anywhere from 60 to 70% of US aquaculture is … catfish production,” says Rex Dunham, who works on the genetic improvement of catfish at Auburn University in Alabama.

But catfish farming is also a great breeding ground for infections. From the time farmed fish are newly hatched to the time they are harvested, around 40% of the animals worldwide die from various diseases, says Dunham.

Could the new genetic modification help?

The alligator gene, which Dunham’s research turned up as a potential answer, codes for a protein called cathelicidin. The protein is antimicrobial, says Dunham—it’s thought to help protect alligators from developing infections in the wounds they sustain during their aggressive fights with each other. Dunham wondered whether animals that have the gene artificially inserted into their genomes might be more resistant to diseases.

Dunham and his colleagues also wanted to go a step further and ensure that the resulting transgenic fish couldn’t reproduce. That’s because genetically modified animals have the potential to wreak havoc in the wild should they escape from farms, outcompeting their wild counterparts for food and habitat.

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THIS WILL NOT END WELL: Communist Chinese Scientists Explore Using MOSQUITOS to Distribute VACCINES, Could Create Dangerous MUTANT Insects Instead

Designing a killer virus evidently was just a little test run for the Chicoms. Now they might unleash mankind’s most notorious insect to supposedly “vaccinate” wildlife and reduce viral infections.

Hard to imagine any unintended consequences will occur. It’s not like mosquitos spread nasty infections like Yellow Fever, Malaria, West Nile, and Dengue Fever to humans.

The South China Morning Post reported Wednesday that Chinese scientists claim they found a way to turn the disease-carrying nuisance into an indispensable ally of all humanity. Of course, this required them to create a few genetically modified insects.

Here are their findings. No question they applied this trial with the same rigor and caution as their other gain of function research projects:

“The researchers found that bites in wildlife from genetically modified mosquitoes triggered a strong, long-lasting immune response. Once immunized, the animals resisted infections, thus helping to prevent the early spread of many viruses, including the once widespread Zika virus (ZIKV).”

“In their study, the researchers used CYV as a vaccine vector to construct a chimeric vaccine, which contains proteins from a different virus. They took several proteins from CYV and inserted them into ZIKV cells to create the CYV-ZIKV virus, which was not infectious (in animals, human impact unknown). CYV-ZIKV could replicate efficiently in mosquitoes and be secreted in saliva, they said.”

But don’t worry about this virus reaching mosquitos in the wild. Chinese scientists assure us they took care of the problem. You can trust the Chicoms, right?

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Is it Possible to Patent Genetically-Modified Humans?

“When we’re modifying the genome of an organism we can put our signature, our name, into the genome.” – “What is God? God creates. Well, we can create now.” – “We deserve to be credited for our work. We have lobbyists in politics and the courts to make sure the patenting and owning of parts of the human genome continues.”

Not word for word but, these are recollections by Dr. Carrie Madej of remarks made by Dr. Craig Venter of the Human Genome Project during a speech in 2014.  Dr. Venter also talked about how vaccines could be useful to modify people’s genomes.  Dr. Madej discussed this during an interview, watch HERE (starting at 45 mins).

In 2010, on creating the world’s first synthetic life form Dr. Venter said, “the achievement heralds the dawn of a new era in which new life is made to benefit humanity, starting with bacteria that churn out biofuels, soak up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and even manufacture vaccines.” Dr. Venter’s technology paved the way for designer organisms to be built rather than be allowed to naturally evolve, and he owns the patent.

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Genetically Modified Mosquitoes Vaccinate a Human

A box full of genetically modified mosquitoes successfully vaccinated a human against malaria in a trial funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The study involved about 200 hungry mosquitos biting a human subject’s arm. Human participants placed their arms directly over a small box full of the bloodsuckers.

“We use the mosquitoes like they’re 1,000 small flying syringes,” said researcher Dr. Sean Murphy, as reported by NPR.

Three to five “vaccinations” took place over 30-day intervals.

The mosquitoes gave minor versions of malaria that didn’t make people sick, but gave them antibodies. Efficacy from the antibodies lasted a few months.

“Half of the individuals in each vaccine group did not develop detectable P. falciparum infection, and a subset of these individuals was subjected to a second CHMI 6 months later and remained partially protected. These results support further development of genetically attenuated sporozoites as potential malaria vaccines,” researchers concluded.

Carolina Reid was one of twenty-six participants in the study.

“My whole forearm swelled and blistered. My family was laughing, asking like, ‘why are you subjecting yourself to this?’”

Reid enjoyed her experience so much that she says she wants to participate in as many vaccine trials as she can. For this research, each participant received $4,100 as an incentive.

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