A case of ‘‘pseudo science’’? A study claiming effects of the Cry1Ab protein
News Feb 15, 2010
A case of ‘‘pseudo science’’? A study claiming effects of the Cry1Ab protein on larvae of the two-spotted ladybird is reminiscent of the case of the green lacewing
- Stefan Rauschen, Transgenic Research, January 2010; vol. 19: 13-16
A recent report on the potential negative impact in a laboratory setting of the Cry1Abprotein on larvae of the two spotted ladybird Adalia bipunctata (Schmidt et al. 2009) has gained notoriety. It was used in Germany, along with some other studies supposedly showing a negative impact of the transgenic MON810 maize on non-target organisms, to temporarily ban the cultivation of this Bt-maize under a safeguard clause conforming with Article 23 of the EU directive 2001/18/ EC.
This decision, although officially communicated as based on new evidence, was in fact based on flawed science and has been recognized to be politically motivated by a number of the stakeholders involved (Sinha 2009). The present temporary ban of MON810 by the German Government will now be considered by the EU commission, which will consult the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), and then decide on the merits of the scientific data. Whether the ban will then be lifted or not lies within the commitological decision making process within the European Union.
Overall, the findings and interpretations in Schmidt et al. and the consideration of this paper for the justification of the ban of MON810 in Germany appear erroneous.
Mechanism Controlling Multiple Sclerosis Risk IdentifiedNews
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have now discovered a new mechanism of a major risk gene for multiple sclerosis (MS) that triggers disease through so-called epigenetic regulation. They also found a protective genetic variant that reduces the risk for MS through the same mechanism.
Antarctic Worm and Machine Learning Help Identify Cerebral Palsy EarlierNews
A research team has released a study in the peer-reviewed journal BMC Bioinformatics showing that DNA methylation patterns in circulating blood cells can be used to help identify spastic cerebral palsy (CP) patients. The technique which makes use of machine learning, data science and even analysis of Antarctic worms, raises hopes for earlier targeted CP therapies.
Ancient Syphilis Genomes Decoded for First TimeNews
Researchers recovered three genomes of the bacterium Treponema pallidum from skeletal remains from colonial-era Mexico, and were able to distinguish the subspecies that causes syphilis from the subspecies that causes yaws. It was not previously thought possible to recover DNA from this bacterium from ancient samples.