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Archive for the ‘Animal Testing’ Category

Scientists Have Cloned Man’s Best Friend

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 3:30 PM
Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I just came across an article distributed by the Global Press Release Distribution about the above topic. This brought my thinking to the use of DNA in general, and about the ethics of cloning specifically.

Dan Vergano, USA TODAY. Scientists have cloned man’s best friend for the first time, creating a genetic duplicate of a 3-year-old male Afghan hound, South Korean scientists reported Wednesday

The puppy was born in April to its surrogate mom, a Labrador retriever. His name: Snuppy, short for Seoul National University puppy. The team of scientists there that cloned the dog, led by Hwang Woo Suk, is the same one that first cloned human embryonic stem cells last year. Their achievement is reported in the journal Nature. Researchers have cloned other animals, but dog cloning has posed a particular challenge. And the difficulties have alarmed some animal advocates and researchers.

There are benefits of cloning your pet according to the Seoul National University, but there are also many groups that are questioning the ethics involved in cloning.

USA Today

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Failure of Genetic Passports for Plants, Animals and Microorganisms

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 3:26 PM
Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The idea of creating genetic passports for, plants, animals, microorganisms was a very hot topic between 2007 and looked like it was on it’s way to becoming a common, standard practice. However, at this time, for the most part, these burgeoning ideas seem to have been put on hold.

The idea to create genetic passports was suggested by the Technical Expert Group of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Lima, Peru and was backed by a group of experts from over 25 countries. The proposal, which stated that 150 countries, who signed a 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) treaty, would have sovereignty over the genetic resources originating within their borders and could control the use of their genetic resources outside of their borders. They would do so by providing specific information such as the material’s origin, its characteristics and the institutions responsible for providing and/or using it.

While the proposal was widely praised and supported, it does not appear that it was ever adapted by the Convention on Biological Diversity.  In fact, in a paper entitled “Genetic Diversity and Conservation and Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources” the author(s) state that:

Accurate passport and characterization data are the first requirements, but users of plant genetic resources, particularly plant breeders, have also emphasized the need for improved evaluation of accessions. Evaluation is a complex process and there is serious backlog in most collections.

However, you can be assured that genetic passports for non-human organisms is on it’s way even if it is not currently implemented. Were there is a will, there is a way.

If you enjoyed this story you might also enjoy: Genetic Passports…A Thing Of The Past?‪ ‬

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Frankenstein’s Pet Jellyfish, “Frankenjelly”

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 3:20 PM
Tuesday, July 31, 2012

After much trial and error, researchers have built a 1 cm jellyfish, or medusiod, out of rat heart cells. While some engineers build objects using standard materials such as concrete, metal or wood, these bioengineers are using living cells.

The reason for this experiment is not just to play around with nature, but to understand and design better artificial hearts and other muscular organs, which in turn helps with the advancement of medical implant device technology.

The bioengineers who spearheaded this project are: John Dabiri from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and Kevin Kit Parker from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. Their motto was, “Copy nature, but not too much.”

After building an ideal jellyfish shape on silicon they then coached rat heart muscle cells to grow along the silicon and encased that product with an elastic material called an elastomer. In order to make it “swim”, through muscle flexing and contracting, the researchers submerged the jellyfish in a saline solution and ran an electric current through the water which “jump started” the heart cells into movement. When they did this the jellyfish propelled itself in the same way a real jellyfish would move.

Scientists agree that this groundbreaking research is expected to have a lasting impact on the future capability of medical implant devices.

Wired Science Original Article

Authored by: Meagan Thompson

Jellyfish Swimming

Rat Heart Cells

Rat Heart Cells

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DNA Database for Falcon Chicks

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 3:18 PM
Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Wildlife experts in Nottingham have been taking DNA Samples from peregrine falcon chicks in an effort to protect the species from thieves, according to an article in the BBC News.

Apparently it is common for thieves to rob falcon nests for chick that can then be trained for falconry.  The purpose of the data base is to be able to identify whether birds found, dead or alive, or birds being used for falconry were born in the wild or in captivity.

Nottingham Local wildlife trust, working with Nottingham Trent University and with the National Wildlife Crime Unit are working on constructing a DNA database in order to track and prosecute people who are raiding the nests of falcons.

For more information:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/nottinghamshire/8044260.stm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/8044511.stm

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South Korean Scientists Clone Fluorescent Cats

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 2:51 PM
Tuesday, July 31, 2012

South Korean scientists from Gyeongsang National University and Sunchon National University have cloned three Turkish Angora cats, born January and February, that glow red when exposed to ultraviolet rays and also glow in the dark. They did so by taking skin cells from a cat and inserting the fluorescent gene into them before transplanting the genetically modified cells into eggs. The purpose for doing this is so that these cats could help develop cures for human genetic diseases. The South Korean Science and Technology Ministry claims it was the first time cats with modified genes have been cloned.

Proving that this new technology works means other genes can also be inserted in the course of cloning, paving the way for producing lab cats with genetic diseases, including those of humans, to help develop new treatments.

According to veterinary professor Kong Il-keun of Gyeongsang National University:

“Cats have similar genes to those of humans,” “We can make genetically modified cats that can be used to develop new cures for genetic diseases.”

“People with genetic disorders usually have to receive treatment throughout their lives that is very hard on them,” Kato said.

“If these results can help to make their lives easier, then I think it’s a wonderful thing.”

If you enjoyed this story you might also enjoy: Scientists Have Cloned Man’s Best Friend‪ ‬

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Dead Mountain Lion To Be Genetically Tested In New York

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 2:22 PM
Tuesday, July 31, 2012

New York State officials are hoping that genetic testing can help solve the mystery of a mountain lion which mysteriously appeared in Greenwich. DNA testing will be used to determine where the deceased young male mountain lion came from and, hopefully, how he got to Greenwich, NY in the first place. Along with how is the question of any criminal aspect to his appearance.  A mountain lion was killed by a driver on Route 15 in Milford, NY early Saturday morning. Officials believe that this same lion that had been spotted in the upper King Street area of Greenwich earlier.

The mountain lion was neither neutered nor declawed, according to DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) officials. But they do believe the lion was let go from captivity or released into the area.  Mountain lions are not native to this region of the state

Officials believe that by conducting genetic testing, examining the animal’s stomach content and checking to see if it was microchiped, they can determine where the mountain lion came from, including whether the animal is native to North America or South America.

After the crash that killed the mountain lion in Milford, there were three other reports of possible mountain lions, but DEP is not considering them to be credible because of a lack of photos or significant paw prints.

New York state DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) received an anonymous call on Sunday to report a large cat in the area of exit 31 on the Merritt Parkway in Greenwich. Later a call from a Greenwich family reported a large tan cat in the backyard of their John Street home, near the Audubon. The family described the cat as a mountain lion.

DEP Officials are testing “scat” or feces to determine what the second reported animal is.

DEP officials say that part of the investigation into the deceased mountain lion will be done in New York, where officials are checking on “permitted lions” to see if that generates leads. The closest mountain lion population is located in Florida. While the mountain lions roam, DEP officials do not think it is likely that a Florida mountain lion would have made the trip that far north.

DEP officials said mountain lions are most active at dawn and dusk and anyone with information should call 860-424-3333

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Have you read; “Wolf In Dog’s Clothing?”

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 1:52 PM
Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Science Daily’s article “Wolf in Dog’s Clothing?” opens the door for new studies in animal genetics and domestication. Scientists have been able to prove that domesticated dogs that bred with wolves thousands of years ago and that this gave wolves a genetic mutation encoding dark coat color.  As a result, the Gray Wolf is no longer just gray.  In addition scientists are reporting that the darker colored wolves have advantages over their lighter pack mates in forested areas. This is leading scientists to believe that these advantages are due to the addition of that domesticated dog DNA.

This study was conducted by Genetics professor Greg Barsh, MD, PhD, and one of his  graduate students, Tovi Anderson, as well as other scientist collaborators.  They compared DNA collected from 41 black, white and gray wolves in the Canadian Arctic and 224 black and gray wolves in Yellowstone National Park with that of domestic dogs and gray and black coyotes.  This study confirmed that the black-coat gene shows evidence of positive selection in forest wolves. It also showed that the gene is dominant, meaning that an animal with only one copy of the gene would still have a black coat. Ten out of fourteen pups conceived by the mating between a black wolf and a gray wolf carried the gene and were black.

Anderson and her collaborators used a variety of genetic tests to determine that the mutation was likely introduced into wolves by domesticated dogs sometime in the last 10,000 to 15,000 years. This was about the same time the first Native American humans were migrating across the Bering land bridge. These humans were probably accompanied by dogs, some of which carried the black-coat mutation estimated to have arisen about 50,000 years ago.

Barsh said, “We were really surprised to find that domestic animals can serve as a genetic reservoir that can benefit the natural populations from which they were derived. It’s also fascinating to think that a portion of the first Native American dogs, which are now extinct, may live on in wolves.”

For the full article see:

http://www.sciencedaily.com­/releases/2009/02/090205142137.htm

(Stanford University Medical Center. “Wolf In Dog’s Clothing? Black Wolves May Be First ‘Genetically Modified’ Predators.” ScienceDaily 6 February 2009. 24 April 2009 <http://www.sciencedaily.com­/releases/2009/02/090205142137.htm>)

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DNA Proves Dog Belongs To Worried Couple

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 1:39 PM
Tuesday, July 31, 2012

February 20th was a big day for Darlene and Cliff Ryckman.  It was the day when they got back their missing dog Molly.  Molly the Shih Tzu made it home because of DNA testing which was completed by local police.

In an unusual case that spanned nearly a year, DNA sample were taken to prove that Molly belonged to Cliff and Darlene Ryckman.

Molly had no microchip and no tattoo, so when the tiny dog went missing last year the Ryckmans were at a loss to prove the identity of the dog they had raised from birth.  Even though they found out who in the neighborhood had taken her in.

Darlene, said ”I thought you know what, they do it on humans, they got to do it on animals,” when asked where shy got the idea to preform a DNA test on Molly.

The Ryckmans also own Molly’s sire, Howey, and had the DNA paternity test done to compare genetic material between the two. In all three test were performed on each dog.

The stressful year started last March 4 when the two dogs were let out into the back yard of the family’s home.  The gate wasn’t quite shut, and the two dogs started to chase a cat and the next thing Darlene knew, she couldn’t find Molly.

“I prayed every day,” she said. “I went to a psychic. I put it in The Spectator.”  Darlene also put an announcement on local TV, got the word out at some schools and put up flyers.

Almost right after Molly went missing, a woman responded to the flyers Darlene had posted.  She said had seen two people in the neighborhood pick up a Shih Tzu and take it into an apartment building.  Cliff, tracked down a specific apartment, and was told by a woman there that they did not have Molly.

The Ryckmans weren’t convinced and they were persistent with police.  Eventually they ended up face-to-face with the people who had picked up Molly on the street when they were out with Molly.  Darlene said of the encounter, “Seeing Molly just walking away from me … she was going nuts when she seen me and my husband, and I just broke down because I couldn’t take my dog and these people wouldn’t give me my dog back.”

Cliff said the whole situation was very upsetting for the couple.  He said,”It upset me to go to work because my wife would be crying everyday.”

But finally, after much determination and pursuing Molly through three moves by the people who had Molly, the Ryckmans paid $110 for DNA tests for the two dogs.  Constable Annette Huys, one of two officers working on the case, took the DNA samples.  Huys said, “I’d just come out of the forensic unit, so I was used to collecting lots of DNA, but not necessarily from dogs.”  Huys said unfortunately everybody had fallen in love with the Molly and it didn’t matter which side police dealt with, they were always crying when it came to talking about the Molly.

It took about two weeks for the samples to come back a match. Molly was returned to her the Ryckmans on February 20th.

Staff Sergeant Jack Langhorn called the entire case including taking doggy DNA “extremely unusual.” He said, “It was a unique situation … It wouldn’t be something that we’re going to do on a regular basis.”

Darlene said she’s grateful to the two officers who worked on the case and that, she’ll be getting Molly microchiped shortly.

The Hamilton Spectator

Dog DNA

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National DNA DAY – April 25th

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 12:42 PM
Tuesday, July 31, 2012

That’s right April 25th is National DNA Day.  It was proclaimed by both the US Senate and the House of Representative in 2003 and while you might not have the day off you might want to stop and think about just what DNA has done for us.

DNA Day is a remembrance of the day in 1953 when a gound breaking article on the structure of DNA was published as well as the the day that the Human Genome Project was completed in 2003.

DNA has made big changes in our lives whether we know it or not.  So this April take some time to think about DNA and some of it’s many uses:

1. In archeology DNA helps record genetic information of life on earth many centuries ago. This creates a data base that can be used to learn more about our planets past.

2. Genetic testing is used to determine the paternity or maternity of a child.

3. DNA testing can be used to help create a family tree or genealogical chart. Through genetic data bases one can trace lost relatives or find ancestors. Using both the Y chromosome and Mitochondrial DNA people can use DNA testing to establish ancestral lines (both remain unchanged for generations).

4. Prenatal genetic tests can help doctors determine whether or not the unborn fetus will have certain health problems.

5. DNA tests are also used to help solve murders and other crimes. In recent years many unsolved mysteries have been solved due to new ways of analysis as well as clearing many people found guilty of crimes that the did not commit.

6. DNA testing finds great use in the health field as DNA sometimes is the cause of rare medical conditions or heritable diseases.

7. Genetic testing is used in healths checks. For example it can be used to help determine the presence of viruses or cells that have mutated (causing cancer).

8. DNA tests are often used to reunite lost siblings or families or identify remains of the unknown. The genetics of a person leaves an indelible mark and this is used by police, military and authorities as well as individuals to confirm relationships.

9. DNA tests on new species or on material from outer space help scientists and researchers determine the origins of a species and where they stand with reference to known living forms.

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Lab Focusing on Pacific Island Genetics

posted by DNA Identifiers @ 3:17 PM
Monday, July 30, 2012

In 2009 a new laboratory was opened at the University of Otago it was expected to unlock secrets about the genetic heritage of Pacific people, animals and plants according to scientists and anthropologists.

The ancient DNA laboratory, allows scientists to extract DNA from bones, teeth and plant matter. The DNA will be analyzed using the latest technology, including the university’s $1 million gene sequencing machine which was purchased in 2008. The facility is a joint project between 3 departments.

Ancient DNA did not necessarily mean from antiquity, according to Professor Matisoo-Smith. In scientific terms, ancient means any DNA samples which were not taken from living subjects. Matisoo-Smith did go on to say that some of the samples the laboratory would handle would be thousands of years old.

Already, projects were planned with samples from many parts of New Zealand, several Pacific islands and from Chile.

Representatives of Maori iwi whose ancestors’ DNA will be analysed in the laboratory spoke of their initial reluctance to allow their ancestors’ remains to be analysed because of the intrusiveness of the process.  They did however agree to allow the DNA analysis after discussions with Prof Matisoo-Smith and her staff which allayed their fears.  Both sides are now hoping the laboratory would provide interesting information on how their ancestors lived, what they ate and what they looked like.

Respecting the remains of people from the past was paramount, said Prof Matisoo-Smith. An ultra-clean environment had to be preserved to ensure ancient DNA samples were not contaminated.

In just a year after opening, an international team of researchers, which includes University of Otago archaeologists Chris Jacomb and Richard Walter, successfully isolated ancient DNA from eggshells of extinct birds.

Previous attempts to recover DNA from fossil eggshell have been unsuccessful. Chris Jacomb said, “this new ability to isolate ancient DNA from moa eggshell opens up exciting new research possibilities not just for palaeobiologists, but also for archaeologists. Indeed, it was this potential to address important questions in New Zealand archaeology that drew Associate Professor Walter and me into this international collaboration.”

Using the DNA from the moa’s provides a powerful new tool in understanding how the demise of moa occurred. “Not only can we now match eggshell to particular moa species, we can develop detailed models of hunting practice by looking at the family relationships of individual birds. This will help us understand hunting and extinction processes.”

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