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GM mosquito wild release takes campaigners by surprise
GM mosquitoes were released on the islands last year — but only publicised last month Experts in the safety of genetically modified (GM) organisms have expressed concern over the release of GM mosquitoes into the wild on the Cayman Islands, which was publicised internationally only last month — a year after their initial release. -The trial of the OX513A strain of the dengue-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquito, developed by UK biotechnology company Oxitec, was carried out on Grand Cayman island by the Cayman Islands’ Mosquito Research and Control Unit (MRCU) in 2009, followed by a bigger release between May and October this year. Together they represent the first known release of GM mosquitoes anywhere in the world.-Unpublished results of the trials, showing that the GM male mosquitoes competed with wild males, were presented at the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene annual meeting in the United States, last week (4 November).-The male GM mosquitoes mate with normal females to produce larvae that die unless the antibiotic tetracycline is present. In tetracycline’s absence an enzyme accumulates to a toxic level, killing the larvae. The developers hope the strategy could be combined with other mosquito control methods to reduce transmission in dengue-prone areas.-Ricarda Steinbrecher, a geneticist and co-director of EcoNexus — a UK-based non-profit research organisation — expressed surprise that the trials had occurred, saying that they had not been mentioned at the fifth meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety — which addresses international safety issues relating to GM organisms — in Nagoya, Japan, last month. -She described the lack of publicity surrounding the trials as “worrying, both from the scientific perspective as well as public participation perspective”.-Steinbrecher said that until a full, long-term environmental assessment of the Cayman trials has been carried out, the recently announced Malaysian trials of the same strain should not go ahead. -Just over three million male mosquitoes were released in the Cayman Islands this year. Oxitec sent the GM eggs to the islands, which are a British overseas territory, and they were hatched and grown at the MRCU.-Angela Harris, senior researcher at MRCU, told SciDev.Net that her unit consulted with several Cayman Islands’ government departments beforehand. -“Currently there is a draft biosafety bill, and despite the fact that this bill has not yet been implemented we carried out a risk analysis and review of the trial as if this bill was already in place.”-She said that there had been a newspaper article and public consultation within the Cayman Islands. (Aedes aegypti mosquitoes transmit dengue fever )-Luke Alphey, research director at Oxitec, said an extensive risk analysis was carried out and “we did lots of engagement work in Cayman, but no special effort either to spread the word internationally or not to [do so]”. On the sidelines of a press conference in London today he said that he had not wanted to publicise the trial until the results were known. He did not know what the Nagoya meeting was, he said. An environmental assessment of the trial site is now being carried out.-Alphey said that the experiment complied with the Cartagena Protocol because prior informed consent was obtained from the Cayman government.-John Marshall, of Imperial College London, who has argued that the Cartagena Protocol needs overhauling to deal with the special demands of GM insects, said: “Because the mosquitoes aren’t going to spread to other countries, it’s a national issue. I think Oxitec has done everything they needed to do.” -The wild mosquito population in a 16-hectare urban area is believed to have been reduced by about 80 per cent. The next step for Oxitec, said Alphey, is to test the strategy in conjunction with other mosquito control methods. -Kathy Jo Wetter, a researcher with the ETC Group (Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Cooperation), a Canada-based organisation that promotes the socially responsible development of technologies, said ETC was unaware of the release.-“Oxitec considers its trial ‘successful’ just days after the experiment has ended,” she said. “But unintended impacts on the environment cannot be known, and Oxitec’s unproven technology could make things worse in the long term. There is no possibility of recall if something goes wrong — who takes responsibility in that case?”-“Extreme techno-fixes require extreme precaution,” she added. -Alphey said they are waiting for approval for the release of GM mosquitoes in Brazil, Panama and the United States.
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Tomato juice can reduce osteoporosis
Tomato juice can significantly increase the presence of cell-protecting antioxidants that help to fight against osteoporosis, according to new research. -Writing in Osteoporosis International, calcium researchers at the University of Toronto (UT) claim that 30mg of lycopene found in tomatoes – the equivalent to two glasses of tomato juice – is enough to help prevent the brittle-bone disease. —The study was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Research and Development Departments of Genuine Health, Heinz, Millenium Biologix, Kagome (Japan), and LycoRed.
Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is characterised by low bone mass, which leads to an increase risk of fractures, especially the hips, spine and wrists. An estimated 75 million people suffer from it in Europe, the US and Japan. –Women are four times more likely to develop osteoporosis than men and previous research indicates that diabetes decreases bone turnover that is associated with impaired osteoblastic maturation and function. –According to the International Osteoporosis.
Lycopenes
Lycopene is the red pigment in tomatoes and several fruits. According to the UT scientists, it is a potent carotenoid – a group of naturally occurring pigments essential for plant growth – with a high ability to quench singlet oxygen. -Due to this ability to decrease oxidative stress, lycopene has been associated with a decreased risk of chronic diseases. -The researchers claims that to date, no intervention studies have been published demonstrating the effect of the antioxidant lycopene on bone, and that the aim of the study thus was to determine whether lycopene would act as an antioxidant to decrease oxidative stress parameters that result in decreased bone turnover markers.
Methodology and results
Post-menopausal women aged 50 to 60 were restricted from consuming anything containing lycopene for a month. –The participants were split into four groups over four months. Each group of participants either consumed a 15mg lycopene supplement, a glass of tomato juice naturally containing 15mg of lycopene, a gourmet Japanese tomato juice with 35mg of lycopene or a placebo. –Serum collected after the washout, 2 and 4 months of supplementation, was assayed for cross-linked aminoterminal N-telopeptide, carotenoid content, total antioxidant capacity (TAC), lipid, and protein oxidation, added the authors. –By the end of the initial lycopene-free month, in every participant, “There was an increased reobsorption of bone. In other words, within a month, the participants were more prone to the risk of osteoporosis,” says Leticia Rao, director of the Calcium Research Laboratory who conducted the study. -After four months, results showed that lycopene-supplementation had significantly increased serum lycopene compared to the placebo group. -The lycopene groups had significantly increased antioxidant capacity, decreased oxidative stress parameters and decreased bone reobsorption markers. –The results of the study, concluded the researchers, showed a significant increase in serum lycopene after supplementation with juice or lycopene based capsules, which resulted in a decrease in the bone resorption marker NTx in postmenopausal women: –“This reduction in NTx may be due to the ability of the absorbed lycopene to reduce the oxidative stress parameters in these women. Our findings are the first to show that lycopene intervention, given in capsule or juice form, supplying at least 30 mg/day, may decrease the risk of osteoporosis by decreasing oxidative stress and bone resorption.” Source: Osteoporosis International –Published online ahead of print: 10.1007/s00198-010-1308-0 Title: Supplementation with the antioxidant lycopene significantly decreases oxidative stress parameters and the bone resorption marker N-telopeptide of type I collagen in postmenopausal women Authors: E. S. Mackinnon, A. V. Rao, R. G. Josse and L. G. Rao
 
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Recipe for lycopene—Lycopene from any red sourced cartenoid will be better absorbed with the use of fat such as olive oils or even almond—heat the 2 material together to bring out the better yield of lycopene –which will reduce what you have to take to get the same effect—or get a glass of tomato paste and add 1 table spoon to 1 tablespoon of oil –heat together in a pan or a glass jar as a double broiler—allow he heat to fuse the 2 –when done use a 1/5 a teaspoon several times a day
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