US retiring chimps from medical research

US begins retiring most chimps, human’s closest relatives, from medical research:

 

US begins retiring most chimps, human's closest relatives, from medical research

US begins retiring most chimps, human’s closest relatives, from medical research

 

The National Institutes of Health plans to end most use of chimpanzees in U.S. government medical research, saying humans’ closest relatives “deserve special respect.”

Much of the rest of the world already had ended such research.

The NIH announced Wednesday that it will retire about 310 government-owned chimpanzees from research over the next few years, and keep only 50 others essentially on retainer — available if needed for crucial medical studies that could be performed no other way.

“These amazing animals have taught us a great deal already,” said NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins. He said the decision helps usher in “a compassionate era.”

The NIH’s decision was long expected, after the prestigious Institute of Medicine declared in 2011 that nearly all use of chimps for invasive medical research no longer can be justified.

“This is an historic moment and major turning point for chimpanzees in laboratories, some who have been languishing in concrete housing for over 50 years,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. “It is crucial now to ensure that the release of hundreds of chimpanzees to sanctuary becomes a reality.”

Any future biomedical research funded by the NIH with chimps, government-owned or not, would be allowed only under strict conditions after review by a special advisory board. In five years, the NIH will reassess if even that group of 50 government-owned apes still is needed for science.

What’s unclear is exactly where the retiring chimps, which have spent their lives in research facilities around the country, now will spend their final years. NIH said they could eventually join more than 150 other chimps already in the national sanctuary system operated by Chimp Haven in the state of Louisiana. In that habitat, the chimps can socialize at will, climb trees and explore different play areas.

But NIH officials said currently there’s not enough space to handle all of the 310 destined for retirement. They’re exploring additional locations, and noted that some research facilities that currently house government-owned chimps have habitats similar to the sanctuary system.

The other hurdle is money: Congress limited how much the NIH can spend on caring for chimps in the sanctuary system. Negotiations are under way to shift money the agency has spent housing the animals in research facilities toward supporting their retirement.

“Everybody should understand this is not something that is going to happen quickly,” Collins cautioned.

One chimp center, the Texas Biomedical Research Institute, said keeping just 50 of the animals for ongoing research isn’t enough and could hamper efforts to fight not just human illnesses but diseases that kill apes, too.

Moreover, moving retired chimpanzees to the federal sanctuary “would take them away from their caregivers, many of whom they have known all of their lives,” said an institute statement that argued the animals would fare better if they stayed put.

The NIH’s decision came two weeks after the Fish and Wildlife Service called for protection of all chimpanzees as endangered. Until now there was a “split listing” that labeled wild chimps as endangered but those in captivity as threatened, a status that offers less protection.

That move also would affect any future use of chimps in medical research, and NIH said it would work with its government counterpart to ensure compliance.

Chimps rarely have been used for drug testing or other invasive research in recent years; studies of chimp behavior or genetics are a bit more common. Of nine biomedical projects under way, the NIH said six would be ended early. Of another 13 behavioral or genetic studies involving chimps, five would be ended early. NIH would not identify the projects, but Collins said potential future need for chimps could be in creating a vaccine against hepatitis C.

500-Million-Year-Old Gene Resurrected

Scientists Place 500-Million-Year-Old Gene in Modern Organism:

Scientists Place 500-Million-Year-Old Gene in Modern Organism

Scientists Place 500-Million-Year-Old Gene in Modern Organism

It’s a project 500 million years in the making. Only this time, instead of playing on a movie screen in Jurassic Park, it’s happening in a lab at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

 

Using a process called paleo-experimental evolution, Georgia Tech researchers have resurrected a 500-million-year-old gene from bacteria and inserted it into modern-day Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria. This bacterium has now been growing for more than 1,000 generations, giving the scientists a front row seat to observe evolution in action.

“This is as close as we can get to rewinding and replaying the molecular tape of life,” said scientist Betül Kaçar, a NASA astrobiology postdoctoral fellow in Georgia Tech’s NASA Center for Ribosomal Origins and Evolution. “The ability to observe an ancient gene in a modern organism as it evolves within a modern cell allows us to see whether the evolutionary trajectory once taken will repeat itself or whether a life will adapt following a different path.”

In 2008, Kaçar’s postdoctoral advisor, Associate Professor of Biology Eric Gaucher, successfully determined the ancient genetic sequence of Elongation Factor-Tu (EF-Tu), an essential protein in E. coli. EFs are one of the most abundant proteins in bacteria, found in all known cellular life and required for bacteria to survive. That vital role made it a perfect protein for the scientists to answer questions about evolution.

After achieving the difficult task of placing the ancient gene in the correct chromosomal order and position in place of the modern gene within E. coli, Kaçar produced eight identical bacterial strains and allowed “ancient life” to re-evolve. This chimeric bacteria composed of both modern and ancient genes survived, but grew about two times slower than its counterpart composed of only modern genes.

“The altered organism wasn’t as healthy or fit as its modern-day version, at least initially,” said Gaucher, “and this created a perfect scenario that would allow the altered organism to adapt and become more fit as it accumulated mutations with each passing day.”

The growth rate eventually increased and, after the first 500 generations, the scientists sequenced the genomes of all eight lineages to determine how the bacteria adapted. Not only did the fitness levels increase to nearly modern-day levels, but also some of the altered lineages actually became healthier than their modern counterpart.

When the researchers looked closer, they noticed that every EF-Tu gene did not accumulate mutations. Instead, the modern proteins that interact with the ancient EF-Tu inside of the bacteria had mutated and these mutations were responsible for the rapid adaptation that increased the bacteria’s fitness. In short, the ancient gene has not yet mutated to become more similar to its modern form, but rather, the bacteria found a new evolutionary trajectory to adapt.

The results were presented at the recent NASA International Astrobiology Science Conference. The scientists will continue to study new generations, waiting to see if the protein will follow its historical path or whether it will adopt via a novel path altogether.

“We think that this process will allow us to address several longstanding questions in evolutionary and molecular biology,” said Kaçar. “Among them, we want to know if an organism’s history limits its future and if evolution always leads to a single, defined point or whether evolution has multiple solutions to a given problem.”

Mutations Triggered Evolutionary Leap 500 Million Years Ago

Two Mutations Triggered an Evolutionary Leap 500 Million Years Ago:

Two Mutations Triggered an Evolutionary Leap 500 Million Years Ago

Two Mutations Triggered an Evolutionary Leap 500 Million Years Ago

A research team led by a University of Chicago scientist has discovered two key mutations that sparked a hormonal revolution 500 million years ago.

In a feat of “molecular time travel,” the researchers resurrected and analyzed the functions of the ancestors of genes that play key roles in modern human reproduction, development, immunity and cancer. By re-creating the same DNA changes that occurred during those genes’ ancient history, the team showed that two mutations set the stage for hormones like estrogen, testosterone and cortisol to take on their crucial present-day roles.

“Changes in just two letters of the genetic code in our deep evolutionary past caused a massive shift in the function of one protein and set in motion the evolution of our present-day hormonal and reproductive systems,” said Joe Thornton, PhD, professor of human genetics and ecology & evolution at the University of Chicago, who led the study.

“If those two mutations had not happened, our bodies today would have to use different mechanisms to regulate pregnancy, libido, the response to stress, kidney function, inflammation, and the development of male and female characteristics at puberty,” Thornton said.

Understanding how the genetic code of a protein determines its functions would allow biochemists to better design drugs and predict the effects of mutations on disease. Thornton said the discovery shows how evolutionary analysis of proteins’ histories can advance this goal, Before the group’s work, it was not previously known how the various steroid receptors in modern species distinguish estrogens from other hormones.

The team, which included researchers from the University of Oregon, Emory University and the Scripps Research Institute, studied the evolution of a family of proteins called steroid hormone receptors, which mediate the effects of hormones on reproduction, development and physiology. Without receptor proteins, these hormones cannot affect the body’s cells.

Thornton’s group traced how the ancestor of the entire receptor family — which recognized only estrogens — evolved into descendant proteins capable of recognizing other steroid hormones, such as testosterone, progesterone and the stress hormone cortisol.

To do so, the group used a gene “resurrection” strategy. They first inferred the genetic sequences of ancient receptor proteins, using computational methods to work their way back up the tree of life from a database of hundreds of present-day receptor sequences. They then biochemically synthesized these ancient DNA sequences and used molecular assays to determine the receptors’ sensitivity to various hormones.

Thornton’s team narrowed down the time range during which the capacity to recognize non-estrogen steroids evolved, to a period about 500 million years ago, before the dawn of vertebrate animals on Earth. They then identified the most important mutations that occurred during that interval by introducing them into the reconstructed ancestral proteins. By measuring how the mutations affected the receptor’s structure and function, the team could re-create ancient molecular evolution in the laboratory.

They found that just two changes in the ancient receptor’s gene sequence caused a 70,000-fold shift in preference away from estrogens toward other steroid hormones. The researchers also used biophysical techniques to identify the precise atomic-level mechanisms by which the mutations affected the protein’s functions. Although only a few atoms in the protein were changed, this radically rewired the network of interactions between the receptor and the hormone, leading to a massive change in function.

“Our findings show that new molecular functions can evolve by sudden large leaps due to a few tiny changes in the genetic code,” Thornton said. He pointed out that, along with the two key changes in the receptor, additional mutations, the precise effects of which are not yet known, were necessary for the full effects of hormone signaling on the body to evolve.

Federal Reserve Corruption

World Bank Insider Blows Whistle on Federal Reserve:

World Bank Insider Blows Whistle on Corruption, Federal Reserve

World Bank Insider Blows Whistle on Corruption, Federal Reserve

A former insider at the World Bank, ex-Senior Counsel Karen Hudes, says the global financial system is dominated by a small group of corrupt, power-hungry figures centered around the privately owned U.S. Federal Reserve. The network has seized control of the media to cover up its crimes, too, she explained. In an interview with The New American, Hudes said that when she tried to blow the whistle on multiple problems at the World Bank, she was fired for her efforts. Now, along with a network of fellow whistleblowers, Hudes is determined to expose and end the corruption. And she is confident of success. 

Citing an explosive 2011 Swiss study published in the PLOS ONE journal on the “network of global corporate control,” Hudes pointed out that a small group of entities — mostly financial institutions and especially central banks — exert a massive amount of influence over the international economy from behind the scenes. “What is really going on is that the world’s resources are being dominated by this group,” she explained, adding that the “corrupt power grabbers” have managed to dominate the media as well. “They’re being allowed to do it.”

According to the peer-reviewed paper, which presented the first global investigation of ownership architecture in the international economy, transnational corporations form a “giant bow-tie structure.” A large portion of control, meanwhile, “flows to a small tightly-knit core of financial institutions.” The researchers described the core as an “economic ‘super-entity’” that raises important issues for policymakers and researchers. Of course, the implications are enormous for citizens as well.

Hudes, an attorney who spent some two decades working in the World Bank’s legal department, has observed the machinations of the network up close. “I realized we were now dealing with something known as state capture, which is where the institutions of government are co-opted by the group that’s corrupt,” she told The New American in a phone interview. “The pillars of the U.S. government — some of them — are dysfunctional because of state capture; this is a big story, this is a big cover up.”

At the heart of the network, Hudes said, are 147 financial institutions and central banks — especially the Federal Reserve, which was created by Congress but is owned by essentially a cartel of private banks. “This is a story about how the international financial system was secretly gamed, mostly by central banks — they’re the ones we are talking about,” she explained. “The central bankers have been gaming the system. I would say that this is a power grab.”

The Fed in particular is at the very center of the network and the coverup, Hudes continued, citing a policy and oversight body that includes top government and Fed officials. Central bankers have also been manipulating gold prices, she added, echoing widespread concerns that The New American has documented extensively. Indeed, even the inaccurate World Bank financial statements that Hudes has been trying to expose are linked to the U.S. central bank, she said. 

“The group that we’re talking about from the Zurich study — that’s the Federal Reserve; it has some other pieces to it, but that’s the Federal Reserve,” Hudes explained. “So the Federal Reserve secretly dominated the world economy using secret, interlocking corporate directorates, and terrorizing anybody who managed to figure out that they were having any kind of role, and putting people in very important positions so that they could get a free pass.”

The shadowy but immensely powerful Bank for International Settlements serves as “the club of these private central bankers,” Hudes continued. “Now, are people going to want interest on their country’s debts to continue to be paid to that group when they find out the secret tricks that that group has been doing? Don’t forget how they’ve enriched themselves extraordinarily and how they’ve taken taxpayer money for the bailout.”

As far as intervening in the gold price, Hudes said it was an effort by the powerful network and its central banks to “hold onto its paper currency” — a suspicion shared by many analysts and even senior government officials. The World Bank whistleblower also said that contrary to official claims, she did not believe there was any gold being held in Fort Knox. Even congressmen and foreign governments have tried to find out if the precious metals were still there, but they met with little success. Hudes, however, believes the scam will eventually come undone.

“This is like crooks trying to figure out where they can go hide. It’s a mafia,” she said. “These culprits that have grabbed all this economic power have succeeded in infiltrating both sides of the issue, so you will find people who are supposedly trying to fight corruption who are just there to spread disinformation and as a placeholder to trip up anybody who manages to get their act together.… Those thugs think that if they can keep the world ignorant, they can bleed it longer.”

Of course, the major corruption at the highest levels of government and business is not a new phenomenon. Georgetown University historian and Professor Carroll Quigley, who served as President Bill Clinton’s mentor, for example, wrote about the scheme in his 1966 book Tragedy And Hope: A History Of The World In Our Time. The heavyweight academic, who was allowed to review documents belonging to the top echelons of the global establishment, even explained how the corrupt system would work — remarkably similar to what Hudes describes.

“The powers of financial capitalism had a far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole,” wrote Prof. Quigley, who agreed with the goals but not the secrecy. “This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations.”

But it is not going to happen, Hudes said — at least not if she has something do to with it. While the media are dominated by the “power grabber” network, Hudes has been working with foreign governments, reporters, U.S. officials, state governments, and a broad coalition of fellow whistleblowers to blow the entire scam wide open. There has been quite a bit of interest, too, particularly among foreign governments and state officials in the United States.

Citing the wisdom of America’s Founding Fathers in creating a federal system of government with multiple layers of checks and balances, Hudes said she was confident that the network would eventually be exposed and subjected to the rule of law, stopping the secret corruption. If and when that happens — even if it may be disorderly — Hudes says precious metals will once again play a role in imposing discipline on the monetary system. The rule of law would also be restored, she said, and the public will demand a proper press to stay informed.

“We’re going to have a cleaned-up financial system, that’s where it is going, but in the meantime, people who didn’t know how the system was gamed are going to find out,” she said. “We’re going to have a different kind of international financial system…. It’ll be a new kind of world where people know what’s going on — no more backroom deals; that’s not going to keep happening. We’re going to have a different kind of media if people don’t want to be dominated and controlled, which I don’t think they do.”

While Hudes sounded upbeat, she recognizes that the world is facing serious danger right now — there are even plans in place to impose martial law in the United States, she said. The next steps will be critical for humanity. As such, Hudes argues, it is crucial that the people of the world find out about the lawlessness, corruption, and thievery that are going on at the highest levels — and put a stop to it once and for all. The consequences of inaction would be disastrous.  

Federal Reserve:

Internet kill’s brains

Does The Internet Make You Dumb? Top German Neuroscientist Says Yes – And Forever:

Does The Internet Make You Dumb? Top German Neuroscientist Says Yes - And Forever

Does The Internet Make You Dumb? Top German Neuroscientist Says Yes – And Forever

Dr. Manfred Spitzer knows that people find his arguments provocative. In his first book, he warned parents of the very real dangers of letting their children spend too much time in front of the TV. Now, in a second book called Digitale Demenz [Digital Dementia], he’s telling them that teaching young kids finger-counting games is much better for them than letting them explore on a laptop.

Spitzer, 54, may be a member of the slide-rule generation that learned multiplication tables by heart, but his work as a neuropsychiatrist has shown him that when young children spend too much time using a computer, their brain development suffers and that the deficits are irreversible and cannot be made up for later in life.

South Korean doctors were the first to describe this phenomenon, and dubbed it digital dementia – whence the title of Spitzer’s book. Simplistically, the message can be summed up this way: the Internet makes you dumb. And it is of course a message that outrages all those who feel utterly comfortable in the digital world. In the aftermath of the publication of Spitzer’s book, they have lost no time venting their wrath across Germany.

And yet Spitzer has accumulated a wealth of scientific information that gives his thesis solid underpinnings, and the studies and data he draws on offer more than enough room for consternation.

Everything leaves traces in the brain

According to his study, many young people today use more than one medium at a time: they place calls while playing computer games or writing e-mails. That means that some of them are packing 8.5 hours of media use per day into 6.5 hours. Multitasking like this comes at the cost of concentration – experiments by American researchers have established this. And to Spitzer, those results mean just one thing: “Multitasking is not something we should be encouraging in future generations.”

Because everything a person does leaves traces in the brain. When development is optimum, memory links are formed and built on during the first months and years of life, and the structure adds up to a kind of basic foundation for everything else we learn. Scientists call this ability of the brain to adjust to new challenges “neuroplasticity.” It is one of the reasons for the evolutionary success of the human species. Spitzer also sees it as a source of present danger.

When drivers depend exclusively on their navigation technology, they do not develop the ability to orient themselves, although of course the brain offers them the possibility of learning how to do so. The same applies to children who use electronic styluses on a SMART board instead of learning how to write — the brain is kept in check. And because computers take over many classrooms and other functions that are actually good practice for kids, “it inevitably has a negative effect on learning,” Spitzer argues.

Digital media should be banned from classrooms

Stating that there have so far been no independent studies “that unequivocally establish that computers and screens in the classroom makes learning any more effective,” Spitzer goes so far as to recommend that digital media be banned from the classroom. Even more drastically, he writes: “In reality, using digital media in kindergarten or primary school is actually a way of getting children addicted.” Strong stuff for the generations who take computers and the Internet for granted, using them as a source of information and a space to communicate via social networks — and who enjoy doing so. The Internet has become the fourth cultural technology, alongside reading, writing and arithmetic.

Spitzer quotes Swiss pedagogue and educational reformer Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746-1827), who wrote that the process of learning involves the heart along with the brain and the hands. He believes it would be better if kids learned finger games to help them deal with numbers, instead of relying on computers. In a country like Germany, whose major resource is smart people and innovative ideas, maybe we should be taking Spitzer’s warnings more seriously.

What the internet is doing to our Brains:

MONSANTO Were Jewish Slave Dealers And Owners

MONSANTO Family Were Jewish Slave Dealers And Owners:

MONSANTO Family Were Jewish Slave Dealers And Owners

MONSANTO Family Were Jewish Slave Dealers And Owners

The Jewish Monsanto Family of Louisiana included Benjamin, Isaac, Manuel, Eleanora, Gracia and Jacob. They made frequent purchases of Blacks including twelve in 1785, thirteen and then thirty-one in 1787, and eighty in 1768.

In 1794, Benjamin sold “Babet,” a Black woman, to Franco Cardel. Manuel sold two Blacks from Guinea named “Polidor” and “Lucy” to James Saunders for $850 in silver.

As individuals they were owners of Africans whom they named “Quetelle,” “Valentin,” “Baptiste,” “Prince,” “Princess,” “Ceasar,” “Dolly,” “Jen,” “Fanchonet,” “Rozetta,” “Mamy,” “Sofia,” and many others. Isaac repeatedly mortgaged four of these when in financial trouble. Benjamin Monsanto of Natchez, Mississippi entered into at least 6 contracts for the sale of his slaves which would take place after his death. Gracia bequeathed nine Africans to her relatives in her 1790 will, and Eleanora also held Blacks as slaves.

Manuel Jacob Monsanto entered into at least 12 contracts for sale of slaves between 1787 and 1789 in Natchez and New Orleans, Louisiana.1135 “His family consists of himself and seven Negroes.”1136 Later, “Jacob Monsanto, son of Isaac Rodrigues Monsanto, one of the very first known Jews to settle in New Orleans, owner of a several-hundred-acre plantation at Manchac, fell in love with his slave, Mamy or Maimi William. Their daughter Sophia, grew up to be a lovely quadroon.” An excerpt of one of Benjamin’s many slave contracts follows:

“Be it known to all to whom these presents shall come, that I Benjamin Monsanto do really and effectually sell to Henry Manadu a negro wench named “Judy,” aged Eighteen years, native of Guinea, for the sum of four hundred Dollars in all the month of January in the year one thousand Seven hundred and ninety one; and paying interest at the rate of ten per cent for the remaining two hundred and fifty Dollars until paid; said negro wench being and remaining mortgaged until final payment shall have been made; wherewith I acknowledge to be fully satisfied and content, hereby renouncing the plea of non numerata pecunia, fraud, or others in the case Whatsoever; granting formal receipt for the same. For which said consideration I do hereby resign all right, title, possession and claim, in and to the said Slave, all of which I transfer and convey to the Said Purchaser and his assigns, to be, as his own, held and enjoyed, and when fully paid for, Sold, exchanged, or otherwise alienated at pleasure in virtue of these presents granted in his favor in token of real delivery, without other proof of property being required, from which he is hereby released, binding myself to maintain the validity of this present sale in full form and right in favor of the Purchaser aforesaid, and granting authority to the Justices of his Majesty to compel me to the performance of the same as if Judgment had already been given therein, renouncing all laws, rights, and privileges in my favor whatsoever. And I the said Henry Manadu being present, do hereby accept this Instrument in my favor, receiving said negro Wench as purchased in the form and for the consideration therein mentioned and contained, wherewith I am fully satisfied and content, hereby renouncing the plea of non numerato pecunia, fraud, or other considerations in the case Whatsoever; granting formal receipt for the same. Done and executed, in testimony thereof, at the post of Natchez, this nineteenth day of the month of February in the year one thousand seven hundred and ninety….”

Benjamin Monsanto, sold land and “a Dwelling House, Store, and two other buildings, for which I have received payment in a negro, named ‘Nat;’ to my full satisfaction.” Another contract stipulated “that Don Louis Faure is bound to defend the said sale in case the negro shall be claimed by any other Person.” In a 1792 contract, Benjamin mortgaged his Black slaves: “I do hereby specially mortgage three slaves to me belonging, namely Eugene and Louis, aged twenty four years each, the first named of the Senegal nation and the second of the Congo nation; and a Negro Woman named Adelaide, aged twenty eight years, also of the Congo nation; which said slaves I warrant free from mortgage or other incumbrance, as I have made appear by certificate from the Recorder of mortgages; and which said slaves I promise and engage shall not be sold nor otherwise alienated during the term of this obligation…”

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The following Jews were known dealers, owners, shippers or supporters of the slave trade and of the enslavement of Black African citizens in early New York history.

Issack Asher, Jacob Barsimson, Joseph Bueno, Solomon Myers Cohen, Jacob Fonseca, Aberham Franckfort, Jacob Franks, Daniel Gomez, David Gomez, Isaac Gomez, Lewis Gomez, Mordecai Gomez, Rebekah Gomez, Ephraim Hart, Judah Hays, Harmon Hendricks, Uriah Hendricks, Uriah Hyam, Abraham Isaacs, Joshua Isaacs, Samuel Jacobs, Benjamin S. Judah, Cary Judah, Elizabeth Judah, Arthur Levy, Eleazar Levy, Hayman Levy, Isaac H. Levy, Jacob Levy, Joseph Israel Levy, Joshua Levy, Moses Levy, Uriah Phillips Levy, Isaac R. Marques, Moses Michaels, (E)Manuel Myers, Seixas Nathan, Simon Nathan, Rodrigo Pacheco, David Pardo, Isaac Pinheiro, Rachel Pinto, Morris Jacob, Raphall Abraham Sarzedas, Moses Seixas, Solomon Simpson, Nathan Simson, Simja De Torres, Benjamin Wolf, Alexander Zuntz

Death Of Monsanto’s Seeds: