Category: Mutation


democracynow democracynow

Published on Feb 21, 2014 – We speak with a University of California scientist Tyrone Hayes, who discovered a widely used herbicide may have harmful effects on the endocrine system. But when he tried to publish the results, the chemical’s manufacturer launched a campaign to discredit his work. Hayes was first hired in 1997 by a company, which later became agribusiness giant Syngenta, to study their product, Atrazine, a pesticide that is applied to more than half the corn crops in the United States, and widely used on golf courses and Christmas tree farms. When Hayes found results Syngenta did not expect — that Atrazine causes sexual abnormalities in frogs, and could cause the same problems for humans — it refused to allow him to publish his findings. A new article in The New Yorker magazine uses court documents from a class-action lawsuit against Syngenta to show how it sought to smear Hayes’ reputation and prevent the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from banning the profitable chemical, which is already banned by the European Union.

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Pathogenic plant virus jumps to honeybees

by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Jan 24, 2014

Toxic viral cocktails appear to have a strong link with honey bee Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a mysterious malady that abruptly wiped out entire hives across the United States and was first reported in 2006. Israel Acute Paralysis Virus (IAPV), Acute Bee Paralysis Virus (ABPV), Chronic Paralysis Virus (CPV), Kashmir Bee Virus (KBV), Deformed Wing Bee Virus (DWV), Black Queen Cell Virus (BQCV) and Sacbrood Virus (SBV) are other known causes of honeybee viral disease.

Researchers working in the U.S. and Beijing, China report their findings in mBio, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

The routine screening of bees for frequent and rare viruses “resulted in the serendipitous detection of Tobacco Ringspot Virus, or TRSV, and prompted an investigation into whether this plant-infecting virus could also cause systemic infection in the bees,” says Yan Ping Chen from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, an author on the study.

“The results of our study provide the first evidence that honeybees exposed to virus-contaminated pollen can also be infected and that the infection becomes widespread in their bodies,” says lead author Ji Lian Li, at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science in Beijing.

“We already know that honeybees, Apis melllifera, can transmit TRSV when they move from flower to flower, likely spreading the virus from one plant to another,” Chen adds.

Notably, about 5% of known plant viruses are pollen-transmitted and thus potential sources of host-jumping viruses. RNA viruses tend to be particularly dangerous because they lack the 3′-5′ proofreading function which edits out errors in replicated genomes. As a result, viruses such as TRSV generate a flood of variant copies with differing infective properties.

One consequence of such high replication rates are populations of RNA viruses thought to exist as “quasispecies,” clouds of genetically related variants that appear to work together to determine the pathology of their hosts. These sources of genetic diversity, coupled with large population sizes, further facilitate the adaption of RNA viruses to new selective conditions such as those imposed by novel hosts. “Thus, RNA viruses are a likely source of emerging and reemerging infectious diseases,” explain these researchers.

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Bee Deaths May Stem From Virus, Study Says

The mysterious mass die-offs of honeybees that have wiped out roughly a third of commercial colonies each year since 2006 may be linked to a rapidly mutating virus that jumped from tobacco plants to soy plants to bees, according to a new study.

The research, reported Tuesday in the online version of the academic journal mBio, found that the increase in honeybee deaths that generally starts in autumn and peaks in winter was correlated with increasing infections by a variant of the tobacco ringspot virus.

The virus is found in pollen that bees pick up while foraging, and it may be spread as the bees mix saliva and nectar with pollen to make “bee bread” for larvae to eat. Mites that feed on the bees may also be involved in transmitting the virus, the researchers said.

Among the study’s authors are leading researchers investigating the bee deaths at the Agriculture Department’s laboratories in Beltsville, Md., as well as experts at American universities and at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing.

Their research offers one explanation for the phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder, in which bees have died at more than twice the usual rate since it was identified seven years ago. But most researchers, including the study’s authors, suspect that a host of viruses, parasites and, perhaps, other factors like pesticides are working in combination to weaken colonies and increase the death rate.

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Anthony Gucciardi Anthony Gucciardi

Published on Jan 8, 2014

Anthony Gucciardi joins The Alex Jones Show to break down the reality that a whopping 78% of the Fukushima radioactive waste material was deposited in the Pacific Ocean and how a wave of radiation is indeed on course for the West Coast.


Raw: Conjoined Whales Discovered, Dead

AssociatedPress AssociatedPress

Published on Jan 8, 2014

Rare conjoined grey whale calves were discovered on Monday in a Mexican Lagoon. This could be the first documented case of its kind. (Jan. 9)


Fishermen have found two conjoined gray whale calves in a northwestern Mexican lagoon, a discovery that a government marine biologist described as "exceptionally rare."

Two conjoined gray whale calves found by fishermen in the Ojo de Liebre lagoon, in Baja California, Mexico, on January 5.


Jane J. Lee

National Geographic

Published January 8, 2014

Scientists made an unexpected discovery on January 5 when they found the bodies of two conjoined gray whale calves (Eschrichtius robustus)floating inLaguna Ojo de Liebre (map) in Baja California.

The conjoined twins—also known as Siamese twins—measured aboutseven toten feet (two to three meters) in length, according to several reports. That’s shorter than the usual 12- to 16-foot (3.6- to 4.8-meter) length of full-term gray whale calves.

Gray whale gestation lasts for 13.5 months, saidJim Dines, collections manager of mammals at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County in California. So the conjoined twins were probably between 8.5 and 10.5 months of age when they were born, he noted.

Dines cautions that those ages are only estimates based on the lengths of single fetuses. “In the case of twins, the mother has to provide nourishment for two growing fetuses and that may result in two slightly smaller fetuses rather than one normal-sized one,” he explained.

“These were pretty sizeable,” Dines said. “There’s a fair chance the mother was trying to deliver them and couldn’t.”

Researchers who made the find in Mexico didn’t spot the mother, so it’s unclear whether she survived or not.

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Published on Oct 26, 2013

October 26, 2013 KING 5 News


Sea stars are wasting away in larger numbers on a wider scale in two oceans

Sea stars off the nation’s eastern and western coasts are dying in large numbers and in the most undignified ways. Their colorful limbs are curling up at the tips. Squiggly arms are detaching from dying bodies like tails from lizards and wiggling until they also drop dead. Ulcers are opening holes in tissue, allowing internal organs to ooze out.


This time lapse shows a quarantined sea star over a seven-hour period. Living in the Vancouver Aquarium, this sea star was exhibiting symptoms similar to the early stages of the mysterious wasting outbreak observed in nearby waters.

This time lapse shows a quarantined sea star over a seven-hour period. Living in the Vancouver Aquarium, this sea star was exhibiting symptoms similar to the early stages of the mysterious wasting outbreak observed in nearby waters.

Dying sea stars: Sea star wasting syndrome is devastating populations of the creatures.

Click Here to View Full Graphic Story

Dying sea stars: Sea star wasting syndrome is devastating populations of the creatures.

Marine scientists say the sea stars are under attack by an unknown wasting disease that turns their bodies to goo, and the results are gruesome, nasty and grisly.

All along the Pacific coast, sea stars are experiencing their largest known die-off, which is affecting more species of sea stars than any other attack in recent memory, biologists said. A smaller and isolated Atlantic outbreak, at points off Rhode Island and Maine, has also been noted.

Formerly known as starfish — a term scientists rejected because they’re more like a sea urchin than a fish — sea stars have been killed by disease several times over the past few decades. But each of those events affected only a single species, marine scientists said, not up to seven, as the new plague has. Divers have previously reported mass sea star deaths in warmer waters south of Santa Barbara, Calif., but not in waters as cool as those of Washington’s Puget Sound.

Scientists disagree slightly on the potential ecological impacts of the current die-off. Sea stars control mussel populations by relentlessly eating them. In their absence, mussels may proliferate and ruin portions of undersea kelp forests that hide small fish from predators and help protect coastal areas from sea surge and storm flooding.

That impact “is very unlikely,” said John Pearse, a professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California at Santa Cruz, who believes scientists will figure the problem out before it gets out of control.

But a colleague who is closely studying the disease isn’t so sure. “We are at the onset of the outbreak,” said Pete Raimondi, chair of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Santa Cruz.

More important, said Drew Harvell, a Cornell University professor of ecology and evolutionary biology who studies marine diseases, “these kinds of events are sentinels of change. When you get an event like this, I think everybody will say it’s an extreme event and it’s pretty important to figure out what’s going on.”

Scientists do know that wasting is happening on both coasts, but they don’t know if the two die-offs are linked. They know that tens of thousands of sunflower stars have perished in British Columbia alone since the summer, but they don’t know exactly how many or every place there’s a disease outbreak.

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