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The Evolutionary Perspective
Daily Archives: December 1, 2019
Posted: December 1, 2019 at 9:50 pm
Genetic engineering is a term that was first introduced into our language in the 1970s to describe the emerging field of recombinant DNA technology and some of the things that were going on. As most people who read textbooks and things know, recombinant DNA technology started with pretty simple things--cloning very small pieces of DNA and growing them in bacteria--and has evolved to an enormous field where whole genomes can be cloned and moved from cell to cell, to cell using variations of techniques that all would come under genetic engineering as a very broad definition. To me, genetic engineering, broadly defined, means that you are taking pieces of DNA and combining them with other pieces of DNA. [This] doesn't really happen in nature, but is something that you engineer in your own laboratory and test tubes. And then taking what you have engineered and propagating that in any number of different organisms that range from bacterial cells to yeast cells, to plants and animals. So while there isn't a precise definition of genetic engineering, I think it more defines an entire field of recombinant DNA technology, genomics, and genetics in the 2000s.
This microbe no longer needs to eat food to grow, thanks to a bit of genetic engineering – Science Magazine
Posted: at 9:50 pm
An engineered version of this Escherichia coli bacterium gets all the carbon it needs to grow from carbon dioxide, just like plants.
By Robert F. ServiceNov. 27, 2019 , 11:00 AM
Synthetic biologists have performed a biochemical switcheroo. Theyve re-engineered a bacterium that normally eats a diet of simple sugars into one that builds its cells by absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2), much like plants. The work could lead to engineered microbes that suck CO2 out of the air and turn it into medicines and other high-value compounds.
The implications of this are profound, says Dave Savage, a biochemist at the University of California, Berkeley, who was not involved with the work. Such advances, he says, could ultimately make us change the way we teach biochemistry.
Biologists typically break the world up into two types of organisms: autotrophs like plants and some bacteria that mostly use photosynthesis to convert CO2 into sugars and other organic compounds they need to build their cells. Meanwhile, the heterotrophs (thats us and pretty much everything else) get those building blocks from the organisms they consume.
Synthetic biologists have long tried to engineer plants and autotrophic bacteria to produce valuable chemicals and fuels from water and CO2, because it has the potential to be cheaper than other routes. But so far theyve been far more successful at getting the heterotrophic bacterium Escherichia coliknown to most people as the microbe that lives in our guts and sometimes triggers food poisoningto produce ethanol and other desired chemicals more cheaply than other approaches. Its not always cheap, however; these engineered E. coli strains must eat a steady diet of sugars, increasing the costs of the effort.
So, Ron Milo, a synthetic biologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, and his colleagues decided to see whether they could transform E. coli into an autotroph. To do so, they re-engineered two essential parts of the bacteriums metabolism: how it gets energy and what source of carbon it uses to grow.
On the energy side, the researchers couldnt give the bacterium the ability to carry out photosynthesis, because the process is too complex. Instead, they inserted the gene for an enzyme that enabled the microbe to eat formate, one of the simplest carbon-containing compounds, and one other strains of E. coli cant eat. The microbes could then transform the formate into ATP, an energy-rich molecule that cells can use. That diet gave the microbe the energy it needed to use the second batch of three new enzymes it receivedall of which enabled it to convert CO2 into sugars and other organic molecules. The researchers also deleted several enzymes the bacterium normally uses for metabolism, forcing it to depend on the new diet to grow.
The changes didnt initially produce bacteria capable of living on formate and CO2, however. The researchers suspected the nutrients were still being directed toward its natural metabolism. So, they placed batches of the engineered E. coli in vessels that allowed them to carefully control the microbes diet. The team started with basically a starvation diet of xylose, a sugar, along with formate and CO2. This allowed the microbes to at least survive and reproduce.
It also set the stage for evolution: If any bacterial offspring acquired genetic mutations that allowed them to thrive on that diet, they would produce more offspring than those that didnt evolve. The researchers steadily decreased the amount of xylose available to the microbes as well. After 300 days and hundreds of generations of mutating E. coli, the xylose was gone. Only those bacteria that had evolved into autotrophs survived.
In all, the evolved bacteria picked up 11 new genetic mutations that allowed them to survive without eating other organisms, the team reports today in Cell. It really shows how amazing evolution can be, in that it can change something so fundamental as cellular metabolism, Milo says.
I bow to them for making it succeed, says Pam Silver, a systems biologist at Harvard Medical School in Boston, who devoted years to a similar project.
Scientists have previously developed dozens of tools to manipulate E. colis genes so that it produces different compounds, such as pharmaceuticals and fuels. That means researchers should be able to insert these changes into autotrophic E. coli that eat formate, which is readily made by zapping CO2 in water with electricity. As a result, formate produced from wind and solar power could help engineered bacteria make ethanol and other fuels, or pharmaceuticals, such as the malaria-fighting drug artemisinin. Not bad for a makeover.
Genome Editing Services, World Markets to 2030: Focus on CRISPR – The Most Popular Genome Manipulation Technology Tool – P&T Community
Posted: at 9:50 pm
DUBLIN, Nov. 28, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The "Genome Editing Services Market-Focus on CRISPR 2019-2030" report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com's offering.
This report features an extensive study of the current landscape of CRISPR-based genome editing service providers. The study presents an in-depth analysis, highlighting the capabilities of various stakeholders engaged in this domain, across different geographical regions.
Currently, there is an evident increase in demand for complex biological therapies (including regenerative medicine products), which has created an urgent need for robust genome editing techniques. The biopharmaceutical pipeline includes close to 500 gene therapies, several of which are being developed based on the CRISPR technology.
Recently, in July 2019, a first in vivo clinical trial for a CRISPR-based therapy was initiated. However, successful gene manipulation efforts involve complex experimental protocols and advanced molecular biology centered infrastructure. Therefore, many biopharmaceutical researchers and developers have demonstrated a preference to outsource such operations to capable contract service providers.
Consequently, the genome editing contract services market was established and has grown to become an indispensable segment of the modern healthcare industry, offering a range of services, such as gRNA design and construction, cell line development (involving gene knockout, gene knockin, tagging and others) and transgenic animal model generation (such as knockout mice). Additionally, there are several players focused on developing advanced technology platforms that are intended to improve/augment existing gene editing tools, especially the CRISPR-based genome editing processes.
Given the rising interest in personalized medicine, a number of strategic investors are presently willing to back genetic engineering focused initiatives. Prevalent trends indicate that the market for CRISPR-based genome editing services is likely to grow at a significant pace in the foreseen future.
One of the key objectives of the report was to evaluate the current opportunity and the future potential of CRISPR-based genome editing services market. We have provided an informed estimate of the likely evolution of the market in the short to mid-term and long term, for the period 2019-2030.
In addition, we have segmented the future opportunity across [A] type of services offered (gRNA construction, cell line engineering and animal model generation), [B] type of cell line used (mammalian, microbial, insect and others) and [C] different geographical regions (North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and rest of the world).
To account for the uncertainties associated with the CRISPR-based genome editing services market and to add robustness to our model, we have provided three forecast scenarios, portraying the conservative, base and optimistic tracks of the market's evolution.
The research, analysis and insights presented in this report are backed by a deep understanding of key insights generated from both secondary and primary research. All actual figures have been sourced and analyzed from publicly available information forums and primary research discussions. Financial figures mentioned in this report are in USD, unless otherwise specified.
Key Topics Covered
1. PREFACE1.1. Scope of the Report1.2. Research Methodology1.3. Chapter Outlines
2. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
3. INTRODUCTION3.1. Context and Background3.2. Overview of Genome Editing3.3. History of Genome Editing3.4. Applications of Genome Editing3.5. Genome Editing Techniques3.5.1. Mutagenesis3.5.2 Conventional Homologous Recombination3.5.3 Single Stranded Oligo DNA Nucleotides Homologous Recombination3.5.4. Homing Endonuclease Systems (Adeno Associated Virus System)3.5.5. Protein-based Nuclease Systems188.8.131.52. Meganucleases184.108.40.206. Zinc Finger Nucleases220.127.116.11. Transcription Activator-like Effector Nucleases3.5.6. DNA Guided Systems18.104.22.168. Peptide Nucleic Acids22.214.171.124. Triplex Forming Oligonucleotides126.96.36.199. Structure Guided Endonucleases3.5.7. RNA Guided Systems188.8.131.52. CRISPR-Cas184.108.40.206. Targetrons3.6. CRISPR-based Genome Editing3.6.1. Role of CRISPR-Cas in Adaptive Immunity in Bacteria3.6.2. Key CRISPR-Cas Systems3.6.3. Components of CRISPR-Cas System3.6.4. Protocol for CRISPR-based Genome Editing3.7. Applications of CRISPR3.7.1. Development of Therapeutic Interventions3.7.2. Augmentation of Artificial Fertilization Techniques3.7.3. Development of Genetically Modified Organisms3.7.4. Production of Biofuels3.7.5. Other Bioengineering Applications3.8. Key Challenges and Future Perspectives
4. CRISPR-BASED GENOME EDITING SERVICE PROVIDERS: CURRENT MARKET LANDSCAPE4.1. Chapter Overview4.2. CRISPR-based Genome Editing Service Providers: Overall Market Landscape4.2.3. Analysis by Type of Service Offering4.2.4. Analysis by Type of gRNA Format4.2.5. Analysis by Type of Endonuclease4.2.6. Analysis by Type of Cas9 Format4.2.7. Analysis by Type of Cell Line Engineering Offering4.2.8. Analysis by Type of Animal Model Generation Offering4.2.9. Analysis by Availability of CRISPR Libraries4.2.10. Analysis by Year of Establishment4.2.11. Analysis by Company Size4.2.12. Analysis by Geographical Location4.2.13. Logo Landscape: Distribution by Company Size and Location of Headquarters
5. COMPANY COMPETITIVENESS ANALYSIS5.1. Chapter Overview5.2. Methodology5.3. Assumptions and Key Parameters5.4. CRISPR-based Genome Editing Service Providers: Competitive Landscape5.4.1. Small-sized Companies5.4.2. Mid-sized Companies5.4.3. Large Companies
6. COMPANY PROFILES6.1. Chapter Overview6.2. Applied StemCell6.2.1. Company Overview6.2.2. Service Portfolio6.2.3. Recent Developments and Future Outlook6.3. BioCat6.4. Biotools6.5. Charles River Laboratories6.6. Cobo Scientific6.7. Creative Biogene6.8. Cyagen Biosciences6.9. GeneCopoeia6.10. Horizon Discovery6.11. NemaMetrix6.12. Synbio Technologies6.13. Thermo Fisher Scientific
7. PATENT ANALYSIS7.1. Chapter Overview7.2. Scope and Methodology7.3. CRISPR-based Genome Editing: Patent Analysis7.3.1. Analysis by Application Year and Publication Year7.3.2. Analysis by Geography7.3.3. Analysis by CPC Symbols7.3.4. Emerging Focus Areas7.3.5. Leading Players: Analysis by Number of Patents7.4. CRISPR-based Genome Editing: Patent Benchmarking Analysis7.4.1. Analysis by Patent Characteristics7.5. Patent Valuation Analysis
8. ACADEMIC GRANT ANALYSIS8.1. Chapter Overview8.2. Scope and Methodology8.3. Grants Awarded by the National Institutes of Health for CRISPR-based8.3.1. Year-wise Trend of Grant Award8.3.2. Analysis by Amount Awarded8.3.3. Analysis by Administering Institutes8.3.4. Analysis by Support Period8.3.5. Analysis by Funding Mechanism8.3.6. Analysis by Type of Grant Application8.3.7. Analysis by Grant Activity8.3.8. Analysis by Recipient Organization8.3.9. Regional Distribution of Grant Recipient Organization8.3.10. Prominent Project Leaders: Analysis by Number of Grants8.3.11. Emerging Focus Areas8.3.12. Grant Attractiveness Analysis
9. CASE STUDY: ADVANCED CRISPR-BASED TECHNOLOGIES/SYSTEMS AND TOOLS9.1. Chapter Overview9.2. CRISPR-based Technology Providers9.2.1. Analysis by Year of Establishment and Company Size9.2.2. Analysis by Geographical Location and Company Expertise9.2.3. Analysis by Focus Area9.2.4. Key Technology Providers: Company Snapshots220.127.116.11. APSIS Therapeutics18.104.22.168. Beam Therapeutics22.214.171.124. CRISPR Therapeutics126.96.36.199. Editas Medicine188.8.131.52. Intellia Therapeutics184.108.40.206. Jenthera Therapeutics220.127.116.11. KSQ Therapeutics18.104.22.168. Locus Biosciences22.214.171.124. Refuge Biotechnologies126.96.36.199. Repare Therapeutics188.8.131.52. SNIPR BIOME9.2.5. Key Technology Providers: Summary of Venture Capital Investments9.3. List of CRISPR Kit Providers9.4. List of CRISPR Design Tool Providers
10. POTENTIAL STRATEGIC PARTNERS10.1. Chapter Overview10.2. Scope and Methodology10.3. Potential Strategic Partners for Genome Editing Service Providers10.3.1. Key Industry Partners10.3.1.1. Most Likely Partners10.3.1.2. Likely Partners10.3.1.3. Less Likely Partners10.3.2. Key Non-Industry/Academic Partners10.3.2.1. Most Likely Partners10.3.2.2. Likely Partners10.3.2.3. Less Likely Partners
11. MARKET FORECAST11.1. Chapter Overview11.2. Forecast Methodology and Key Assumptions11.3. Overall CRISPR-based Genome Editing Services Market, 2019-203011.4. CRISPR-based Genome Editing Services Market: Distribution by Regions, 2019-203011.4.1. CRISPR-based Genome Editing Services Market in North America, 2019-203011.4.2. CRISPR-based Genome Editing Services Market in Europe, 2019-203011.4.3. CRISPR-based Genome Editing Services Market in Asia Pacific, 2019-203011.4.4. CRISPR-based Genome Editing Services Market in Rest of the World, 2019-203011.5. CRISPR-based Genome Editing Services Market: Distribution by Type of Services, 2019-203011.5.1. CRISPR-based Genome Editing Services Market for gRNA Construction, 2019-203011.5.2. CRISPR-based Genome Editing Services Market for Cell Line Engineering, 2019-203011.5.3. CRISPR-based Genome Editing Services Market for Animal Model Generation, 2019-203011.6. CRISPR-based Genome Editing Services Market: Distribution by Type of Cell Line, 2019-203011.6.1. CRISPR-based Genome Editing Services Market for Mammalian Cell Lines, 2019-203011.6.2. CRISPR-based Genome Editing Services Market for Microbial Cell Lines, 2019-203011.6.3. CRISPR-based Genome Editing Services Market for Other Cell Lines, 2019-2030
12. SWOT ANALYSIS12.1. Chapter Overview12.2. SWOT Analysis12.2.1. Strengths12.2.2. Weaknesses12.2.3. Opportunities12.2.4. Threats12.2.5. Concluding Remarks
13. EXECUTIVE INSIGHTS
14. APPENDIX 1: TABULATED DATA
15. APPENDIX 2: LIST OF COMPANIES AND ORGANIZATIONS
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On the Way to Green Fuels? Israeli Scientists Grow CO2 Consuming Bacteria – The Jewish Press – JewishPress.com
Posted: at 9:50 pm
Photo Credit: Pixabay
Israeli scientists of the Weizmann Institute of Science have developed bacteria that survives solely on carbon dioxide (CO2) from their surroundings, instead of their regular food. The findings point to the possible future development of carbon-neutral fuels, a significant breakthrough in the battle against climate change.
This discovery, which involved nearly a decade of molecular design, genetic engineering and an accelerated version of evolution in the lab, was reported last week in the leading scientific journal Cell.
The study began by identifying crucial genes for the process of carbon fixation, through which plants take carbon from CO2 to turn it into biomass. The research team added and rewired the needed genes to the bacteria. They also inserted a gene that allowed the bacteria to get energy from a readily available substance called formate, which can be produced directly from electricity and air.
The bacteria were gradually weaned off the sugar they were used to consuming. At each stage, cultured bacteria were given just enough sugar to keep them from complete starvation, as well as plenty of CO2 and formate.
Some learned to develop a taste for CO2, giving them an evolutionary edge over those that stuck to sugar, and their descendants were given less and less sugar until after about a year of adapting to the new diet some of them eventually made the complete switch, living and multiplying in an environment that only gave them pure CO2 and electricity from formate.
The researchers believe that the bacterias new diet could ultimately be healthy for the planet.
Professor Ron Milo, who heads the lab at the Weizmann Institute, points out that today, biotech companies use corn syrup for cell cultures to produce commodity chemicals. Such cells could be induced to live on a diet of CO2 and electricity and spare the large amounts of corn syrup they live on today.
Bacteria could be further adapted to use renewable electricity, rather than taking their energy from a substance such as formate, and then store energy for later use. Such bio-fuel would be carbon-neutral, a crucial green development in the battle against climate change.
Milo said the seemingly impossible feat could promote various future green development.
Our lab was the first to pursue the idea of changing the diet of a normal heterotroph (one that eats organic substances) to convert it to an autotroph (living on air). It sounded impossible at first, but it has taught us numerous lessons along the way, and in the end, we showed it indeed can be done, he said.
Our findings are a significant milestone toward our goal of efficient, green scientific applications, he added.
Posted: at 9:50 pm
OPINION: There's an old saying that paraphrases Lewis Carroll's Cheshire Cat: "If you don't know where you're going, any road will do".
Sir Peter Gluckman and Dr Mark Hanson include it intheir new book,Ingenious: The Unintended Consequences of Human Innovation, which charts the 150,000 years of biological and cultural evolution that has made us such incredible innovators.
Since stepping down as the Prime Minister's Chief Science Advisor last year, Gluckman has been asking the big existential questions Can we deal with climate change? Will artificial intelligence surpass us? Are superbugs going to wipe us out?
As he was advocating for evidence-based decision making and informed public debate, we saw the rise of anti-science, alternative facts andTrumpism. Our ability to find consensus on the important issues seems to be diminishing.
READ MORE:* Why NZ should rethink rules on genetic modification* Testing standards were a hot meth* The high public cost of muzzling scientists
As Hanson, aprofessor of cardiovascular science at the University of Southampton, and Gluckman point out, we have harnessed technology to develop and thrive while other species live much as they did 10,000 years ago.
Still, every innovation has unintended consequences. The coal powering our dark satanic mills of industry deposited the carbon in the atmosphere that is now dangerously warming the planet.
Processing and preserving food created the energy-dense diet that is fuelling the obesity epidemic.
Hygiene and antibioticssaved lives but the side effects have been antibiotic resistance and autoimmune diseases.
Sir Peter Gluckman, pictured, and coauthor Mark Hanson want genuine, informed discussion on science-related issues.
We've effectively run a series of live experiments throughout history and got away with it.
The authors of Ingenious worry that now we face "runaway cultural evolution". The pace of change is so great, the problems so wicked, we risk blundering down a dead-end.
What's the answer? GluckmanandHansonwant a better way of making trans-national decisions on whether new innovations such as genetic modification and climate geo-engineering should be used.
They want genuine, informed discussion on science-related issues, more respect for science, an education system that produces critical thinkers.
This will take time we may not have.
History tells us that we will again needtechnology to solve the problems past technologies have created.
As the authors soberly put it:"In the balance hang our well-being, our social relationships, our health, our environment, our economies, our governments, and our planet."
Read more from the original source:
In the balance hangs our well-being - Stuff.co.nz
Proof-of-Concept Study of CAR-NK Cell Therapy with Engineered Persistence Shows Potential – Cancer Network
Posted: at 9:50 pm
A first-of-kind multi-antigen targeted off-the-shelf chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-natural killer (NK) cell with engineered persistence has the potential to be a readily available treatment option for patients, Robert A. Brodsky, MD, said in a preview of the 61st American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting & Exposition.
As most of you are well aware, CAR T-cell (therapy has) captured the imagination of physician scientists and patients alike, mainly for their incredible efficacy in treating B-cell malignancies like acute lymphocytic leukemia and non-Hodgkin lymphomas, said Brodsky, who serves as secretary of ASH and is also the director of the division of hematology at Johns Hopkins Medicine.
However, he added, this treatment option does not come without its drawbacks: namely, time, expenses, toxicity.
Only about two-thirds of patients enrolled in CAR T-cell trials will actually see infusion because often the disease will progress during the time it takes to make a successful product, Brodsky said.
Therefore, there is a need to develop a more timely infusion that can be associated with lower costs, and hopefully, less toxicity.
At the upcoming ASH Annual Meeting & Exposition, being held from December 7-10 in Orlando, Florida, Jode P. Goodridge, PhD, will present on his teams proof-of-concept study of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived effector cells.
iPSC-derived effector cells offer distinct advantages for immune therapy over existing patient- or donor- derived platforms, both in terms of scalable manufacturing from a renewable starting cellular material and precision genetic engineering that is performed at the single-cell level, the researchers wrote in their abstract. iPSC derived natural killer (iNK) cells offer the further advantage of innate reactivity to stress ligands and MHC downregulation and the potential to recruit downstream adaptive responses.
The candidate, called FT596, is consistently manufactured from a master iPSC line engineered to uniformly express an NK cell-calibrated CD19-targeting CAR, an enhanced functioning high-affinity, non-cleavable CD16, and a recombinant fusion of IL-15 and IL-15 receptor alpha for cytokine-autonomous persistence, according to the abstract.
What the authors here did is take advantage of the use of induced pluripotent stem cells and differentiated them to natural killer cells. Natural killer cells are not T cells but they are another form of lymphocytes that can be very effective in killing cancer cells. What they did is they engineered these pluripotent stem cells to target B cells, and they are specifically targeting the CD19 antigen on B cells and showing that these are very effective in cell line models and animal models, explained Brodsky.
However, of note, this product has not been tested in humans yet.
The big advance here is that this offers the potential of having a readily available source of basically CAR-NK cells that wouldnt need time to grow them up before they would be infused, Brodsky concluded.
Goodridge JP, Mahmood S, Zhu H, et al. FT596: Translation of First-of-Kind Multi-Antigen Targeted Off-the-Shelf CAR-NK Cell with Engineered Persistence for the Treatment of B Cell Malignancies. Presented at: 61st ASH Annual Meeting & Exposition Meeting preview; to be presented December 7, 2019; Orlando, Fla. Abstract 301.
Genetic Engineering Market Swot Analysis by Market Segments Applications and Types. (Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., GenScript, Amgen Inc., Genentech…
Posted: at 9:50 pm
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Posted: at 9:50 pm
The future of Indias agriculture economy lies in crop diversification. The continued practice of wheat and paddy crop production pattern since the Green revolution has adversely impacted the natural resources. Indian government needs to promote growing of less water consuming crops like oil seeds, cotton, pulses and maize. Growing of paddy led to depleting water table, soil fertility issues and stubble burning in the states of Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.
Crop diversification refers to the growth of more variety of crops or changes in the existing pattern of crop production. The downgrading ecological situation, depleting groundwater levels and declining fertility of soil clear the need for crop diversification. This is aimed at increasing farmers income and decreasing negative impacts on the environment while also conserving the natural resources. Besides, it also helps to minimize price fluctuations and balance food demand.
Bringing diversity in crops results in strengthening ties between crop culture and livestock. It ensures the availability of rural employment around the year and future of Indias agriculture economy. It also results in crop intensification (increase yield per hectare) through the genetic engineering of plants. Crops grow in their required environmental conditions thus removing the barriers of lack of irrigation. On top of it, it brings back the soils nutrient profile and environmental sustainability.
Crop diversification is not only essential from the farmers perspective but also the trade balance perspective. Currently, India imports a huge quantity of edible oil from Indonesia and Malaysia. Increase in oil seeds farming in India may help curb the edible oil imports. Similarly, India imports an estimated two million tons of pulses on yearly basis. Government hiked MSP in pulses in order to promote cultivation of pulses in many states in India. This year India also imported huge quantities of b grade maize to meet demands of poultry feed farms. Maize can be a profitable crop for farmers to grow in 2020. Also, to maintain soil fertility, it is essential to grow crops like oil seeds, pulses, cotton and maize.
The incentives provided by the government do not yield the desired results. Government provides high MSP rates for paddy and wheat which leads to many farmers growing the same. The reason for lack of crop diversification in India is the financial overpower of the traditional crop over the new crop. Agricultural planning is necessary to control excessive farming of paddy and wheat and for future of Indias agriculture economy. Every year we find reports of stock of wheat and rice being rotten at warehouses of Food Corporation of India. Dead stock of wheat and rice keeps lying at FCI warehouses and we import high quantities of pulses and edible oil to meet the demand.
In conclusion, this loss making habit needs to change with better agricultural planning in India. The launch of schemes to save water and take up production of crops other than paddy in the north-western region of India has not yielded positive results. Government attention and farmers education are also essential for adopting sustainable farm practices.
Go here to read the rest:
Future of India's Agriculture Economy lies in Crop Diversification - Grainmart News
Posted: at 9:48 pm
An article in the digital magazine Aeon looks at the evolution of Neanderthals. Not their evolution in geologic time, but the evolution of how evolutionists and science popularizers depict them.
The article assumes modern evolutionary theory, so it comes with the usual raft of unsupported pro-evolution claims typical of mainstream science journalism. But it is refreshing for frankly spotlighting how the facts about Neanderthals have evolved over the years.
To see, click on the Aeon article and compare the recent depiction of a Neanderthal family at the top of the article to the Edwardian era newspaper depiction of a Neanderthal a few paragraphs down. In the recent depiction, from a museum exhibit, the Neanderthal family looks intelligent and civilized. A couple of them are even gazing off into the middle distance, as if working out something profound. In contrast, the stooped and uber-hairy Neanderthal in the newspaper clipping from a century ago looks like he could successfully blend in with a community of tolerant gorillas. In the clipping, the caption under this artists conception confidently states, An Accurate Reconstruction.
An accurate depiction of a Darwinist fantasy: yes. An accurate reconstruction of an actual Neanderthal: apparently not. And its not just that scientists and their hired artists made their best guess based on what they knew back then and simply got it wrong. As Aeon notes of scientists understanding of Neanderthals 110 years ago, even by that point it was no longer possible to argue that he and his kind were closer to nonhuman animals than to living people.
So why did they often depict them as ape-like? Darwinism desperately needs to fill in a yawning chasm in the fossil record between the ape-like and the human-like. At one point many hoped Neanderthals could serve as a crucial link in that lengthy stretch of missing chain between the fully ape-like and the fully human. Coached by the Darwinian paradigm, many assumed that Neanderthals did. But those uncooperative cave men refused to stoop, got the big head (average brain size slightly larger even than modern humans), and got caught red-handed in the fossil record behaving in various ways like intelligent humans.
Neanderthals even appear even to have had children with Homo sapiens, with something like one to three percent of their DNA remaining in most modern humans outside of sub-Saharan Africa.
If evolutionary theory is true, there were millions of intermediate hominids between our nearest fully ape-like ancestor and ourselves. That long chain is missing, a fact that has put enormous pressure on proponents of evolutionary theory to replace the missing chain with imaginative drawings, museum recreations, and verbal sleights-of-hand. To learn more about this, see Jonathan Wellss excellent Zombie Science: More Icons of Evolution, pp. 74ff.
Photo: An exhibit from the Neanderthal Museum in Mettmann, Germany, by Clemens Vasters, via Flickr (cropped).
Posted: at 9:46 pm
It has been said that principles only mean something when you stick by them when they are inconvenient. Its true. People often make exceptions for themselves, leaving massive inconsistencies in assessing their adherence to their principles. The most famous right enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, the right to free speech, is the best example of a principle selectively defended.
There are, however, many misconceptions about what free speech means and what it does not mean.
Free speech must be an absolute and unadulterated right, with the only exceptions being those constitutionally backed and reaffirmed by Supreme Court precedent. These exceptions include things like yelling Fire! in a crowded theater or Bomb! at an airport. Unadulterated free speech also does not mean the right to threaten violence against others or insinuate harm.
While it does not mean the right to put others in danger with ones words, it does mean being able to espouse beliefs and say things that are upsetting, gratuitous or overtly disagreeable. If you take it away every time someone does something bad with it, it is not a right.
Hate speech is a category of speech expressing prejudice against certain groups. While prosecuted cases of hate speech generally include threats, society must be careful. A broad definition of hate speech serves only to censor arbitrarily and unfurls a slippery slope since the threshold of what constitutes hate speech is nebulous.
Additionally, symbolic speech, actions meant to convey a particular message without explicit verbal communication, also ought to be safeguarded. Several landmark Supreme Court cases, fortunately, all secure judicial precedent is protecting symbolic speech.
Why is free speech so important? Because it grants protection to groups who need it. Free speech was not embodied in the Constitution to protect racists when telling immigrants to go back home, although free speech does protect that. Free speech is manifested in the countrys most important doctrine to protect opposition to the government, minority groups and the media, who holds power accountable.
This means that it is the marginalized who suffer from silenced speech, not the privileged.
But liberals and conservatives alike are discriminatory when it comes to defending free speech. Conservatives have frighteningly advocated punishment for controversial football athlete Colin Kaepernick, stronger libel laws and flag-burning bans. Liberals have similarly pushed hate speech law and promulgated political correctness.
While fears of social media censorship of conservatives are likely overblown, it does raise a legitimate question about whether social media organizations are so influential as a forum for public discussion that banning someone may constitute censorship? Its complicated, and the jury is still out on that one.
However, it is imperative to delineate infringements on freedom of speech. It doesnt much matter if people are shunned or exist as social pariahs for using the n-word or denying the Holocaust. Ethics of public shaming aside, the First Amendment does not protect an individual from societal condemnation for the beliefs he or she espouses. Still, it does protect him or her from being stripped of their opportunity to do it.
But regulating free speech is the slipperiest slope to government-backed censorship same with controlling what the media can and cannot say. Suing for libel is difficult, as John Oliver recently demonstrated extravagantly in his show Last Week Tonight. It should remain as difficult as it currently is, if not harder due to SLAPP lawsuits lawsuits that aim not to succeed in court but to exhaust the defendant of his or her resources by dragging out a litigious hell.
France is perhaps the best example of a country wherein excessively outlawing certain types of expression has bred problems. France has become so comfortable in restricting speech; it has achieved bans on wearing certain religious symbols. It has also criminalized some rather poor opinions, but this only normalizes government restrictions to free speech, even if these laws are legislated with good intent.
Former President Barack Obama once said, I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day, and I will always defend their right to do so. This is the correct attitude to adopt.
Freedom certainly has a price tag. It means demanding tolerance of many unsavory opinions. Some may seem like they are working tirelessly to reveal an exigency of controlling speech. Still, it is essential to remember that the neo-Nazi can spout nauseating beliefs due to a right everyone ultimately benefits from. That is a hill everyone should be prepared to die on.
Andrew is a sophomore in LAS.
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Protection of free speech must remain resolute - Daily Illini