Daily Archives: May 7, 2021

Queen Dlamini unlikely to succeed in legal bid against king’s other marriages – The Citizen

Posted: May 7, 2021 at 4:11 am

It is highly unlikely that late Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithinis eldest wife queen Sibongile Dlamini could have her civil marriage recognised as the king's sole union, considering that customary law allows polygamy, cultural experts say. In two court applications before the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate's Court, Dlamini argues that she is the late king's only legitimate wife, since they were married under civil law which prohibits polygamous marriages. ALSO READ: Before he was King Zwelithini, he was just our brother Goodwill And while anything could happen in court, it is highly unlikely Dlamini would be successful for a range of complex reasons,...

It is highly unlikely that late Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithinis eldest wife queen Sibongile Dlamini could have her civil marriage recognised as the kings sole union, considering that customary law allows polygamy, cultural experts say.

In two court applications before the Pietermaritzburg Magistrates Court, Dlamini argues that she is the late kings only legitimate wife, since they were married under civil law which prohibits polygamous marriages.

ALSO READ: Before he was King Zwelithini, he was just our brother Goodwill

And while anything could happen in court, it is highly unlikely Dlamini would be successful for a range of complex reasons, former UCT vice-chancellor and commissioner of the South African Law Reform Commission, Professor Thandabantu Nhlapo said.

Although [there is] no doubt [that] determined lawyers can put together an argument that at some point in history the civil marriage predominated where there were other customary marriages existing. But in view of the amending provisions of the 1988 Act, and the clear attempts of the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act of 1998 to ensure that a polygamist never again mixes civil and customary marriages in his households, anything can happen in court. I am reluctant to speculate.

Dlamini is claiming 50% of the kings estate, including the Ingonyama Trust, of which he was the sole trustee, stating in her affidavit that the estate was controlled by the two of them jointly.

While they may have netered into a civil marriage as they were married according to the Marriage Act of 1961, it is not yet conclusive unless there are more facts, Nhlapo said.

As claimed by media reports that the kings marriage certificate with Dlamini was issued in terms of Section 22(6) of the Black Administration Act of 1927, their marriage was out of community of property, due to discriminatory apartheid laws, he said.

If this is the case, the consequences of that marriage, though civil, would be that the matrimonial property regime was out of community of property. That was one of the discriminatory effects of apartheid laws black people could marry Western-style but they did not thereby secure for themselves the automatic consequences of civil marriage which accrued to whites and other race groups, which consequences were in community of property, he said.

It was the Marriage and Matrimonial Property Amendment Act of 1988 which provided that black civil marriages entered into after the act would automatically be in community of property, unless the parties insisted otherwise. But this was not retroactive, said Nhlapo.

Marriages of black people before 1988 remained out of community of property.

This was only resolved this year when the Constitutional Court ruled Section 22(6) of the Black Administration Act unconstitutional and therefore invalid. When you put all these factors together, Dalimini may now be in a position to claim that she was married in community of property. Unfortunately, this does not totally dispose of the matter.

Nations and polities had their own principles, which often adopt identities from the male line.

In many polities, the first son of the legally wedded wife would customarily succeed, said University of Free State cultural expert Professor Pearl Sithole.

But when a king calls on the polity and nation to pay lobola for a particular wife, regardless of the order of marriage, she will become the chief wife.

ALSO READ:Speculation of King Zwelithinis successor can create conflict Buthelezi

In other polities, regardless of the king having married, as soon as he marries someone from royalty, that person is going to be the chief wife. It might be the case here, Sithole said.

If you read the things that are being said and the fact that the regent became this particular wife [the late queen regent Mantfombi Shiyiwe Dlamini Zulu], it could be that she was the chief wife and therefore the first son of that particular wife becomes heir apparent, she said.

While customary law allows polygamy, succession to the kingship is falls under customary law as administered and applied by the relevant royal family, said Nhlapo.

Where statute has intervened, it has been only to regulate how the name of the successor identified by the royal family is transmitted to the Premier or the President, as the case may be. In making its decision, the royal family would be guided by the customary law of the particular nation concerned, especially the known customary rules governing how the seniority of wives in a polygamous household is determined.

In light of these typically South African legal ambiguities and complexities, it would be a brave person indeed who can dare to be dogmatic about what the courts will decide, Nhlapo said.


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Queen Dlamini unlikely to succeed in legal bid against king's other marriages - The Citizen

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Polyamory? What do they put in the water in British Columbia? MercatorNet – MercatorNet

Posted: at 4:11 am

A new chapter in the Reproductive Revolution! A polyamorous throuple in British Columbia has succeeded in a legal battle to have all of their names recorded on their babys birth certificate.

Bill, Eliza and Olivia have lived as a triad since 2017. The baby, Clarke, was conceived through sexual intercourse between Bill and Eliza. But Olivia induced lactation so that she could care for Clarke; she was even the first to feed him after his birth. Since then, the three partners and their child have lived an active family life.

In her judgement, Justice Sandra Wilkinson said that there was a gap in BCs Family Law Act for these three loving, caring, and extremely capable individuals and their son. And, as a matter of fact, the law does appear to be inconsistent. Children conceived through sexual intercourse may only have one or two parents on the birth certificate; children conceived through assisted reproduction can have one or more parents.

The evidence indicates that the legislature did not foresee the possibility a child might be conceived through sexual intercourse and have more than two parents, says Justice Wilkinson. Put bluntly, the legislature did not contemplate polyamorous families.

Yes, that rings true. In fact, not at any time in the last 2000 or 3000 years has the Western legal system contemplated polyamorous families.

However, Jason Proctor, of CBC News, commented that this is just the latest ruling in Canadian courts to permit various configurations of three legal parents. Three millennia of tradition are going out the window.

Olivias lawyer, Catherine Wong, was elated by the ruling. Its a sign were seeing that the law is actually catching up to the reality of polyamorous families or multi-parent families in British Columbia, Wong said. In that sense, its a very important case because it recognizes the diversity of families in BC and that the law was not working for all families until now.

For years in British Columbia, that diversity has included polygamy. The small and aptly-named town of Bountiful is home to two polygamist Mormon fundamentalist groups, although polygamy is technically illegal. A couple of the patriarchs have been found guilty of this crime, but the BC government has generally declined to interfere with polygamous families.

Although legal parentage was the issue in the polyamorous relationship of Bill, Eliza and Olivia, is it possible that polyamory and polygamy will eventually receive legal recognition? Polyamory (though it often features in New York Times lifestyle features) seems libidinous and polygamy seems patriarchal. Neither has the strength of the lobby group which supported same-sex marriage.

But polyamory does seem to be becoming A Thing. A long article in The New Yorker last month featured a number of multiple-partner relationships and legal experts across the border in the United States: How Polyamorists and Polygamists Are Challenging Family Norms. Its sub-title was From opposite sides of the culture, parallel campaigns for legal recognition may soon make multiple-partner marriages as unremarkable as same-sex marriages.

In a way, this is old news. The Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, John Roberts, warned in his dissent in Obergefell v Hodges in 2015 that polyamory was a logical consequence of the legalisation of same-sex marriage:

If there is dignity in the bond between two men or two women who seek to marry and in their autonomy to make such profound choices, [he is quoting the majority judgement] why would there be any less dignity in the bond between three people who, in exercising their autonomy, seek to make the profound choice to marry? If a same-sex couple has the constitutional right to marry because their children would otherwise suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser, ante, why wouldnt the same reasoning apply to a family of three or more persons raising children?

Such thoughts are not confined to the white, male, Christian, heteronormative mind of Justice Roberts.

Joseph J. Fischel, an associate professor of womens, gender, and sexuality studies at Yale University, said in a highly praised 2016 book: We, as an LGBT movement, should be ethically committed to endorsing poly relations and other experiments in intimacy. As one of the people interviewed in the article put it: When you light a candle with another candle, your first candle is not less on fire.

Some theorists believe that polyamory is an orientation, not a choice. But as The New Yorkers journalist comments: even if, for the sake of argument, we say that being poly is a choice, is that a reason to say that it warrants no protections? Surely, when we defend the rights of Jews or Muslims, we dont imply that they cant help being that way; rather, we confer dignity on a chosen way of life.

Canada regularly pops up on internet listicles of the worlds most boring countries. But if the plural of spouse is spice, that is a canard which British Columbia has definitively refuted.

Perhaps BCs experience is a useful red flag for other countries. Justice Wilkinsons decision makes it clear that the reasoning which has led countries in the Western world to legalise same-sex marriage will eventually lead to pressure to equate other romantic configurations to traditional marriage. Will this lead to huge numbers of polygamous or polyamorous unions? Probably not. What it will do is convince young couples that traditional man-woman-kids-til-death-do-us-part kind of marriage is a pointless joke.

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Polyamory? What do they put in the water in British Columbia? MercatorNet - MercatorNet

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YouTube launches marathon to drive reading culture among Africans – Guardian

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According to the platform, the initiative is to also help popularise the works of African authors across the continent. The personalities would read extracts from The Secret Lives of Baba Segis Wives, a novel by African-born Nigerian poet, Lola Shoneyin. The book is an entertaining and enlightening portrayal of polygamy in modern-day Nigeria. It reveals the struggles, rivalries, intricate family politics, and interplay of personalities within the complex private world of a polygamous union.

The novel emerged as the top choice by Africans in a Google Africa survey conducted last July, which asked social media followers on a novel by an African author they would like to be read live on YouTube.

About 40 people across Africa have since been selected to kick-start the challenge, among whom are media entrepreneur and talk show host, Agatha Amatha, motivational speaker, Olujimi Tewe; philanthropist and writer, Betty Irabor; performance coach and strategist Steve Harris as well as career and business coach, Muyiwa Afolabi, all from Nigeria.

From Kenya are writers and storytellers, Muthoni Garland and James Murua; creative writers, Anne Moraa and Aleya Kassam; actor and journalist, John Sibi-Okumu; poet and actress, Laura Ekumbo; actor and writer, Mugambi Nthiga.From South Africa are TV presenter and philanthropist, Maps Mapoyane; media personality, Penny Lebyane; actress and model, Pearl Thusi; storyteller and sociologist, Uphile Chisala; and marketer, Khaya Dlanga.

Speaking on the initiative, Googles Managing Director for Africa, Nitin Gajria, expressed hope that the move would enhance reading culture in the continent.

She added: Bookworms can join the challenge by sharing a 10-second video on their social channels, reading same book and nominating their friends to do same.

Free access to read The Secret Lives of Baba Segis Wives are available for one month via the OneRead App. This offer is aimed specifically at those eager to join the challenge, but who do not have access to a physical copy of the book, she added.

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YouTube launches marathon to drive reading culture among Africans - Guardian

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Unearthing Neanderthal population history using nuclear and mitochondrial DNA from cave sediments – Science Magazine

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The value of dirty DNA

Environmental DNA can identify the presence of species, even from the distant past. Surveying three cave sites in western Europe and southern Siberia, Vernot et al. identified nuclear DNA and confirmed that it is from the close relatives of anatomically modern humansNeanderthal and Denisovan individuals. A phylogenetic analysis and modeling show that the DNA in sediment samples from several layers corresponds to previously studied skeletal remains. These results demonstrate that environmental data can be applied to study the population genetics of the extinct Neanderthal and Denisovan lineages, identifying a turnover of Neanderthal populations 100,000 years ago.

Science, this issue p. eabf1667

The study of hominin history has progressed through both archaeological and genetic insights. Although DNA sequencing from hominin skeletal remains allows the association of ancient populations with specific places in time and space, many archaeological sites lack associated hominin remains, limiting the scope of genetic analyses. Even when ancient hominin remains are found, they often do not cover the full time span of a site or sampling them for DNA may not be possible. The fossil record is particularly sparse for Pleistocene hominins, leaving large gaps in our understanding of the genetic histories of archaic and early modern humans.

Recent work has demonstrated the feasibility of sequencing ancient mammalian mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), including that of hominins, from Pleistocene cave sediments. However, mtDNA represents only the maternal lineage and thus provides limited data for the resolution of population relationships. It is therefore desirable to complement mtDNA analysis with the retrieval of nuclear DNA, but no strategies are in place to enrich hominin nuclear DNA from a background of related sequences from other mammals present in most sedimentary deposits. To close this gap, we developed a set of probes for hybridization capture that targets 1.6 million ancestry-informative positions in the hominin nuclear genome, specifically at loci with high mammalian sequence divergence. We then developed computational methods to deplete residual microbial and faunal DNA sequences, along with methods to account for such non-hominin DNA in population genetic analyses.

We applied these methods to explore the history of Neanderthal populations in western Europe and southern Siberia using sediment samples from three Pleistocene caves: Galera de las Estatuas, a site in northern Spain with 40 thousand years of Neanderthal occupation but that is genetically unexplored, and Chagyrskaya and Denisova Caves, which have previously yielded high-coverage genomes of two Neanderthals and one Denisovan hominin. In total, we recovered Neanderthal or Denisovan mtDNA from >60 sediment samples and nuclear DNA from 30 of these. For Chagyrskaya and Denisova Caves, our phylogenetic results from sediment DNA were consistent with previously published results from skeletal remains, confirming the accuracy of our approach. At Galera de las Estatuas, we recovered Neanderthal DNA from layers spanning nearly the entire stratigraphy, and identified a population turnover ~100,000 years ago accompanied by a loss of mtDNA diversity. By incorporating genetic data from previously published skeletal samples, we associated this turnover with two putative radiations in Neanderthal history.

We developed methods for the effective retrieval and analysis of ancient hominin nuclear DNA from sediments and used them to uncover previously unknown events in Neanderthal history. This work demonstrates that detailed genetic analyses are now possible for many more archaeological sites than previously thought, with DNA from abundant sediments allowing dense time-series studies that are independent of the fossil record.

Shown is a view of pit I at the Galera de las Estatuas, Spain, and stratigraphic column with ages in thousands of years (ka).

Bones and teeth are important sources of Pleistocene hominin DNA, but are rarely recovered at archaeological sites. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) has been retrieved from cave sediments but provides limited value for studying population relationships. We therefore developed methods for the enrichment and analysis of nuclear DNA from sediments and applied them to cave deposits in western Europe and southern Siberia dated to between 200,000 and 50,000 years ago. We detected a population replacement in northern Spain about 100,000 years ago, which was accompanied by a turnover of mtDNA. We also identified two radiation events in Neanderthal history during the early part of the Late Pleistocene. Our work lays the ground for studying the population history of ancient hominins from trace amounts of nuclear DNA in sediments.

Unearthing Neanderthal population history using nuclear and mitochondrial DNA from cave sediments - Science Magazine

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His Ship Vanished in the Arctic 176 Years Ago. DNA Has Offered a Clue. – The New York Times

Posted: at 4:08 am

On July 9, 1845, two months after departing from Greenhithe, England, Warrant Officer John Gregory wrote a letter to his wife from Greenland in which he described seeing whales and icebergs for the first time.

Gregory, who had never been to sea before, was aboard the H.M.S. Erebus, one of two ships to sail in Sir John Franklins 1845 expedition to find the fabled Northwest Passage, a sea route through the Canadian Arctic that would serve as a trade route to Asia.

Disaster struck. The Erebus and the H.M.S. Terror became stuck in ice in Victoria Strait, off King William Island in what is now the Canadian territory of Nunavut. In April 1848, the survivors Franklin and nearly two dozen others had already died set out on foot for a trading post on the Canadian mainland.

All 129 explorers ultimately perished, succumbing to brutal blizzard conditions and subzero temperatures. The doomed expedition endured in the public imagination inspiring fiction by Mark Twain and Jules Verne, and, more recently, the 2018 AMC series The Terror driven in part by rumors that the crew resorted to cannibalism. The wreckage lay quiet until 2014, when a remotely controlled underwater vehicle picked up the silhouette of the Erebus near King William Island. Two years later, a tip from a local Inuit hunter led to the discovery of the Terror in the ice-cold water of Terror Bay.

John Gregorys descendants would not learn about his fate until more than 175 years after he sent the letter home from Greenland. Some sailors had been identified after being found in marked graves. But recently, Gregorys DNA and a sample from a descendant born in 1982 were matched, making him the first explorer from the trip whose remains have been positively identified through DNA and genealogical analyses a process similar to that used in recent years to identify murder suspects and victims in cold cases.

Last week, Jonathan Gregory, 38, who lives in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, got an email from researchers in Canada confirming that the cheek swab he had sent to them confirmed that he was a direct descendant of John Gregory.

He had heard about his familys connection to the expedition, but until the DNA match, it was really theory. (Though he goes by Joe, the similarity between their names all makes sense, Mr. Gregory said.)

A relative living in British Columbia, whom Mr. Gregory had never met, sent him a Facebook message in 2019 after she had seen a request from researchers asking descendants of sailors from the expedition to send in DNA samples.

I took the plunge, Mr. Gregory said in a phone interview on Wednesday. For us, this is history.

Douglas Stenton, a professor at the University of Waterloo and a researcher on the project, said the team, which included researchers from Lakehead University and Trent University, started in 2008, focusing on documenting sites and recovering new information about the expedition. But in 2013, they became interested in the human remains, seeking to identify some of these men who had effectively become anonymous in death.

Its really a story of human endeavor in one of the worlds most challenging environments, Dr. Stenton said, resulting in a catastrophic loss of life, for reasons that we still dont understand.

The circumstances that led to the demise of the crews are still unclear. Researchers have continued to piece together clues about the expeditions failure as artifacts have been found throughout the years.

Gregorys remains were excavated in 2013 on King William Island, about 50 miles south of the site where the ships had been deserted. He most likely died within a month after leaving the ships, Dr. Stenton said a journey that wasnt necessarily an enjoyable trip in any sense of the word. Gregory was between 43 and 47 years old when he died.

Dr. Stenton said it was a relief to finally put a name to one of the sailors and a face, as researchers were able to create a facial reconstruction of what Gregory may have looked like because details about the expedition have remained elusive for, you know, 175 years.

For the past eight years, Dr. Stenton said, researchers on the team were very hopeful that they would be able to match a sample from a living descendant to a sailor from the pool of DNA they had collected from remains. The first 16 samples they received failed to produce a match, making the Gregory pairing very gratifying, he said.

Although the identification has not changed the narrative of the expedition, Dr. Stenton said that the more individuals we can identify, there might be some useful information that could come up that might help us better understand what happened to the explorers.

He said he was grateful for the families who had sent in DNA, whether they were matched or not, adding that he was pleased to be able to provide Gregorys family with details about the sailors final years. He informed them that Gregory was not alone when he died, as the remains of two other sailors were found at the same site.

Theres an eerie feeling about it all, Mr. Gregory said, but at the end of the day, I suppose its closure.

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His Ship Vanished in the Arctic 176 Years Ago. DNA Has Offered a Clue. - The New York Times

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Medical World News Behind the Science: Night Shift Work and the Resulting Effects on DNA Damage in the Development of Cancer – Cancer Network

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CancerNetwork sat down with Hans P.A. Van Dongen, PhD, Shobhan Gaddameedhi, PhD, and Jason McDermott, PhD, to discuss their research into how circadian disruptions may lead to changes in cancer-related genes.

A recent study published in the Journal of Pineal Research revealed new evidence showing why night shift workers are at increased risk of developing certain types of cancer. The study involved a controlled laboratory experiment that simulated night or day shift schedules in healthy volunteers. Findings suggested that night shift work disrupts natural rhythms in the activity of certain cancer-related genes, making night workers more vulnerable to DNA damage.

CancerNetwork sat down with key investigators on the study to discuss known risks associated with circadian disruption, methods of their research, effects of night shift work on DNA repair pathways, and the importance of these data.

This segment comes from the CancerNetwork portion of the MJH Life Sciences Medical World News.


Koritala BSC, Porter KI, Arshad OA, et al. Night shift schedule causes circadian dysregulation of DNA repair genes and elevated DNA damage in humans. J Pineal Res. 2021;70(3):e12726. doi: 10.1111/jpi.12726

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Medical World News Behind the Science: Night Shift Work and the Resulting Effects on DNA Damage in the Development of Cancer - Cancer Network

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TwinStrand Biosciences raises $50M to increase adoption of DNA sequencing tech for cancer detection – FierceBiotech

Posted: at 4:08 am

While much of the world is still getting on board with next-generation sequencing technology, many biotech developers are already in hot pursuit of the next next-generation tools.

One such developer is TwinStrand Biosciences. The Seattle-based startup recently took in a $50 million haul to expand the reach of its own sequencing technology, which the company says is 10,000 times more accurate than typical NGS processes.

The series B round was backed by new and existing investors including Soleus Capital, Janus Henderson Investors, Madrona Venture Group, Ridgeback Capital and Alexandria Venture Investments. Section 32 led the round, and Michael Pellini, a partner at the venture fund and former CEO of the genomic testerFoundation Medicine, will join TwinStrands board of directors.

RELATED: Illumina pledges $60M in genomic sequencing expertise to help launch global outbreak-tracking network

The new financing will be used to increase adoption of TwinStrands Duplex Sequencing technology across a variety of use cases. Duplex Sequencing, which is compatible with Illuminas standard NGS sequencers, essentially boosts the existing technology by separately sequencing both strands of a selected DNA molecule then comparing the results to eliminate any inaccuracies.

Because Duplex Sequencing identifies rare and ultra-low-frequency DNA mutations with high accuracy, it can be used to spot cancer both before symptoms arise and after treatment is complete and to measure the effects of new cellular immunotherapies.

TwinStrands software can also detect the presence of carcinogens in the genome before cancer develops, highlighting potential applications for CRISPR and other gene editing and therapy technologies.

This financing is a rewarding milestone in our growth as a company and a true testament to our teams perseverance in a challenging year. In addition to the commercial launch of our first products, and the buildout of our clinical lab, 2020 marked an important milestone in the validation of our expanding intellectual portfolio as we closed a major deal in liquid biopsy to kick off our out-licensing program, said Jesse Salk, TwinStrands CEO, co-founder and chief scientific officerand, incidentally, the grandson of polio vaccine creator Jonas Salk.

RELATED: Foundation Medicine's cancer-profiling blood test approved by FDA

The latest funding round is more than triple the size of the series A that TwinStrand closed last year. That January 2020 round totaled $16 million, which the company said would be directed toward its efforts to commercialize the Duplex Sequencing software and forge new pharmaceutical partnerships.

They followed through: The following month, TwinStrand announced the commercial launch of its Duplex Sequencing kits. The technology is currently available to research teams who are trying to spot microscopic traces of residual disease in acute myeloid leukemia patients and those developing carcinogen-detecting genetic toxicology assays.

And in November, the startup partnered with Foundation Medicine to apply TwinStrands sequencing technology to the Roche subsidiarys liquid biopsy tests for genomic profiling of cancer molecules.

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TwinStrand Biosciences raises $50M to increase adoption of DNA sequencing tech for cancer detection - FierceBiotech

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Land-based salmon are in their DNA – The Fish Site

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Benchmark Genetics is one of the main suppliers of salmon ova for land-based production facilities both RAS and flow-through around the world. This has given them a unique insight into how the sector is developing, as members of their team explain to The Fish Site.

Benchmark Genetics

Land-based salmon production is now really happening and for many producers access to disease-free eggs is one of their first priorities. Weve been in contact with the new companies from a very early stage and want to be a partner in this growing segment, explains Geir Olav Melingen, the divisions commercial director.

Benchmarks faith in the sector, and their hope to remain a key player in it, is reflected by expansions to their team as well as recent investments in their hatchery in Iceland, which is currently being kitted out with 10,000 additional incubators in a new facility in order to cater for projected increases in demand for eggs.

There are land-based salmon production facilities with a combined capacity of more than 2 million tonnes in the pipeline. About 90 percent of these are in RAS.

There are land-based salmon production facilities with a combined capacity of more than 2 million tonnes in the pipeline. About 90 percent of these are in RAS. Even if only a fifth of these projects are realised, it will still be a massive number of eggs needed. And we are trying to be proactive about increasing our capacity, reflects Melingen.

Although Benchmark has several breeding centres, including the recently opened site in Salten, their Iceland facility is the primary source of ova for land-based salmon production due to the unique levels of biosecurity, Icelandic eggs are permitted to be widely exported. Given the range of geographies where new salmon farms are planned, this gives Benchmark a unique advantage, and the company currently exports to over 20 countries in Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa. Their upgraded Iceland facility will be capable of producing 200 million eggs a year and Melingen notes that theres scope to increase this to 350 million eggs a year with minor investment.

Of the current 200 million, around 20 million are being sold to land-based salmon producers, but this proportion is likely to rise in line with the projected increase in the land-based sector. Delivery of these eggs is much more regular than in the conventional salmon sector and one of the key demands of land-based producers is the regularity with which they require ova which Benchmark is well placed to cater for, given that they can provide eggs from Iceland in any of the 52 weeks of the year.

The Health and Welfare of Atlantic Salmon course

It is vital that fish farm operatives who are responsible for farmed fish are trained in their health andwelfare. This will help to ensure that fish are free from disease and suffering whilst at the same timepromote good productivity and comply with legislation.

Unlike in conventional net-pen farming, which operate on a single year class policy and are stocked with either S1 or S0 smolts, they want deliveries every 4, 6 or 8 weeks, explains Harry Tziouvas, who recently joined Benchmark as RAS sales manager. Regular inputs allow them to provide a continuous supply, as most will supply local markets with fresh Atlantic salmon.

Benchmark Genetics

Benchmark was the first provider of eggs to Atlantic Sapphires Florida facility and remains the main supplier there, but the company is keen to highlight the wide range of projects that they are providing eggs for.

These include Pure Salmon, which has ambitions to produce 260,000 tonnes a year from a series of RAS facilities, each with 10-20,000 tonne capacity, in markets including Japan, China, the Middle East, the US and Europe.

AquaCon, which aims to produce at least 48,000 tonnes a year in Maryland, is another that they wish to highlight.They have plans to work closely with local universities and local communities, and they have a strong focus on sustainability and animal welfare. They have designed an exciting project in close collaboration with University of Maryland, where I spent some of my time during my PhD, says Melingen.

Benchmark has also developed a close working relationship with Salmon Evolution, which aims to produce 36,000 tonnes of salmon in a unique hybrid flow-through facility in Norway. Personnel from both companies will be spending time in each others facilities, collaborating to ensure the optimal quality of the land-based salmon, in a bid to help reduce issues with off-flavours once Salmon Evolution starts production in earnest.

Danish Salmon, one of the original salmon RAS, is another partner, with whom Benchmark has undertaken much of their RAS-related genetics work, and is a customer that enjoys collaborating with key suppliers.

Land-based systems currently require a comparatively high number of eggs per kilo of salmon produced, in part due to the tendency to harvest smaller fish, reflecting that fine-tuning of these new systems is required on the technical side, especially in RAS. However, the Benchmark team sees this as changing over time, due to the biosecurity of these more contained systems.

Its currently close to 2 kg of salmon produced per egg bought. Today, 2.7-3 kg harvested fish per egg is more what you expect from conventional salmon farming. However, in the long term it is likely that land-based farmers will be able to produce 3 kg of salmon for every egg they buy, Melingen explains.

My understanding is that they order more eggs to act as a buffer should any incidents occur, until they have reached a steady state in other words reaching carrying capacity in their facilities, says Andrew Preston, who was recently hired as the companys global RAS technical manager and has been in the RAS sector for four years. But its my experience that overall health management is much simpler in land-based systems where strict biosecurity practices can diminish the threat of viruses, bacteria and parasites entering the facilities.

The team at Benchmark predicts that land-based salmon production will reach around 350,000 tonnes globally by the end of the decade, with 90 percent of this figure being accounted for by RAS.

This may, however, change over time.

While there are fewer issues with diseases in land-based farms than in the sea, there are likely to be other health challenges that emerge as land-based farming scales up these could include issues with hormones or bacterial diseases, Melingen predicts.

Currently, however, the biosecurity afforded in RAS means that producers are typically looking for salmon with different traits compared to net pen producers.

Marine sites producers are typically looking for fish with a degree of resistance to challenges such as IPN, ISA, AGD, PD, CMS and sea lice, in different combinations. Without so many disease challenges, producers in land-based systems are mainly looking for traits such as growth, maturation [ie fish that dont mature too early, as this results in downgrades] and fillet quality, says Tziouvas.

Maturation is one of the key issues, agrees Melingen, particularly in those farms which only use freshwater and those with warmer water conditions. This is why Benchmarks range includes all-female, and all-female triploid options, and the team point to a number of studies to support their claims for reducing maturation levels through the use of these lines.

From working closely with our customers, we have collected a lot of experience that we share to help them make an optimal choice, based on their set-up, explains Melingen.

However, Melingen adds that while some adaptation is possible, using clever breeding programmes, it is essential above all for farmers to provide the optimum conditions for their fish.

Its much easier to adapt your technology to suit the biology of the salmon than the other way round, he notes.

Technology used in land-based systems, including RAS, has been evolving as the sector has been growing.

The scale is one of the biggest developments, says Preston. Initially companies were looking to produce hundreds of tonnes, now 4,000 tonnes are about the minimum, due to the economies of scale required. These improve up to about 20,000 tonnes, after which they level out.

As for the equipment providers and designers of the facilities?

There are a range of designers out there and each has a different technique for treating the water. Im quite certain that there will be adaptations to all of these systems and that fine-tuning will occur, so all companies have an equal chance to succeed, Melingen argues.

The team at Benchmark predicts that land-based salmon production will reach around 350,000 tonnes globally by the end of the decade, with 90 percent of this figure being accounted for by RAS.

Growth might be slower than expected in 2021-2023, but after that it will be steeper and I wouldnt be surprised if it reached 500,000 tonnes by 2033, reflects Melingen.

But they believe that once operators have become accustomed to their systems then things should speed up.

New systems take a period to break in, to reach a steady state its typically be anywhere from 18 months to five years, says Preston.

Benchmark Genetics

However, they are also aware that the sector still has many challenges to overcome.

What happens to Atlantic Sapphire is very important and will define the willingness of investors. The sector needs a good success story, notes Birgitte Sorheim, marketing director.

Finding and training talented personnel is also essential.

Its important to have experienced people within the RAS sector to ensure its growth. So many companies are getting funding but theres not so much experience out there, which could potentially lead to a major bottleneck, reflects Tziouvas.

And the team at Benchmark aims to help address this.

We dont just supply eggs, but we also provide support for our customers, says Tziouvas. If they dont succeed, then we dont succeed. This is something that we live by.

As for advice to land-based operators?

From a systems perspective its important to ensure that all redundancies are in place, to ensure fish welfare, and to maintain an optimal environment. Its also important to have a robust production plan and stick to that, says Preston.

Establish a close relationship with key suppliers and be willing to collaborate with other producers. Be 100 percent transparent and learn from each other. Weve seen how this has worked well for conventional, net pen salmon farmers and we think that the land-based sector should be doing the same, adds Melingen.

There are plenty of challenges that need to be overcome in the land-based salmon sector, but Benchmarks recent investments suggest that they believe that the challenges are by no means insurmountable. It will be interesting to see how genetics teamed with experience will be able to influence the long-term success.

Rob Fletcher has been writing about aquaculture since 2007, as editor of Fish Farmer, Fish Farming Expert and The Fish Site. He has an MA in history from the University of Edinburgh and an MSc in sustainable aquaculture from the University of St Andrews. He currently lives and works in Scotland.

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Use this discounted DNA kit to test your dog, find out its breed – Popular Science

Posted: at 4:08 am

DNA tests have become all the rage for Americans curious about their heritage and roots. But what about Fido? Now you can test the DNA of your dog with theOrivet Dog DNA Test Kit, a tool that gives you a ton of incredible information about your pet, and which is currently available for 12 percent off its list price.

The kit is easy to use. Simply activate it online, collect your dogs DNA with some included swabs, and send the samples to a lab with a prepaid envelope. Then sit back and wait for the results to come in.

What you will get in return is a breed-percentage report for your dog. This report will break down by the numbers how much of any particular breed your dog is. You can answer simple questions, like, Is he or she a purebred? This test will give you the answer and help you figure out, if not a purebred, what exactly is in your dogs history.

That part is certainly interesting. But the DNA test does so much more for the health of your animal. The test includes a LifePlan to help you and your vet develop a management plan for your pets life. Youll get a personalized wellness approach based on their breed, age, weight, gender, geographical location and lifestyle.

The LifePlan also includes a schedule you can share with your vet to implement a customized well plan for your dog.

On top of all of these marvelous,helpful tools for dog owners, the LifePlan also gives you insights into your canines personality and behavior, and it offers nutritional suggestions for them. It also gives you routine health care advise, and helps keep you on track with your dogs needed vaccinations.

Users have praised the DNA kit for its ease of use and as a helpful aid to figure out a dogs breed scientifically instead of relying on the word of a breeder. One customer named Jeffrey Brewster even said, Ive always thought my dog was part beagle because thats what the adoption agency told me, but it ends up hes not! Thanks to this product I now know my dogs actual makeup! How cool is that?

Normally priced at $109, thisdog KNA kitcan be yours for a limited time for just $94.99, a savings of 14 percent.

Prices subject to change

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Will Applied DNA Sciences (APDN) Report Negative Q2 Earnings? What You Should Know – Yahoo Finance

Posted: at 4:08 am

Applied DNA Sciences (APDN) is expected to deliver a year-over-year increase in earnings on higher revenues when it reports results for the quarter ended March 2021. This widely-known consensus outlook gives a good sense of the company's earnings picture, but how the actual results compare to these estimates is a powerful factor that could impact its near-term stock price.

The earnings report might help the stock move higher if these key numbers are better than expectations. On the other hand, if they miss, the stock may move lower.

While management's discussion of business conditions on the earnings call will mostly determine the sustainability of the immediate price change and future earnings expectations, it's worth having a handicapping insight into the odds of a positive EPS surprise.

Zacks Consensus Estimate

This DNA-based security technology company is expected to post quarterly loss of $0.19 per share in its upcoming report, which represents a year-over-year change of +76%.

Revenues are expected to be $2.6 million, up 372.7% from the year-ago quarter.

Estimate Revisions Trend

The consensus EPS estimate for the quarter has been revised 480% lower over the last 30 days to the current level. This is essentially a reflection of how the covering analysts have collectively reassessed their initial estimates over this period.

Investors should keep in mind that an aggregate change may not always reflect the direction of estimate revisions by each of the covering analysts.

Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Earnings Whisper

Estimate revisions ahead of a company's earnings release offer clues to the business conditions for the period whose results are coming out. Our proprietary surprise prediction model -- the Zacks Earnings ESP (Expected Surprise Prediction) -- has this insight at its core.

The Zacks Earnings ESP compares the Most Accurate Estimate to the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the quarter; the Most Accurate Estimate is a more recent version of the Zacks Consensus EPS estimate. The idea here is that analysts revising their estimates right before an earnings release have the latest information, which could potentially be more accurate than what they and others contributing to the consensus had predicted earlier.

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Thus, a positive or negative Earnings ESP reading theoretically indicates the likely deviation of the actual earnings from the consensus estimate. However, the model's predictive power is significant for positive ESP readings only.

A positive Earnings ESP is a strong predictor of an earnings beat, particularly when combined with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold). Our research shows that stocks with this combination produce a positive surprise nearly 70% of the time, and a solid Zacks Rank actually increases the predictive power of Earnings ESP.

Please note that a negative Earnings ESP reading is not indicative of an earnings miss. Our research shows that it is difficult to predict an earnings beat with any degree of confidence for stocks with negative Earnings ESP readings and/or Zacks Rank of 4 (Sell) or 5 (Strong Sell).

How Have the Numbers Shaped Up for Applied DNA Sciences?

For Applied DNA Sciences, the Most Accurate Estimate is lower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate, suggesting that analysts have recently become bearish on the company's earnings prospects. This has resulted in an Earnings ESP of -42.11%.

On the other hand, the stock currently carries a Zacks Rank of #4.

So, this combination makes it difficult to conclusively predict that Applied DNA Sciences will beat the consensus EPS estimate.

Does Earnings Surprise History Hold Any Clue?

Analysts often consider to what extent a company has been able to match consensus estimates in the past while calculating their estimates for its future earnings. So, it's worth taking a look at the surprise history for gauging its influence on the upcoming number.

For the last reported quarter, it was expected that Applied DNA Sciences would post a loss of $0.55 per share when it actually produced a loss of $0.62, delivering a surprise of -12.73%.

The company has not been able to beat consensus EPS estimates in any of the last four quarters.

Bottom Line

An earnings beat or miss may not be the sole basis for a stock moving higher or lower. Many stocks end up losing ground despite an earnings beat due to other factors that disappoint investors. Similarly, unforeseen catalysts help a number of stocks gain despite an earnings miss.

That said, betting on stocks that are expected to beat earnings expectations does increase the odds of success. This is why it's worth checking a company's Earnings ESP and Zacks Rank ahead of its quarterly release. Make sure to utilize our Earnings ESP Filter to uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they've reported.

Applied DNA Sciences doesn't appear a compelling earnings-beat candidate. However, investors should pay attention to other factors too for betting on this stock or staying away from it ahead of its earnings release.

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