How Blue Eyes Originated!


Close-up of a blue-eyed koala
Close-up of a blue-eyed koala (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


How Blue eyes Originated

Everyone with blue eyes alive today – from Angelina Jolie to Wayne Rooney – can trace their ancestry back to one person who probably lived about 10,000 years ago in the Black Sea region, a study has found. Scientists studying the genetics of eye colour have discovered that more than 99.5 per cent of blue-eyed people who volunteered to have their DNA analysed have the same tiny mutation in the gene that determines the colour of the Iris.

This indicates that the mutation originated in just one person who became the ancestor of all subsequent people in the world with blue eyes, according to a study by Professor Hans Eiberg and colleagues at the University of Copenhagen.

The scientists are not sure when the mutation occurred but other evidence suggested it probably arose about 10,000 years ago when there was a rapid expansion of the human population in Europe as a result of the spread of agriculture from the Middle East.

“The mutations responsible for blue eye colour most likely originate from the north-west part of the Black Sea region, where the great agricultural migration of the northern part of Europe took place in the Neolithic periods about 6,000 to 10,000 years ago,” the researchers report in the journal Human Genetics.

Professor Eiberg said that brown is the “default” colour for human eyes which results from a build-up of the dark skin pigment, melanin. However, in northern Europe a mutation arose in a gene known as OCA2 that disrupted melanin production in the iris and caused the eye colour to become blue.

“Originally, we all had brown eyes,” said Professor Eiberg. “But a genetic mutation affecting the OCA2 gene in our chromosomes resulted in the creation of a ‘switch’ which literally turned off the ability to produce brown eyes.”

Variations in the colour of people’s eyes can be explained by the amount of melanin in the iris, but blue-eyed individuals only have a small degree of variation in the amount of melanin in their eyes, he said.

“From this we can conclude that all blue-eyed individuals are linked to the same ancestor. They have all inherited the same switch at exactly the same spot in their DNA,” said Professor Eiberg.

Men and women with blue eyes have almost exactly the same genetic sequence in the part of the DNA responsible for eye colour. However, brown-eyed people, by contrast, have a considerable amount of individual variation in that area of DNA.

Professor Eiberg said he has analysed the DNA of about 800 people with blue eyes, ranging from fair-skinned, blond-haired Scandinavians to dark-skinned, blue-eyed people living in Turkey and Jordan.

“All of them, apart from possibly one exception, had exactly the same DNA sequence in the region of the OCA2 gene. This to me indicates very strongly that there must have been a single, common ancestor of all these people,” he said.

It is not known why blue eyes spread among the population of northern Europe and southern Russia. Explanations include the suggestions that the blue eye colour either offered some advantage in the long hours of daylight in the summer, or short hours of daylight in winter, or that the trait was deemed attractive and therefore advantageous in terms of sexual selection.

Source The Independent


don´t close your eyes: here are those horses whose meat are aten by meat-eaters. A NIGHTMARISH HORSE-MARKET IN POLLAND

SHARE, SHARE, SHARE!!! Dear Friends, we need your help to carry this message as far as possible, and reach everyone who can be in Poland next month. A peaceful road blockade to stop Skaryszew’s illegal transports to slaughterhouses is planned for February 17-18, more info: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.397712946982886&type=1 (in Polish)
FYI: Skaryszew – the shame of Poland. It is one of the most brutal meat markets in Europe. This is where animals (mostly horses) are sold to Western European slaughterhouses. This is also where drunken farmers use metal rods to beat the already abused, exploited and terrified animals, as well as the activists… This is where it is normal to see animals kicked or hanged… It’s an annual “event”. Support Polish activists, who are trying to stop this horror: https://www.facebook.com/events/421896777883856/

1st update from Skaryszew.
Documented sick and injured horses brought to the market to be sold for meat to Western European slaughterhouses. The horse pictured here was purchased by the activists and rushed to the hospital, where he is currently under the vet’s care. Photographer: Tadeusz Klocek
Source: http://www.echodnia.eu/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=%2F20130218%2FPOWIAT0210%2F130218890
More info about Skaryszew’s brutal meat market: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=401279666626078&set=pb.368534609900584.-2207520000.1361160727&type=3&theater

Horsemeat scandal blamed on international fraud

Horsemeat scandal blamed on international fraud by mafia gangs

DNA testing of food to be stepped up following fears there has been criminal activity on an international scale

Environment secretary Owen Paterson wants to see more DNA testing on food products. Photograph: Will Oliver/AFP

Organised criminal gangs operating internationally are suspected of playing a major role in the horsemeat scandal that has seen supermarket shelves cleared of a series of products and triggered concerns about the contamination of the UK’s food chain.

Sources close to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Food Standards Agency said it appeared that the contamination of beefburgers, lasagne and other products was the result of fraud that had an “international dimension”.

Experts within the horse slaughter industry have told the Observer there is evidence that both Polish and Italian mafia gangs are running multimillion-pound scams to substitute horsemeat for beef during food production. There are claims that vets and other officials working within abattoirs and food production plants are intimidated into signing off meat as beef when it is in fact cheaper alternatives such as pork or horse.

In an attempt to reassure the public that Britain’s food chain was not victim to systemic fraud, the environment secretary Owen Paterson on Saturday met representatives from the big four supermarkets, retail bodies and leading food producers to thrash out a plan to increase the amount of DNA testing of food.

“The retailers have committed to conduct more tests and in the interests of public confidence I’ve asked them to publish them on a quarterly basis,” said Paterson. He stressed there was no evidence yet that the scandal had become a public safety issue.

Paterson insisted retailers had to play the leading role in clamping down on the problem. “Ultimate responsibility for the integrity of what is sold on their label has to lie with the retailer.”

The last time the government sanctioned testing for horsemeat in animal products was in 2003 when equine DNA was found in salami.

The first results of a new series of tests for equine DNA in what the FSA terms “comminuted beef products” – where solid materials are reduced in size by crushing or grinding – will be published on Friday. “We have to be prepared that there will be more bad results coming through,” Paterson said.

He confirmed that the government was open to bringing in the Serious and Organised Crime Agency if, as seems evident, the fraud is on an international scale. He said the Metropolitan police had been asked to investigate the scandal and that the force was liaising with counterparts in other countries. Paterson suggested the scandal was potentially a “worldwide” issue.

“I’m concerned that this is an international criminal conspiracy here and we’ve really got to get to the bottom of it,” he said.

The Labour MP Mary Creagh said she was passing information to police that suggested several British companies were involved in the illegal horsemeat trade. “I hope that this information will enable the police to act speedily to stamp out these criminals who are putting the future of the food industry at risk.”

Concerns about the substitution of horsemeat for beef first emerged in mid-January when supermarket chains withdrew several ranges of burgers. Fears of contamination prompted hundreds of European food companies to conduct DNA checks on their products that resulted in the food giant, Findus, discovering that one of its products, a frozen beef lasagne, contained meat that was almost 100% horse.

It has emerged that Findus conducted three tests on its products on 29 January that suggested there was horsemeat contamination. The revelation has raised questions about why it took several days for the products to be pulled from the shelves.

Findus indicated it was ready to sue as the company announced it would on Monday file a complaint against an unidentified party.

In a statement, the firm said: “Findus is taking legal advice about the grounds for pursuing a case against its suppliers, regarding what they believe is their suppliers’ failure to meet contractual obligations about product integrity. The early results from Findus UK’s internal investigation strongly suggests that the horsemeat contamination in beef lasagne was not accidental.”

Supermarket chain Aldi has confirmed that two of its ready meal ranges produced by Comigel, the French supplier also used by Findus, were found to contain between 30% and 100% horsemeat.

Comigel claims it sourced its meat from Romania, which has been subjected to export restrictions due to the prevalence of the viral disease equine infectious anaemia in the country. Spanghero, the French company that supplied the meat for the Findus beef lasagne, announced it will also sue its Romanian suppliers.

The scandal has raised questions about what happens to the 65,000 horses transported around the EU each year for slaughter. The campaign group World Horse Welfare said thousands of animals suffered as a result of making long journeys across national borders. Partly as a result of welfare concerns, the trade in live horses has fallen dramatically. In 2001, 165,000 horses were shipped across Europe.

The decline in the cross-border trade in live horses has seen an increase in the sale of chilled and frozen horsemeat, much of which goes to Italy. Last year Romania significantly increased its export of frozen horsemeat to the Benelux countries.

Attention is now focusing on eastern Europe, a major supplier of horsemeat to France and Italy. Some of the meat that went into Ireland came from suppliers in Poland, which exports around 25,000 horses for slaughter each year. Industry sources also suggested to the Observer that gangs operating in Russia and the Baltic states were playing a role in the fraudulent meat trade.

Other food companies have, as a result of their investigations, found that their supplies have been contaminated. The FSA confirmed that meat held in cold storage in Northern Ireland has been impounded after it was discovered to contain equine DNA. A London-based company, 3663, found pork in some of the halal meat it supplies the prison service.

Questions are now being asked about meat supplied to a range of public sector organisations, including the NHS. “Every NHS and healthcare organisation will have different local circumstances and it would be for those organisations to satisfy themselves that the food they supply meets the needs of their patients,” said the Department of Health. “Any investigations into the provenance of those supplies would also be done locally.”

British farmers have expressed concerns that the scandal could affect consumer confidence in British beef. “Our members are rightly angry and concerned with the recent developments relating to contaminated processed meat products,” said the National Farmers’ Union president, Peter Kendall. “The contamination took place post farm-gate which farmers have no control over.”

Every Year the Town of Villanueva in Extremadura, Spain, …

Every year, February 24, the town of Villanueva in Extremadura, Spain is guilty of an appalling crime that no one has yet succeeded in stopping. A donkey is being systematically abused by a physical and psychological point of view: it is dragged through the crowded streets of the village and brutally beaten by drunk men (see the photo at the beginning?). They fired shots at his head, exploding firecrackers between his legs. The result is that, because of the shock, the donkey passes out and collapses several times during the day. 


Japanese Scientists Create Genetically-Modified Animal

dick mouse
Image via Wikipedia

The mouse that tweets like a bird: Japanese scientists create genetically-modified animal By Daily Mail Reporter Last updated at 4:44 PM on 27th January 2012 Comments (63) Share Japanese scientists have produced a genetically-engineered mouse that tweets like a bird, it was revealed today. A team of researchers at the University of Osaka are breeding genetically modified mice that are prone to miscopying DNA and are more likely to develop mutations. The ‘tweeting’ mouse was created as part of the team’s ‘Evolved Mouse Project. They hope it will shed new light on how languages evolve. Click here to listen to the singing mouse A mouse genetically engineered to tweet like a bird has been created in Japan ‘Mutations are the driving force of evolution. We have cross-bred the genetically modified mice for generations to see what would happen,’ lead researcher Arikuni Uchimura said. ‘We checked the newly born mice one by one… One day we found a mouse that was singing like a bird,’ he told AFP. He said that the ‘singing mouse’ was born by chance but that the trait will be passed on to future generations. ‘I was surprised because I had been expecting mice that are different in physical shape,’ he said by telephone The project has also produced ‘a mouse with short limbs and a tail like a dachshund’. The laboratory, directed by professor Takeshi Yagi at the Osaka University’s Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences in western Japan, now has more than 100 ‘singing mice’ for further research. The team hopes they will provide clues on how human language evolved, just as researchers in other countries study songbirds such as finches to help them understand the origins of human language. ‘Mice are better than birds to study because they are mammals and much closer to humans in their brain structures and other biological aspects,’ Uchimura said. ‘We are watching how a mouse that emits new sounds would affect ordinary mice in the same group… in other words if it has social connotations,’ he said, adding that ordinary mice squeak mainly under stress. Uchimura said their chirps ‘may be some sort of expressions of their emotions or bodily conditions.’ The team has found that ordinary mice that grew up with singing mice emitted fewer ultrasound squeaks than others. This could mean that communication methods can spread in the same group like a dialect. Uchimura dreams of further ‘evolution’ of mice through genetic engineering. ‘I know it’s a long shot and people would say it’s ‘too absurd’… but I’m doing this with hopes of making a Mickey Mouse some day,’ he said. Read more:


Wolrld´s First Chimera Monkeys

WONDER OF THE WEEK (sent by e-mail)

Flying robots, the builders of tomorrowWorld’s first chimera monkeys.

Researchers at the Oregon National Primate Research Center at Oregon Health & Science University have successfully created the first chimeric monkeys.

What the heck is a chimera, and why is it important, you ask?

A chimera is a single living creature made of populations of two or more distinct genetic cells. Within each of these rhesus monkeys is the DNA from six different rhesus monkeys — all mixed together. The genes themselves are not mixed or fused; each cell retains its own individual genetic identity, but it is mixed in with other such identities. It’s like six separate monkeys all in one.

The lessons from this are complex and do not directly contribute to something whiz-bang that makes a good headline. It’s really a step in research, not an end unto itself. Here is the researchers’ abstract:

Totipotent cells in early embryos are progenitors of all stem cells and are capable of developing into a whole organism, including extraembryonic tissues such as placenta. Pluripotent cells in the inner cell mass (ICM) are the descendants of totipotent cells and can differentiate into any cell type of a body except extraembryonic tissues. The ability to contribute to chimeric animals upon reintroduction into host embryos is the key feature of murine totipotent and pluripotent cells. Here, we demonstrate that rhesus monkey embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and isolated ICMs fail to incorporate into host embryos and develop into chimeras. However, chimeric offspring were produced following aggregation of totipotent cells of the four-cell embryos. These results provide insights into the species-specific nature of primate embryos and suggest that a chimera assay using pluripotent cells may not be feasible. 

In short, in some species, embryonic stem cells fail to incorporate into host cells. It’s not so much “Awesome, we made a chimera,” more like “Hmmm, we can’t always depend on cells integrating the way me might hope.”