Sunday, May 19, 2013

Genetic Mutations Probable Cause of Some Infant Heart Defects

Congenital heart defect (CHD), the most common U. S. birth abnormality, affects approximately one in a thousand or 4,000 infants annually.

Research conducted by the Pediatric Cardiac Genomics Consortium, sponsored in part by the NIH, indicates that malfunctioning genes are causative factors for some of these developed in utero heart defects. DNA mapping of the CHD infants and their respective parents found no inherited heart disease link in 10% of the population study.
WSJ—"New Mutations Tied to Kids' Heart Ills"— May 2013

So the unresolved study question is, what substance or agents are negatively influencing genetic behavior?

Possible Suspect: Biotech Food Engineering

Foods Derived from New Plant Varieties—FDA Policy Statement

The FDA acknowledged in 1992 that the ability to genetically modify plants through recombinant DNA and cell fusion technologies might result in unintended harmful consequences. The genetically enhanced novel food products:
may include but are not limited to, significantly increased levels of plant toxicants or anti-nutrients, reduction of important nutrients, new allergens, or the presence in the food of an unapproved food additive.
FDA Guidance:
It is prudent practice for developers of new varieties to consult with the agency on safety and regulatory questions, especially with regard to products developed through new technology.
Scientific Issues Relevant to Public Health
Mutagenic techniques include both random mutagenesis, resulting from treatment with chemical and physical mutagens, and somaclonal variation, whereby, with the use of tissue culture techniques, plants are regenerated from callus or leaf tissue explants. The regenerated plants often have properties not found in the progenitor plant, reflecting both preexisting cellular genetic differences and tissue-culture induced mutations. The mutations range from single gene changes to chromosomal rearrangements. Mutagenesis techniques are limited, however, by their inability to target a desired trait. Somaclonal variants also frequently are unstable or infertile.
Recombinant DNA techniques involve the isolation and subsequent introduction of discrete DNA segments containing the gene(s) of interest into recipient (host) plants. The DNA segments can come from any organism (microbial, animal, or plant). In theory, essentially any trait whose gene has been identified can be introduced into virtually any plant, and can be introduced without extraneous unwanted genetic material. Since these techniques are more precise, they increase the potential for safe, better-characterized, and more predictable foods.
Unexpected Effects
Virtually all breeding techniques have potential to create unexpected (including pleiotropic{5} effects. For example, mutations unrelated to the desired modification may be induced; undesirable traits may be introduced along with the desired traits; newly introduced DNA may physically insert into a transcriptionally active site on the chromosome, and may thereby inactivate a host gene or alter control of its expression; the introduced gene product or a metabolic product affected by the genetic change may interact with other cellular products to produce a deleterious effect. Plant breeders using well established practices have successfully identified and eliminated plants that exhibit unexpected, adverse traits prior to commercial use.

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