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Archive for the ‘Female Genetics’ Category

7 Things Most Women Believe About Men And Sex (That Simply Aren’t True!) –

30 August 2017

By sex and relationship expert Tracey Cox

Tracey Cox

Men watch porn mostmen watch porn. But most men enjoy porn without binging on itandenjoy sex with their partners. Most dont replace one with the other.

Watching porn doesnt mean hes more likely to cheat either. In fact, if he has a higher sex drive than you and hes watching porn, chances are hes probably NOT cheating.

There are certain bits on human bodies that feel good sexually if theyre touched in the right way. Were hot-wired that way.

If you couldnt see and didnt know who was touching you, you could be turned on by anyone.

And I mean anyone.

While our brains most certainly contribute to what turns us on, theres a hell of a lot of anatomy at play also.

The term erogenous zone refers to places in our body that are packed with nerve endings so have heightened sensitivity.

The anus is one of them. Stimulate it effectively and he will feel pleasure – simple as that.

If he enjoys anal simulation, its because it feels good and hes comfortable enough in his sexuality NOT to be hung up on the this must mean Im gay myth.

Anal stimulation alone does not make him gay. Continually wanting to and having sex with other men is what makes him gay (or bi).

Some men do. Some women do as well. Some men also want to watch sport all the time. Some dont. Some men want to sleep all the time. Some dont. I think you get my drift.

There is continual and constant research on male versus female sex drives that turns up interesting and complex results. The implications are there are many factors at play, when predicting someones sex drive, not just gender.

The standard sex myth that says men want sex, women want love is pass and hopelessly out of date. In fact, research by online sex toy retailer Lovehoney found that sex with love was more important to men than women.

Plenty of things stop him getting hard too much alcohol, not feeling well, stress, performance anxiety, some medication, the need for more or different stimulation and the list goes on.

Contrary to popular belief, his penis isnt operated by a mechanical lever that moves to up whenever he sees a hot woman.

OK, well there might be something in that theory for the average 17-year-old but once grown-up life steps in, with all its pressures and stress, that soon disappears.

No doubt Donald Trump believes it but most (sane) men gave up on the Sorry I cheated honey but Im programmed to do it argument eons ago.

Women are still more socialized to restrict themselves to one partner but figures for the number of women having affairs continues to rise.

Were not animals we have brains and the ability to reason. Cheating is a choice not a biological need.

Psychologically, most men would probably prefer to have an erection during any sort of sexual activity even if penetrative sex isnt on the agenda.

Why? Because both sexes have been brainwashed to think desire equals a hard penis. It doesnt. (See above)

Arousal happens in the brain: he could be massively turned on giving you oral but still not be hard by time youve had an orgasm.

Turning you on is a huge erotic kick: your reaction is about to star in his next masturbatory session.

While there are a lot of things that can help me hold off orgasm and ejaculation, its also down to genetics. The size of his penis, how long his dad lasted (and his dad) all this is completely out of his control.

By all means try out all the tried-and-tested methods but after that, let it go and work around it if he doesnt last long.

Tracey has her own range of sex toys with Lovehoney, Britain’s biggest online sex toy retailer.

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7 Things Most Women Believe About Men And Sex (That Simply Aren’t True!) –

Kamagra gold 100mg review – Laughlin Entertainer

When an experiment turns into a tradition in Laughlin, it means there was a show worth taking a chance on at one timethen consistently that same show proved itself time after time to be one audiences didnt want to miss. The Memorial Day Comedy Festival at the Riverside Resort was that show. Experiencing comedy served up as a variety show with veteran comedian Gabe Lopez as the shows producer, performer and emcee was like discovering a hidden gem on the entertainment landscapemore along the lines of one of those underground clubs in Vegas, known only to a lucky few. But now the word is out and the Comedy Festival is coming back to the Riverside Resort over the Labor Day weekend this time.

If you are a local, or a regular visitor to Laughlinespecially if your visits are on holiday weekendsyou are aware that the Avi Resort & Casino doesnt simply wait for the Fourth of July to set off a major fireworks display. Nope. Beginning in 1996, and continuing every year since, they have been filling the skies above the Colorado River with the amped-up creations of Zambelli Internationale Fireworks on Memorial Day weekend, the Fourth of July and Labor Day weekend.

The Colorado Belle is home to a multitude of outdoor festivals that embrace particular themes and for the Labor Day Riverwalk Festival, its a celebration of the end of summer and the cooler temperatures just starting to take hold of the Colorado River regionthink of it as one big neighborhood block party.

Theres a lot to be said for being in the right place at the right time, but could Air Supplys long-time success be the result or a chance meeting or was the cosmos working overtime on a little something called destiny? Maybe, but one thing is for surenone of it would have been possible at all without their hard work and tenacity to make it happen.The two Russells, Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock, happened to be cast in the same Sydney, Australian production of Jesus Christ Superstar in 1975, and everything changed after that.

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Kamagra gold 100mg review – Laughlin Entertainer

I Have a 50/50 Chance of Developing Huntington’s Disease – SELF

I dont remember the exact moment I found out my dad had Huntingtons disease, or how I found out it was genetic. What I do remember is showing off, in high school biology, that I knew the Huntington’s gene was dominant in males. My reasoning was that my dad, his dad, and his granddad all had Huntingtons. I knew my two sisters and I still had a chance at getting it, but it wasnt as likely. This, of course, is not true.

Looking back, I clearly wanted to believe it was more common in men. I used that explanation as a coping mechanism to deal with the fact that, as a 14-year-old, not only was my dad dying, but he was dying from something my sisters and I might die from, too.

For those of you who dont know what Huntingtons disease is, its a fatal genetic disorder that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain,” according to the Huntingtons Disease Society of America (HDSA). “It deteriorates a person’s physical and mental abilities during their prime working years and has no cure.” The HDSA Web site even notes that many describe the symptoms as a combination of having Parkinsons, Alzheimers and ALS all at once. Those symptoms can include mood swings, depression, and personality changes; slurred speech; the inability to think clearly; involuntary movements called chorea; and eventually the inability to walk, talk, and swallow.

The typical HD patient begins showing symptoms between the ages of 30 to 50, according to the HDSA, which worsen over a 10- to 25-year span. My dad was diagnosed in his forties and passed away two days before his 58th birthday. People with Huntingtons often die from infections, aspiration pneumonia, or even complications from falling. My dads cause of death was cardiorespiratory failure, brought on by all the health issues surrounding his disease.

Although there are only about 30,000 symptomatic Americans currently living with HD, there are more than 200,000 who are at risk. To me, this at-risk reality is like being forced to live in no mans land. The whole 50/50 thing is so definitely not definite. Its unsettling knowing what my exact odds are and that they dont lean one way or another. The odds arent against me, but they arent in my favor either.

The uncertainty can be put to rest by a not-so-simple genetic test. Jill Goldman, genetic counselor at the Taub Institute at Columbia University Medical Center, tells SELF that there is an international protocol which includes a DNA component that can reveal whether an individual will develop the disease. First, the person at risk will call an HD or movement disorder clinic to get information such as what the protocol entails, what the risks are, and what it costs.

Next comes a meeting with a genetic counselor who further educates the individual on the genetics of the disease and provides guidance on the potential impact of dealing with the DNA result. Its having the person think about everything that theyre going to have to deal with after getting the test results, says Goldman. Talking about what they would do with a positive result, could they cope with that? What about a negative result, because for some people that can be just as devastating.

If the person wishes to continue, he or she often moves on to a psychiatrist for an evaluation. Here they will explore different coping mechanisms and ways to handle the diagnosis. Theyre also going to explore if the person is coming in with anxiety or depression,” says Goldman. If there are any concerns or a person isn’t psychologically prepared for what lies ahead, then therapy will be recommended.

The last step in the protocol is the actual neurological exam and the DNA test. Here, the at-risk person usually has a choice about whether they want to hear what the neurologist finds or not, explains Goldman. It’s obviously an extremely personal decision to do this. Less than 20 percent of people at risk come for testing, and many of them will actually stop the process, she says. Even after having their blood drawn, there are people who dont come for their results.

I thought there was no way I could live without knowing. I figured if I tested negative, it would lift this huge weight off my shoulders. If I tested positive, at least I could deal with it head on.

I have since grown out of this mentality and decided its best I dont 100 percent know what my fate with HD is. It wasnt until I was 17 or 18 years old that I realized I didnt actually want to know my results. If Im being honest with myself, its probably because I got scared. The idea of feeling mortal at a time in your life when youre supposed to feel invincible was way too frightening for my mind to grasp at the time. It still is at age 24. I already lost a lot of my youth through a divorce and a sick parent. I didnt need to push myself into another form of maturity over another life issue most people dont have to deal with until theyve lived another 50 years or more.

To me, not knowing seems like my best option if I want to live a normal life. Most people dont know what health issues theyll have to deal with in the future; why would I need to know? If I decide to start a family, Ill probably get tested. But until then, Id rather live with my 50/50 chance.

Even though I dont want to know my results, I still accept and recognize that HD is a part of my life. Huntingtons tends to be one of those diseases that some people choose to ignore or keep a secret, which I get; HD is a daunting reality and people should handle it however they feel is safest and healthiest for them. For me, I have found it best to fully embrace my at-risk status. By acknowledging and owning it, I feel I am able to gain more control in an uncontrollable situation. By sharing my status and having HD in my life now, it wont be as earth-shattering if it comes later. By being up front, I am able to (somewhat) avoid pity. Its hard to pity someone who isnt hiding or ashamed.

Most importantly, sharing my reality helps spread awareness of the disease. Whether Im writing about it to a wide audience like this or sharing my story with friends who share it with more friends, I truly believe that its through awareness that we will bring an end to this disease.

Theres no one clear way I can describe how it feels to have a 50/50 chance of Huntingtons. Honesty, it depends on if Im having a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty kind of a day. Sometimes I feel jealous that other people dont have to deal with a life-changing decision, other times I feel grateful for how its motivated and shaped me as a person. My feelings are full of these types of contradictories thanks to the uncertainty a 50/50 chance like mine leaves you with.

Overall, though, I feel sad. Even though Ive come to terms with my 50/50 reality, I still feel sad picturing my life coming to end because of HD. I dont mean a dying end eitherwere all going to die. I mean the life that I know as a loving friend, partner, daughter, and writer ending. Because inevitably, if I do have HD, thats the reality I face. And since this reality is the only experience Ive had with HD, its hard for me to imagine living on the right half of 50 percent.


You May Also Like: I Have a Pre-Existing Condition: Real People Share Their Health Conditions

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I Have a 50/50 Chance of Developing Huntington’s Disease – SELF

Royan Intl. Research Award to honor Iranian, foreign researchers – Tehran Times

TEHRAN The Royan International Research Award will appreciate ten Iranian and foreign researchers for their achievements during a ceremony which is scheduled to be held in Tehran on August 30.

Iranian researchers along with foreign researchers from around the world will accept awards on behalf of their scientific achievements concurrent with Royan International Twin Congress on Reproductive Biomedicine and Stem Cells Biology and Technology (August 30-September 1).

According to the Royan congress official website the event is a unique scientific event in its own fields in Iran and the Middle East. The congress is a joint of two separate congresses with different themes held by Royan Research Institute Reproductive Biomedicine and Stem Cells Research Center. Speakers from the UK, Europe and the U.S deliver speeches at the event annually.

Thank you for all of exceptional assistance in arranging my most interesting visit to the Royan institute and Iran. It was the best congress I have ever been at, everyone was extremely conscious, kind and helpful, said Stuart Howards, Professor of University of Virginia Charlottesville, U.S., about the event published among the views on the event in Royan congress website.

Elsewhere Professor Jorge Ferrer, Chair in Genetics and Medicine, Section Head, Genomics and Genetics Theme Leader, Imperial College London, UK said thank you for your note and most importantly thank you for all of exceptional assistance in arranging my most interesting visit to the Royan institute and Iran.

Professor Maarten van Lohuizen, Researcher at Netherlands Cancer Institute and invited speaker of 15th Royan Congress also said best of luck with your work, I am very impressed with the achievements you make at the Royan stem cell Institute and sincerely hope that the restrictions will be soon lifted to aid your scientific work.

Each year the prominent researches with outstanding help in solving problems in reproduction and stem cell fields, are announced, appreciated and rewarded. This annual award is a prize given to prominent research projects in the field of reproductive biomedicine, stem cell biology and technology and other related subjects.

Royan annual award is extending into a higher quality event every year, increasing the scientific level and number of the submitted papers. The submitted research articles are categorized according to nine scientific groups: female infertility, reproductive genetics, epidemiology, ethics, embryology, andrology, reproductive imaging, stem cell biology and technology and biotechnology.

This years winners are comprising of 5 Iranian and 5 foreign researchers.

Thomas Braun from Germany for his research on compaction of chromatin seals quiescence of muscle stem cells, Riccardo Fodde from the Netherlands for his research titled diet, inflammation, and stem cells: trading off regenerative response with cancer risk, and David Greening from Australia for his research entitled exosomes: a new paradigm in embryo-maternal cross-talk for successful implantation.

Two Japanese researchers will accept the award: Kaei Nasu for his research called roles of aberrantly expressed microRNAs in endometriosis, and Khaleque KHAN for his research on Mmolecular detection of intrauterine microbial colonization in women with endometriosis are the five winners of the award.

Moreover, Iranian researchers including Mahnaz Ashrafi for her research titled assisted reproductive outcomes in women with different polycystic ovary syndrome phenotypes: the predictive value of anti-Mllerian hormone, Mahdi Sheikh for his research focusing on granulocyte colony stimulating factor in repeated IVF failure, a randomized trial, and Hossein Ghanbarian for his research examining RNA-directed programming of embryonic stem cell.

Additionally, Fereshteh Esfandiari for her research entitled in vitro generation of meiosis-competent germ cells from embryonic stem cells by engineering the delivery of BMP4, and lastly Kambiz Gilany for his research called untargeted metabolomic profiling of seminal plasma in Non-obstructive azoospermia men: a non-invasive detection of spermatogenesis are announced as the winners of the annual award.

Royan International Research Award was founded by the late director of Royan Institute, Dr. Saeed Kazemi Ashtiani, with the aim of encouraging the researchers and appreciation of their efforts. This annual award is extending into a higher quality event every year, increasing the scientific level and number of the submitted papers. The research papers are evaluated through an intense jury procedure by Awards national and international Jury board.

Royan Institute is a public non-profitable organization which is affiliated to Academic Center for Education, Culture and Research (ACECR) and was established in 1991 by the late Dr. Kazemi Ashtiani as a research institute for reproductive biomedicine and infertility treatments. In 1998 this institute was approved by Ministry of Health as Cell Based Research Center. Now this institute acts as leader of stem cell research and also one of the best clinics for infertility treatment.

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Royan Intl. Research Award to honor Iranian, foreign researchers – Tehran Times

Dairy cow genetics in the spotlight – The Australian Dairyfarmer

The rising popularity of genomic (DNA) testing of female dairy cattle means DataGene’s release of Australian Breeding Values (ABVs) puts the spotlight on the top herds and cows, as well as bulls.

DataGene’s genetic evaluation manager, Michelle Axford, said the August ABV release saw more herds competing for the top genomic females lists than in the past.

When genomic testing first became available to Australian dairyfarmers in 2011, a few leading dairy breeders tested a limited number of females. So, the list of top females was dominated by these herds.

With many dairy herds now routinely testing each heifer drop, the number of genetic tests ordered in the past year has increased by about 40 per cent. There are now 66,355 females with genotypes.

“August’s top genomic female lists reflect this,” she said. “For example, the Holstein top females list has an increase of 50 per cent herds contributing top females compared to the April 2017 ABV release.”

Australia’s top genomically tested Holstein cow is Glomar Goldwyn Lucky 4319, bred by the Johnston family of Sale, Victoria, with a Balanced Performance Index (BPI) of 399.

The BPI accounts for the traits that affect profit, production and longevity in the herd. A BPI of zero represents the average of mature, Australian cows, so at 399, Glomar Lucky has the genetic potential to contribute an extra $399 a year in profit.

There’s stiff competition vying for other places in the Holstein Top 10 females. Several leading breeders have strong contenders: the Ireland (Redmaw, Lockington, Vic), Lillicos (Hindlee, Smithton, Tasmania) and Lister (Calister, Calivil, Vic) families.

At a herd level, Trevor and Leah Parrish, Kangaroo Valley, NSW, continue to hold the position of top Holstein herd with an average BPI of 144. They are followed by Daryl Hoey (Beaulah Park, Katunga, Vic), Hogg family (Adlejama, Biggara, Vic) and Kitchen family (Carenda, Boyanup, WA).

Australia’s top genomically tested Jersey cow is Kings Ville SCD Belle 78, with a BPI of 337, bred by Rob and Kerrie Anderson, Drouin West, Victoria.

First place for Jersey herds is shared by Daryl Hoey (Beaulah Park, Katunga, Vic) and Con Glennen (White Star, Noorat, Vic) with an average BPI of 118.

In the Red Breeds, the Graham family (Beaulands, Nowra, NSW) continues to hold the top spot with an average BPI of 107.

Mrs Axford congratulated all the breeders involved, recognising that their achievements were the result of many years of focused breeding decisions.

“Every joining is an opportunity to improve the genetic merit of your herd,” she said. “The impact of each joining decision is permanent and compounding. Each of these farmers have demonstrated what can be achieved by making every joining decision count.”

Mrs Axford said the easiest way to improve the genetic merit of a dairy herd was to always use bulls that carry the Good Bulls icon.

There are plenty of bulls to choose from that carry the Good Bulls icon. Bulls that meet the Good Bulls criteria in the August ABV release include more than 900 Holsteins, 135 Jerseys, 20 Red Breeds, 12 Guernseys and 40 Brown Swiss.

To qualify for Good Bulls status, a bull must meet the minimum requirements for Balanced Performance Index (BPI) and reliability and be available for purchase.D

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Dairy cow genetics in the spotlight – The Australian Dairyfarmer

Wheat center looking to grow ‘gluten safe’ varieties, isolate other sought-after qualities – Topeka Capital Journal

MANHATTAN Research at the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center could revolutionize farming not just in Kansas but around the world.

Scientists there use advanced breeding techniques to isolate sought-after qualities. Different than genetic modification, breeding selects wheat varieties that need less water, can grow in extreme heat, or are durable against disease and pests in process that can take nearly a decade. Researchers at the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center hope to reduce that time so farmers can grow better wheat, faster, said Aaron Harries, vice president of research and operations.

This year, the wheat streak mosaic virus ravaged wheat crops in western Kansas. A tiny mite that remained active during an unusually warm winter spread the disease over a larger area than before. Within a few years, a variety of wheat resistant to the virus will be in the hands of farmers, Harries said.

But even as researchers develop tougher wheats, Mother Nature catches up. Disease evolves and climates change.

Were always striving to improve the yield, he said.

This year, a consortium of international geneticists will likely finish sequencing wheats genome.

Aaron Harries talks about the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center in Manhattan and the Research that is underway that could revolutionize farming not just in Kansas but across the world.

Similar to the Human Genome Project that mapped human genetics, the project, which began in part with the centers research, will lay out the fundamentals of the wheat gene so scientists can more easily identify desirable traits.

Its not just farmers that benefit from Kansas Wheat research. Varieties are being developed that are naturally sweeter, so bakers and food companies can use less sugar to sweeten doughs.

Researchers are also talking to the growing number of people who have celiac disease. Those with the condition are unable to digest gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. With clues unlocked in the wheat genome, the institute hopes to locate the specific portions of the protein that cause the reaction and breed it out or silence it, Harries said.

Thats the protein that makes bread rise, so were not trying to make it gluten free, he said. Were trying to make it celiac safe.

To find the wheat qualities farmers and consumers want, researchers not only turn to wheat currently being grown, but they also have a store of ancient grains the wild grass varieties bred together to form modern wheat. Scientists collected the grains from places such as Syria, Iraq and Israel.

We go treasure hunting for traits from those relatives and cross them into modern bread wheat, Harries said.

With all these different types of wheat on the market, Harries said the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center sees a revolution coming in the way wheat is grown, sold and processed. Currently, farmers growing consumer grain sell it to the elevator at harvest, which turns it over to a company in the food industry.

In future, farmers may contract directly with a certain company to grow a specific type of wheat.

A farmer with 100 acres may grow 50 acres of consumer wheat, 25 acres of sweet wheat and 25 acres of celiac-safe wheat, Harries said.

Ultimately that will change the way we grow wheat. he said.

Advanced research

These advances in wheat are years away, but they begin in tiny pots in the institutes more than 35,000-square-foot, $11 million facility. Thats where Heartland Plant Innovations research associate Tyler Suelter and a team breed new wheat varieties using a doubled haploid technique that can shave years off the breeding process.

Suelter said it sounds complex, but its really an acceleration of traditional breeding.

The process involves producing plants that have all the same genetics. When a variety is identified, scientists emasculate the plants, leaving only the female reproductive system.

Maize is used to pollinate the plant so an embryo is produced. Since the embryo wasnt pollinated with wheat, it has half the number of chromosomes. Breeders will later double the count, so the plant has two copies of identical chromosomes a process that takes generations with typical breeding.

The research has produced nearly 100,000 doubled haploid variations and reduces the amount of time it takes to breed a new wheat variety.

The time savings comes from how long it takes to grow the plants out. With (traditional breeding), you grow out several generations, and each takes six months, Suelter said. With doubled haploid, you basically fix those traits in a single generation.

Kansas Wheat by the numbers

$11 million facility completed in 2012.

15,000 square feet of research laboratories, including 13 growing chambers

10,000 square feet of greenhouses

2,500 wheat species in gene bank

85 percent funded by Kansas farmers

About $1.5 million annually spent on research at Kansas State University

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Wheat center looking to grow ‘gluten safe’ varieties, isolate other sought-after qualities – Topeka Capital Journal

Nature’s ‘Virgin Birth’ – Juneau Empire (subscription)

Parthenogenesis means virgin birth or the production of offspring by one parent (a female) without genetic input from a male: the females egg is not fertilized by sperm. Thus, the offspring have only their mothers genes and in most cases will be just like their mother. This asexual mode of reproduction is widespread in plants and animals, although it happens in various ways, and the resulting offspring may differ, depending on the way they were made. For example, in alpine bistort (see my recent essay in this section of the paper), the offspring are tiny plantlets, in honeybees only the males are produced parthenogenetically, and in fishes and salamanders this way of reproduction produces only females.

There are so many different life histories and such a variety of organisms that engage in parthenogenesis that it is hard to know where to start a short essay on the subject. So, of necessity, I will simplify things by, first, dealing with some basic distinctions and, second, by focusing chiefly on vertebrates.

Individuals of some organisms can reproduce both sexually and asexually. For example, a honeybee queen makes her worker broods (all females) from fertilized eggs (with two sets of chromosomes) but toward the end of the season, she produces males from unfertilized eggs (with only one set of chromosomes). Dandelions produce most of their seeds by asexual means but reportedly a small fraction of their seeds can be the result of pollination and fertilization.

Some organisms have complex life cycles in which a sexual generation alternates with an asexual, parthenogenetic generation. This pattern is found among lots of plants, such as mosses and ferns, in which the spores are produced asexually but give rise to individuals that are sexual. The pattern is also found in a variety of invertebrates, such as some crustaceans and aphids. Many aphids, for example, reproduce parthenogenetically (and viviparously) in spring and summer, producing only female offspring. As fall approaches, however, female aphids start to produce some males (with one fewer chromosome than females) also. Males and females mate, females lay overwintering, fertilized eggs, and a new generation of parthenogens emerges the following spring.

Among vertebrates, regular parthenogenesis occurs in certain populations of lizards, salamanders, a frog, a snake, and some small fishes. Most of these populations are reported to be hybrids between two or even three other species, and some are polyploid (having more than the usual two sets of chromosomes). Typically, all the offspring are female. Interestingly, in some of these all-female species, females apparently need to go through the courtship process with a male of a related species and may even need to mate with him, but the males genes never contribute to the ensuing offspring. The intricate genetics of how all those females make young with two sets of their own chromosomes are complex and differ among species; I will leave all that aside!

However, for mammals and birds, I have to deal with some genetics. In mammals, each of the normal two sets of chromosomes includes two chromosomes that determine the gender of the offspring. Females have two X chromosomes and males have one X and one Y chromosome (the labels are arbitrary). If a female were to reproduce parthenogenetically, all her offspring would also be female (XX), lacking the necessary Y chromosome to be a male. However, this mode of reproduction is unknown in naturally reproducing mammals, although reportedly it can be induced by experimental tinkering with laboratory mice.

Birds normally reproduce sexually, but here it is the males that have a pair of similar sex chromosomes (called ZZ) and the females that have dissimilar ones (ZW). I know of no reports of parthenogenesis in wild populations of birds, but the females of some varieties of domestic turkeys are known to reproduce parthenogenetically. They produce only male offspring, because, in the process, somehow the W chromosomes get lost.

Why do these organisms reproduce parthenogenetically? They have relinquished the advantages of sexual reproduction, which provide new genetic combinations every generation and hence the ability to adapt to new and changing conditions. Organisms that are sometimes sexual and sometimes parthenogenetic retain this adaptability. In contrast, organisms that are strictly parthenogenetic produce offspring just like themselves (barring mutation), so their offspring typically require exactly the same living conditions as the parents and there is little or no ability to adapt to changing circumstances. Therefore, in general, parthenogenetic reproduction is thought to have a limited evolutionary future, as each lineage meets unsuitable conditions and dies out. So it is not surprising that strict parthenogenesis is not very common in nature.

Mary F. Willson is a retired professor of ecology.

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Nature’s ‘Virgin Birth’ – Juneau Empire (subscription)

Hendrix Genetics expand layer distribution in the US – Poultry World (subscription)


News Aug 25, 2017337views

Hendrix Genetics has officially opened a new $18.5m hatchery in Nebraska, creating 45 jobs, as it aims to expand its share of the market.

The new layer hatchery has a capacity to produce 24m female chicks per year.

Key contract growers located near the new hatchery will rear and house the birds during production. The company is already working with 8 contract growers in the Grand Island area who have invested in new barns with a capacity of 40,000 birds per barn.

The Grand Island contract growers will complete the new national production hub for Hendrix Genetics in the US, enabling the firm to meet another 10% of the total US layer market needs.

Ron Joerissen, Hendrix Genetics production director layers, said: The new hatchery signifies a major step in supplying the US layer market with top quality laying hens. We are dedicated to breed for the egg producing industry of today and tomorrow.

Nebraskas Governor Pete Ricketts described the plant as a great example of value-added agriculture.

It is not only a $20m investment here that will create between 40 to 50 jobs but it is going to allow area farmers to put up these barns for the eggs that will supply this hatchery and a diversified revenue stream for those farmers who are participating, he said.

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Hendrix Genetics expand layer distribution in the US – Poultry World (subscription)

Pet of of the Week: Sweet Pea – Northwest Herald

Sweet Pea3 years 2 months old femaleCalico/Tortie DSH

She was abandoned with 3 other cats by their guardians when they moved. She lived with dogs as well as cats, but not with children. She is strikingly beautiful with her black, orange and white on her face, neck and toes. Did you know Calicos and Torties are always female due to genetics? Her bright green eyes are a contrast to her fantastic markings and then there is her little pink nose. She’s a petite girl at only 7 pounds. She has the softest fur and she loves to be petted. She is not the kind of cat that likes to be picked up or held but she does enjoy getting attention.

Her new favorite spot is on the counter so she can watch what is going on in the room. She was having a hard time adjusting to all the cats but she seems to be settling down now. One of the 4 cats that were abandoned has been adopted but we still have Polly Bear, Panda Anne and Sweet Pea. Come meet all three of them in Cat Country. Helping Paws is located at 2500 Harding Lane, Woodstock, Illinois (Off Route 14 at the Lake Shore Drive traffic light). Give us a call at 815-338-4400 or visit us online at

Sweet Pea is a volunteer favorite!

Photo provided by Helping Paws Animal Shelter

Photo provided by Helping Paws Animal Shelter

Pet of of the Week: Sweet Pea – Northwest Herald

Science recognizes transgender people – LancasterOnline

There is no possible argument that can change a faith. I respect the Aug. 14 letter writers belief (Trump transgender ban the right call). However, his statement that there is no scientific evidence supporting the existence of transgender people begs a disclaimer.

Studies have shown the amygdala a part of the human brain in gay men resembles the amygdala in the female brain. The journal Endocrine Practice noted that researchers reviewed disorders of sexual development, neuroanatomical differences in the male and female brain, and steroid hormone genetics. They concluded the data suggests a biological origin for transgender persons.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association recognizes the existence of transgender people as does the American Psychological Association.

Does the writer know that for the first six weeks of his life in utero that he was female? That would be when his mother released the hormones to change his fetus to male. But what if some mothers dont produce enough of that hormone? Or it is delivered a tad late?

We talk a lot about how wonderful diversity is, but when it shows up in humans it scares the heck out of some people.

Thousands of transgender persons served and thousands continue to serve in the military. I had the privilege of meeting Kristin Beck, who was Christian Beck, Navy Seal Team 6, before she transitioned. Im sorry the writer believes that transgender people are sinners simply because they exist.

To use a biblical reference, Id suggest Genesis 1:27, which tells us God created people in his image, both male and female. So if we are created in his image, then every person has some male and some female in them. I wonder what might happen if a person with male plumbing has a female brain? Hmm?

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Science recognizes transgender people – LancasterOnline

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Gene editing used to repair diseased genes in embryos – NHS Choices

Deadly gene mutations removed from human embryos in landmark study, reports The Guardian. Researchers have used a gene-editing technique to repair faults in DNA that can cause an often-fatal heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

This inherited heart condition is caused by a genetic change (mutation) in one or more genes. Babies born with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy have diseased and stiff heart muscles, which can lead to sudden unexpected death in childhood and in young athletes.

In this latest study researchers used a technique called CRISPR-cas9 to target and then remove faulty genes. CRISPR-cas9 acts like a pair of molecular scissors, allowing scientists to cut out certain sections of DNA. The technique has attracted a great deal of excitement in the scientific community since it was released in 2014. But as yet, there have been no practical applications for human health.

The research is at an early stage and cannot legally be used as treatment to help families affected by hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. And none of the modified embryos were implanted in the womb.

While the technique showed a high degree of accuracy, its unclear whether it is safe enough to be developed as a treatment. The sperm used in the study came from just one man with faulty genes, so the study needs to be repeated using cells from other people, to be sure that the findings can be replicated.

Scientists say it is now important for society to start a discussion about the ethical and legal implications of the technology. It is currently against the law to implant genetically altered human embryos to create a pregnancy, although such embryos can be developed for research.

The study was carried out by researchers from Oregon Health and Science University and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in the US, the Institute for Basic Science and Seoul University in Korea, and BGI-Shenzen and BGI-Quingdao in China. It was funded by Oregon Health and Science University, the Institute for Basic Science, the G. Harold and Leila Y. Mathers Charitable Foundation, the Moxie Foundation and the Leona M. and HarryB. Helmsley Charitable Trust and the Shenzhen Municipal Government of China. The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature.

The Guardian carried a clear and accurate report of the study. While their reports were mostly accurate, ITV News, Sky News and The Independent over-stated the current stage of research, with Sky News and ITV News saying it could eradicate thousands of inherited conditions and the Independent claiming it opens the possibility for inherited diseases to be wiped out entirely. While this may be possible, we dont know whether other inherited diseases might be as easily targeted as this gene mutation.

Finally, the Daily Mail rolls out the arguably tired clich of the technique leading to designer babies, which seems irrelevant at this point. The CRISPR-cas9 technique is only in its infancy and (ethics aside) its simply not possible to use genetic editing to select desirable characteristics – most of which are not the result of one single, identifiable gene. No reputable scientist would attempt such a procedure.

This was a series of experiments carried out in laboratories, to test the effects of the CRISPR-Cas9 technique on human cells and embryos. This type of scientific research helps us understand more about genes and how they can be changed by technology. It doesnt tell us what the effects would be if this was used as a treatment.

Researchers carried out a series of experiments on human cells, using the CRISPR-cas9 technique first on modified skin cells, then on very early embryos, and then on eggs at the point of fertilisation by sperm. They used genetic sequencing and analysis to assess the effects of these different experiments on cells and how they developed, up to five days. They looked specifically to see what proportion of cells carrying faulty mutations could be repaired, whether the process caused other unwanted mutations, and whether the process repaired all cells in an embryo, or just some of them.

They used skin cells (which were modified into stem cells) and sperm from one man, who carried the MYBPC3 mutation in his genome, and donor eggs from women without the genetic mutation. This is the mutation known to cause hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Normally in such cases, roughly half the embryos would have the mutation and half would not, as theres a 50-50 chance of the embryo inheriting the male or female version of the gene.

The CRISPR-cas9 technique can be used to select and delete specific genes from a strand of DNA. When this happens, usually the cut ends of the strand join together, but this causes problems so cant be used in the treatment of humans. The scientists created a genetic template of the healthy version of the gene, which they introduced at the same time as using CRISPR-cas9 to cut the mutated gene. They hoped the DNA would repair itself with a healthy version of the gene.

One important problem with changing genetic material is the development of mosaic embryos, where some of the cells have corrected genetic material and others have the original faulty gene. If that happened, doctors would not be able to tell whether or not an embryo was healthy.

The scientists needed to test all the cells in the embryos produced in the experiment, to see whether all cells had the corrected gene or whether the technique had resulted in a mixture. They also did whole genome sequencing on some embryos, to test for unrelated genetic changes that might have been introduced accidentally during the process.

All embryos in the study were destroyed, in line with legislation about genetic research on embryos.

Researchers found that the technique worked on some of the stem cells and embryos, but worked best when used at the point of fertilisation of the egg. There were important differences between the way the repair worked on the stem cells and the egg.

Only 28% of the stem cells were affected by the CRISPR-cas9 technique. Of these, most repaired themselves by joining the ends together, and only 41% were repaired by using a corrected version of the gene.

67% of the embryos exposed to CRISPR-cas9 had only the correct version of the gene higher than the 50% that would have been expected had the technique not been used. 33% of embryos had the mutated version of the gene, either in some or all their cells.

Importantly, the embryos didnt seem to use the template injected into the zygote to carry out the repair, in the way the stem cells did. They used the female version of the healthy gene to carry out the repair, instead.

Of the embryos created using CRISPR-cas9 at the point of fertilisation, 72% had the correct version of the gene in all their cells, and 28% had the mutated version of the gene in all their cells. No embryos were mosaic a mixture of cells with different genomes.

The researchers found no evidence of mutations induced by the technique, when they examined the cells using a variety of techniques. However, they did find some evidence of gene deletions caused by DNA strands splicing (joining) themselves together without repairing the faulty gene.

The researchers say they have demonstrated how human embryos employ a different DNA damage repair system to adult stem cells, which can be used to repair breaks in DNA made using the CRISPR-cas9 gene-editing technique.

They say that targeted gene correction could potentially rescue a substantial portion of mutant human embryos, and increase the numbers available for transfer for couples using pre-implantation diagnosis during IVF treatment.

However, they caution that despite remarkable targeting efficiency, CRISPR-cas9-treated embryos would not currently be suitable for transfer. Genome editing approaches must be further optimised before clinical application can be considered, they say.

Currently, genetically-inherited conditions like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy cannot be cured, only managed to reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death. For couples where one partner carries the mutated gene, the only option to avoid passing it on to their children is pre-implantation genetic diagnosis. This involves using IVF to create embryos, then testing a cell of the embryo to see whether it carries the healthy or mutated version of the gene. Embryos with healthy versions of the gene are then selected for implantation in the womb.

Problems arise if too few or none of the embryos have the correct version of the gene. The researchers suggest their technique could be used to increase the numbers of suitable embryos. However, the research is still at an early stage and has not yet been shown to be safe or effective enough to be considered as a treatment.

The other major factor is ethics and the law. Some people worry that gene editing could lead to designer babies, where couples use the tool to select attributes like hair colour, or even intelligence. At present, gene editing could not do this. Most of our characteristics, especially something as complex as intelligence, are not the result of one single, identifiable gene, so could not be selected in this way. And its likely that, even if gene editing treatments became legally available, they would be restricted to medical conditions.

Designer babies aside, society needs to consider what is acceptable in terms of editing human genetic material in embryos. Some people think that this type of technique is “playing God” or is ethically unacceptable because it involves discarding embryos that carry faulty genes. Others think that its rational to use the scientific techniques we have developed to eliminate causes of suffering, such as inherited diseases.

This research shows that the questions of how we want to legislate for this type of technique are becoming pressing. While the technology is not there yet, it is advancing fast. This research shows just how close we are getting to making genetic editing of human embryos a reality.

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Gene editing used to repair diseased genes in embryos – NHS Choices

Female fish ‘more reluctant’ to change sex than males – Phys.Org

Diplodus sargus White Sea Bream (protandrous). Credit: University of Salford

Scientists in the UK have observed a fascinating new fact about sex changing fish: the direction of sex change has implication for population numbers.

More than 400 species of fish are sequential hermaphrodites: that’s to say, they are born one sex and change to the opposite sex later in life to maximise their number of offspring. Species that change from male-to-female are called protandrous and ones changing female-to-male are termed protogynous.

Marine biologists at the University of Salford explored the influence of the direction of sex change and found population numbers to be smaller for fish that change from female into male than the other way around.

Dr Chiara Benvenuto, from the University of Salford, one of the authors of the study published today in Scientific Reports, said: “Until now, studies have mostly looked at differences between species that change sex or not, but we’re interested in the direction of sex change.

“While fecundity and reproductive success are expected to increase with size for both females and males, the fitness advantage can increase more rapidly for one sex than the other: this is when sex change can occur.

“In protandrous species, it is better to be large females, because they produce more eggs, thus small individuals reproduce as males as they grow. In protogynous species, small males cannot compete with large ones, so it is more convenient to be small females first and then turn into large, dominant males later on in life”.

The research team, which specialises in marine genetics and behavioural ecology, measured offspring production based on the number of eggs and sperm produced every year, over a lifetime, based on their growth rate and then used the diversity of genes transferred to the next generation, as a proxy for reproductive success.

Both methods concluded that regardless of the direction of sex change, individuals conform to the same strategy, producing more offspring as the second sex, making sex change a successful strategy. But crucially, they found that population numbers are smaller for protogyous species, making them less resilient.

The study co-authored by Professor Stefano Mariani and Dr Ilaria Coscia has serious implications for the fishing industry.

Dr Benvenuto explained: “We should not lump all sex changers is a single category, as male-first and female-first sex changers are quite different. It is vitally important that sex-changing behaviours are understood and accounted for particularly in the selection of those fish taken from the sea.”

The next step of the study is to focus on the effect of overfishing on these species, which are commercially important, sought by fishermen and appreciated by consumers.

Explore further: A tale of two fishes: Biologists find male, female live-bearing fish evolve differently

More information: C. Benvenuto et al. Ecological and evolutionary consequences of alternative sex-change pathways in fish, Scientific Reports (2017). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-09298-8

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Female fish ‘more reluctant’ to change sex than males – Phys.Org

Largest study of its kind reveals women have superior response to … – Medical Xpress

Female patients with locally advanced esophageal cancer that is treated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy before surgery are more likely to have a favorable response to the treatment than male patients are, and women are less likely to experience cancer recurrence, according to a study published online today in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

“Esophageal cancer is one of the deadliest cancers in the world,” said senior author K. Robert Shen, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. “It affects men and women differently. Men are more at risk to develop this cancer, and it appears that women respond better to the treatments.”

Esophageal cancer is four times more common in men than in women, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). The ACS estimates that there will be about 16,940 (13,360 men and 3,580 women) new esophageal cancer cases diagnosed in 2017, with approximately 15,690 deaths (12,720 men and 2,970 women). The lifetime risk to develop esophageal cancer is 1 in 125 for men and 1 in 454 for women.

Dr. Shen and colleagues from the Mayo Clinic analyzed data from all female patients with locally advanced esophageal cancer who underwent chemotherapy and radiation prior to surgery between 1990 and 2013 at all three Mayo Clinic sites (Rochester, MN, Scottsdale, AZ, and Jacksonville, FL). A comparison group of male patients were identified based on matching criteria such as age, pretreatment clinical stage, histologic type, and surgical era. Only patients staged preoperatively with computed tomographic scans and endoscopic ultrasonography were included.

The final cohort included 366 patients (145 women, 221 men). The median age for female patients was 64 years and 61 years for male patients. They had two primary types of esophageal canceradenocarcinoma (cancer originating in gland cells/lower part of the esophagus), found in 105 (72 percent) women and 192 (87 percent) men, and squamous cell carcinoma (cancer starting in cells that line the esophagus), diagnosed in 40 (28 percent) women and 29 (13 percent) men.

“We believe our study represents the largest group of female patients ever studied specifically to analyze the impact of gender on response to treatment and long-term outcomes,” said Dr. Shen. “It is also the only one to use a methodology where female and male patients were matched based on certain characteristics to eliminate possible confounding factors.”

The study showed that either complete or near complete pathologic response occurred in 84 women (58 percent) vs. 103 men (47 percent). In addition, tumor recurrences occurred in 116 (32 percent) patients (38 female, 69 male), resulting in men having an 80 percent increased risk of recurrence. There also was a trend toward superior 5-year survival for women vs. men (52.1 percent vs. 44.0 percent), but this did not reach statistical significance.

“The results of this study are intriguing because they suggest that by focusing on individualized and targeted approaches to esophageal cancer treatment, we may be more successful in improving outcomes for future patients,” said Dr. Shen.

In fact, Dr. Shen explained that the research group recognizes that most cancers affect individuals in different ways, which reflects possible variations in the biology and genetics of the tumor. This remains an active area of research at the Mayo Clinic.

“If the genetic or molecular basis that explains our findings can be elucidated, one can conceive of chemoradiation therapy regimens that are more targeted based on the genetic signatures of each patient’s tumors,” said Dr. Shen. “An individualized approach to cancer treatment will likely lead to the greatest gains in the treatment of many cancers.”

Explore further: Treatment improved overall survival in elderly patients with early-stage esophageal cancer

More information: Phillip G. Rowse et al. Sex Disparities After Induction Chemoradiotherapy and Esophagogastrectomy for Esophageal Cancer, The Annals of Thoracic Surgery (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2017.05.030

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Largest study of its kind reveals women have superior response to … – Medical Xpress

Cedar Ridge Genetics Home of America’s Elite Sowherd

Cedar Ridge Farms was established in 1954 by the late Fred and Betty Grohmann. Their six sons, Bob, Dennis, Stan, Mike, Randy, and Freddie, now own and operate the farm. We invite you to view the information throughout the site and contact us about you in what we have to offer.

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Heifer donated for 2018 Angus Foundation package – Farmers Advance

Farmers Advance Published 10:21 a.m. ET Aug. 20, 2017

The Angus Foundation is pleased to announce that Jim Coleman, Vintage Angus Ranch, Modesto, CA, is donating the heifer that will anchor the Angus Foundation Heifer Package.

It is an honor for Vintage Angus Ranch to donate the 2018 Angus Foundation heifer, says Jim Coleman, Vintage Angus Ranch owner. We are selecting a very elite female to represent the very best of Vintage Angus Ranch that truly delivers upon our goal of producing ultimate Angus genetics. Again, we are humbled by this prestigious invitation from the Angus Foundation, and consider it a privilege to give back to the Angus breed.

The Angus Foundation Heifer Package will be auctioned on January 10, 2018, at the National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colo.

We are honored that Vintage Angus Ranch has stepped up to donate the female for the 2018 Angus Foundation Heifer Package, says Milford Jenkins, Angus Foundation President. This heifer will provide the lucky buyer with some of the best genetics in the Angus breed while simultaneously generating funds for educational, research and youth activities advancing the Angus breed.

The 2018 Angus Foundation heifer is a February 2017 female out of Blackbird 8809 and sired by Discovery X 8809, one of the most sought-after sires in the Angus breed today. Discovery progeny are known for displaying light birth weights and exceptional growth. The heifers dam is the famous dam of Foreman, Generation, Index, Ranger, Frontier, Complete 1209, Commander, Reserve and Rubicon.

Coleman and Vintage Angus Ranch General Manager Doug Worthington are responsible for Vintage Angus Ranchs proven Angus genetics, as the pair work together to make all of the herds breeding decisions. Vintage Angus Ranch raises their 450 females on year-round grass covering three different hill ranches in the Modesto area. Coleman started Vintage Angus in 1976, expanding the program to a national scale. Worthington received the 1985 National Herdsman Award from the American Angus Association and Coleman hired him in 1989.

Check the Angus Foundation website for more updates on the Angus Foundation Heifer Package

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Heifer donated for 2018 Angus Foundation package – Farmers Advance

Kenilworth cow wins supreme dairy title – Queensland Country Life

ADADALE Tequila Primrose 7, anall-class fouryear old Jersey, has clinched top honours at the Ekka, named the supreme champion cow of the Royal Queensland Show.

Exhibited by the Paulger family from Kenilworth, the in-milk female by Tower Vue Prime Tequila was earlier judged to have the best udder of the show.

Primrose came in ahead just one point of the Illawarra and three points ahead of the Holstein in the six breed competition.

Nicola Paulger and Gary Goss with Adadale Tequila Primrose 7, the champion udder of the show.

The top Illawarra cow was Allendale Virgin 13, The top Holstein cow was the Barron familys Grantley Allen Flora, which won the five to seven year old class.

In the intermediate class the same five cows also contested the title for best udder. The supremewas the Holstein, Arabella Smokin, shown by Arabella Farming Co, Brookstead. Smokin was the winner of the 2.5-3 year old class.

The supreme junior female title went to the Illawarra, which initially won six to 10 month old class winner before being named the breeds junior champion female. Allenvale Blossom 41 was shown by Allen and Denise Whatman, Oakey.

Life member Warren Gibson, Glencrest Guenseys, Gympie, Bradley Frohloff, Sunshine Guenseys, Yarra, Vic, and federal Guensey president Darby Norris, Rockford Park, Lancaster, Vic.

Daniel Holmes, Brookstead, with Arabella Miss Olivia, Dean Malcolm, Shepherdton, Vic, with Albion Park Shotgun Pam, Wayne Barron, Ardylbar, Cambooya, with Grantley Allen Flora, and judge Glen Gordon, Cohuna, Vic.

Steward Alan Trim holding the John and Ida Scott Memorial Shield with family member John Edwards, Toogoolawah, and with Allen Whatman, Allenvale, Oakey, and the supreme junior champion female Allenvale Blossom 41.

Repeat Brown Swiss champion cow – Melalukea Magnafic Jolly 1 – with Callum McPhee and Melissa Tompson, Melalukea, Toogoolawah.

EKKA WINNER: Adadale Tequila Primrose 7, the supreme champion cow of Royal Queensland Show with Tony Burnett from Dairy Farmers Milk Cooperative, Shane Paulger, sisters Julia and Nicola Paulger and RNA president David Thomas.

Alan Trim, Windaroo, Annette Pickering, Mt Mee, and Michelle Hewitt, Delaneys Creek.

Nicola Paulger and Gary Goss with Adadale Tequila Primrose 7, the champion udder of the show.

RNA councillor Ian Galloway and the supreme champion intermediate female Eacham Vale Precious 7 (Illawarra) with Greg English.

Wade Johnston, Craiglea Sud, Obi Obi, and Tim Nicholls, Sunnyview, Kenilworth.

Georgia Finlay and Hannah Hardy checking out the dairy judging.

Shane Burke, Myrtleholme, Gladfield, and Allen Whatman, Allenvale, Oakey.

Christine and Doug Bartkowski, Hillcrest, Meringandan, and Wayne Phillips, Sunny View, Toowoomba.

Duncan McInnes, Dairy Farmers, and Daniel Holmes, Brookstead, with the intermediate Holstein winner Arabella Smokin Ilma.

Kevin Smith, Hillcrest Ayrshires, Boonah, and Eric Ross, Rosellinos, Carbrook.

Ben Hickey and Phil Vitale, Templemore Ayrshires, Bunya.

Krystle Johnston, Jondene Illawarras, Imbil, and Nathan Arnold, Craiglea Stud, Kenilworth.

Warren and Heather Nicholls, Sandy Flats, Fernvale.

Wayne Barron, Ardylbar, Cambooya, with the champion Holstein cow Grantley Allen Flora, and judge Glen Gordon, Cohuna, Vic.

Michell Greenslade, Nambour, and Denise Whatman with Allenvale Blossom 34.

Todd Rothe, Woodchester, SA, judge Caitlin Liebich, Glencoe, SA, Ray Zerner, Pineville Ayrshires, Gympie, and Sue Hood, Redcliffe.

Ayshire. Junior female: Pineville Thistle Burdette Awaiting, RG&RO Zerner. Reserve: Auchen Plumb Titans Tatiana, Ariah Edwards. Honourable mention: Tailors Grove Ebenee, LA&MA Schneider.

Brown Swiss.Senior female: Melalukea Magnafic Jolly 1, M Thompson and S Childs. Reserve: Mountain View Velvet 2. Honourable mention: Elavesor Zaster Exciting, Quicksilver Brown Swiss. Intermediatefemale:Elavesor Shebang Sheiba. Reserve: Melalukea banker Jackie Jak. Honourable mention: Mountain View Leesa 10, Radel Discretionary Trust. Junior female: Mountain View Velvet. Reserve: Elavesor Bosephus Nikola. Honourable mention: MelalukeaBlooming Denmark.

Guernsey:Senior female: Sunny Valley Mentor Bess, Clarke Partnership. Reserve: Sunny Valley Bevan Caleen. Honourable mention: Sunny Valley Showtime Monica. Intermediatefemale: Shadow Valley Chads Lulu, JT&JM ODonohoe. Reserve: Sunny Valley Ninja Rennie. Honourable mention: Fernybank Banjo Edina, LP&DA Dunne. Junior female: Fernybank Reuben Kalleen. Reserve: Fernybank Banjos Netta.

Holstein:Senior female: Grantley Allen Flora, AD&SL Barron. Reserve: Albion Park Shotgun Pam, Bernice Jannusch. Arabella Miss Olivia ET, Arabella Farming Co. Intermediatefemale: Arabella Smokin Ilma. Reserve: Ardylbar Atwood Gracious, AD&SL Barron.Junior female: Arabella Fever Frances. Reserve: Adadale Attic Kooyong, Paulger family, Kenilworth.Honourable mention: Arabella Broke Tam.

Illawarra: Senior female: Allenvale Virgin 13, Damen Phillips Nichols Barren. Reserve: Sunny View Duchess.Honourable mention: Allenvale Blossom 41, Allen and Denise Whatman, Oakey.Intermediatefemale: Eacham Vale Precious 7, Ledger family. Reserve: Myrtleholme Lemon Empress 66, JP Bourke and Co. Honourable mention:Allenvale Blossom 44. Junior female: Allenvale Blossom 41. Reserve: Sunny View Barbwire Pamela.Honourable mention:Sunny View Barbwire Pauline.

Jersey:Senior female: Adadale Tequila Primrose 7, Paulger family, Kenilworth. Reserve: Adadale GP Rowena. Honourable mention: Adadale HG Narcissus. Intermediatefemale: Ascot Park Unreal Lora 2, SG&JA McCarthy, Budgee. Reserve: Adadale Wattle HL Rowena.Honourable mention: Adadale FP Lynn. Junior female: Adadale HG Avalon. Reserve: Nobbyview Comericas Locket, Nobbyview Partnership.Honourable mention: Glen Echo Barba Muriel 3443, CR&CM Parker.

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Kenilworth cow wins supreme dairy title – Queensland Country Life

When White Nationalists Get DNA Tests That Reveal African Ancestry – The Atlantic

The white-nationalist forum Stormfront hosts discussions on a wide range of topics, from politics to guns to The Lord of the Rings. And of particular and enduring interest: genetic ancestry tests. For white nationalists, DNA tests are a way to prove their racial purity. Of course, their results dont always come back that way. And how white nationalists try to explain away non-European ancestry is rather illuminating of their beliefs.

Will the Alt-Right Promote a New Kind of Racist Genetics?

Two years agobefore Donald Trump was elected president, before white nationalism had become central to the political conversationAaron Panofsky and Joan Donovan, sociologists then at the University of California, Los Angeles, set out to study Stormfront forum posts about genetic ancestry tests. They presented their study at the American Sociological Association meeting this Monday. (A preprint of the paper is now online.)After the events in Charlottesville this week, their research struck a particular chord with the audience.

For academics, there was some uneasiness around hearing that science is being used in this way and that some of the critiques that white nationalists are making of genetics are the same critiques social scientists make of genetics, says Donovan, who recently took up a position at the Data and Society Research Institute. On Stormfront, the researchers did encounter conspiracy theories and racist rants, but some white-nationalist interpretations of genetic ancestry tests were in fact quite sophisticatedand their views cannot all be easily dismissed as ignorance.

If we believe their politics comes from lack of sophistication because theyre unintelligent or uneducated, says Panofsky, I think were liable to make a lot of mistakes in how we cope with them.

Panofsky, Donovan, and their team of researchers analyzed 3,070 Stormfront posts spanning more than a decadeall from forum threads in which at least one user revealed the results of a DNA test. Some of the results were 100 percent European, as users expected. But oftensurprisingly often, says Panofskyusers disclosed tests results showing non-European ancestry. And despite revealing non-European ancestry on a forum full of white nationalists, they were not run off the site.

While some commenters reacted with anger, many reacted by offering up arguments to explain away the test results. These arguments largely fell into two camps.

First, they could simply reject all genetic ancestry testing. Genealogy or the so-called mirror test (When you look in the mirror, do you see a Jew? If not, youre good) were better tests of racial purity, some suggested. Others offered up conspiracies about DNA testing companies led by Jews: I think 23andMe might be a covert operation to get DNA the Jews could then use to create bio-weapons for use against us.

The second category of explanation was a lot more nuancedand echoed in many ways legitimate critiques of the tests. When companies like 23andMe or AncestryDNA return a result like 23 percent Iberian, for example, theyre noting similarities between the customers DNA and people currently living in that region. But people migrate; populations change. It doesnt pinpoint where ones ancestors actually lived. One Stormfront user wrote:

See, THIS is why I dont recommend these tests to people. Did they bother to tell you that there were whites in what is now Senegal all that time ago? No? So they led you to believe that youre mixed even though in all probability, you are simply related to some white fool who left some of his DNA with the locals in what is now Senegal.

Panofsky notes that legitimate scientific critiques are often distorted by a white-nationalist interpretation of history. For example, the mixing of DNA in a region would be explained by the heroic conquest of Vikings. Or a white female ancestor was raped by an African man.

The team also identified a third group of reactions: acceptance of the genetic ancestry test results. Some users did start to rethink white nationalism. Not the basic ideologyStormfronts forums are not exactly the place you would do thatbut the criteria for whiteness. For example, one user suggested a white-nationalist confederation, where different nations would have slightly different criteria for inclusion:

So in one nation having Ghengis Khan as your ancestor wont disqualify you, while in others it might. Hypothetically, I might take a DNA test and find that I dont qualify for every nation and every nations standards, though I’m sure that at least one of those nations (and probably many of them) will have standards that would include me

Another user dug deep into the technical details of genetic ancestry testing. The tests can rely on three different lines of evidence: the Y chromosome that comes from your fathers fathers father and so on, the mitochondrial DNA that comes from your mothers mothers mother and so on, and autosomal DNA that can come from either side. One user suggested that a purity in the Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA were more important than in the autosomal DNA. But others disagreed.

Sociologists have long pointed out the categories of race are socially constructed. The criteria for who gets to be whiteItalians? Arabs? Mexicans?are determined by social rather than biological forces. And DNA is the newest way for white nationalists to look for differences between the races.

In these years of posts on Stormfront, you can see users attempting to make sense of DNA, figuring out in real time how genetics can be used to circumscribe and preserve whiteness. The test results are always open to interpretation.

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When White Nationalists Get DNA Tests That Reveal African Ancestry – The Atlantic

Love at first sniff? Sexiest fruit fly females show specific insulin signaling – PLOS Research News

What do males really want? If youre a female fruit fly, pheromone-mediated insulin signaling may hold the key to your attraction. Thats according to a new PLOS Genetics study, whose authors found that female flies manipulated to have increased insulin signaling in their follicle cells, which support egg production, and decreased signaling in their fat body, the energy storage organ, appeared to be more attractive to males.

A female fruit fly must balance her energy usage between making eggs now and storing nutrients for later, and males would be expected to favor a female who appears to prioritize egg production, increasing her fecundity. Differences in tissue-specific insulin signaling likely affect the pheromones produced by the female flies, making them smell different to males with natural selection favoring males who find the more fertile females attractive.

The authors also verified that such insulin signaling is a reliable mate quality indicator for the males: those females engineered to have increased insulin signaling in their follicle cells did indeed produce more offspring. Even fruit flies may therefore be capable of accurately assessing mate fitness. Love may be blind to many things but not, it would seem, to pheromones.

Research Article: Fedina TY, Arbuthnott D, Rundle HD, Promislow DEL, Pletcher SD (2017) Tissue-specific insulin signaling mediates female sexual attractiveness. PLoS Genet 13(8): e1006935.

Image Credit: C. Gendron

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Love at first sniff? Sexiest fruit fly females show specific insulin signaling – PLOS Research News

Women prefer the smell of men who eat fruit and vegetables – study –


Last updated17:36, August 18 2017


Another reason to eat your fruit and veg: diet affects the odour-attraction factor.

What we eat doesn’t simply determine our internal health, it may determine our sexual attractiveness to the opposite sex.

Astudyby psychology researchers from Macquarie University found that men who eat a diet rich in fruit and vegetables smell more attractive to women than men who eat a high-carb or high-fat diet.

While it may sound outlandish, it makes evolutionary sense, says co-author, Dr Ian Stephen.


That’s right men, dig in.

“We’ve known eating fruit and vegetables makes you look more attractive,” explains Stephen, who studies evolution, genetics and psychology.

READ MORE:*Trait makes men more attractive to women*Why some people are just more attractive*Men want beauty, women want financial security

A healthy diet keeps our waistlines in check but fruit and vegetables also containyellow/redpigments, carotenoids, which are good for our immune system and reproductive system.

“They get deposited in the skin and give us a slightly golden colour that makes us look more attractive,” Stephen adds. “We also knew that odour is important for attractiveness too. Especially women smelling men, odour seems to be particularly important.”

The hypothesis is that men and women tend to value different characteristics in the opposite sex and as well as what we eat, our genes (“in particular a genome … which essentially codes for your immune system”) affect the way we smell.

“People who have genes that are good for your immune system tend to be perceived as smelling better … in the literature there has been a whole load of thinking around whether these immune genes are particularly valuable for women, so it’s possible that women are particularly sensitive to the way men smell because of this reflection of genes,” Stephen explains.

So Stephen and his colleagues decided to put the pieces of the attraction puzzle together.

“Seeing as we know that diet influences how we look and is important to health, we thought we would see if that’s something that would work in odour as well,” Stephen says.

If it worked, it would help to prove the “evolutionary theory” that beauty is not “arbitrary” and only in the eye of the beholder, Stephen said.

“For this evolutionary paradigm to work, it has to be the case that what we find attractive is related to some aspect of our underlying health and underlying fertility and so-on,” he explains.

To test the theory, 43 non-smoking Caucasian men aged between 18 and 30 filled out detailed dietary questionnaires and had the pigment in theirskinmeasured by a spectrophotometer.

“Essentially the yellow components of your skin colour is a really good predictor of what you’ve been eating in terms of fruit and vegetables,” Stephen says.

The men were then given plain, white T-shirts to wear for 24 hours (without deodorant or aftershave) and instructed to go for a run and work up a sweatbefore delivering them back to the researchers.

After cutting outthe smelly armpitsof the shirts, the researchers gave the cutouts to the 10 female participants to smell and rate.

“They made a couple of different judgments on the odours, rating how attractive/pleasant they smelled and used a smell description inventory often used by sommeliers where you essentially rate how chemically it smells, how floral and how burnt it smells,” Stephen says.

“Whatever you eat contributes to the chemicals that come out of your skin and the way you smell is essentially a product of the chemicals that come out of your skin through sweat and sebum.

“The bacteria that live on your skin then digest those chemicals it’s essentially a metabolic output of the bacteria is what you smell and that is affected by what they eat.”

Men who ate more fruitand vegetables smelled more floral and more attractive than men who had been eating more refined carb-heavy food (which smelled more musty and less pleasant or attractive).

Of the fruit and vegetable-intake men, thosewho ate a lot of fish smelled less attractive than those who ate more meat, eggs or tofu.

“I’m not too sure what I make of that it’s an interesting one,” Stephen says of the fish finding.

Certain inconsistencies aside (we also do not know if the odour/attraction factor applies tosame-sex couples) essentially, our smell reflects our diet, which affects our appeal.

Stephen believes that not all evolutionary health traits go together, which may explain the huge diversity of beauty among us.

“Skin colour could reflect your diet while voice reflects testosterone levels while body fat might reflect some other component,” he says. “It’s possible to be healthy in some ways and unhealthy in others.”

He adds that more research is still needed to solve the age-old question of attraction, but they are satisfied with their results.

“We answered the question that we set out to answer,” he says. “The answer was that there does seem to be a connection between odour and how attractive people smell and the underlying health of the diet they are eating which suggests that people are using odour as what we would call a valid cue to health we use it to judge people’s health and there is some relation to how healthy they really are.”

And the message for us all?

“Attractiveness is very closely related to health and if you want to improve how attractive you are there are things you can do about it and those are the same, boring things doctors always say which is eat some fruit and vegetables and do some exercise.”

-Sydney Morning Herald

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Women prefer the smell of men who eat fruit and vegetables – study –

Episona Appoints Vice President of Sales – Markets Insider

PASADENA, Calif., Aug. 15, 2017 /PRNewswire/ –Episona Inc., an epigenetics data company focused on improving outcomes in reproductive health, announced today that it has appointed Bob King, formerly of Good Start Genetics and a veteran in the field of reproductive health, as vice president, sales. Mr. King will oversee the commercial expansion of Episona’s Seed test for evaluating male factor infertility and embryo quality.

“Bob’s expertise and track record launching new products in the field of genetics and reproductive health will prove invaluable to Episona in this time of rapid growth for the company,” said Episona CEO Alan Horsager. “We are thrilled to have Bob join our team and look forward to his contributions as we expand the commercial footprint of Seed.”

Mr. King has nearly 20 years of experience in the reproductive health space. Most recently, he served as director of business development and strategic accounts at Good Start Genetics, where he secured large volumes of revenue for the company’s flagship carrier screening product, GeneVu, and directed the launch of the pre-genetic screening test, EmbryVu. Mr. King was also a member of the founding commercial team at Natera, serving as area sales director. He also spent eight years at EMD Serono. Mr. King earned a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing from East Carolina University.

“Episona’s Seed test for evaluating male factor infertility and embryo quality is a significant innovation in the field of men’s reproductive health,” Mr. King said. “I am excited to be joining the Episona team to help bring Seed to more patients and physicians looking for additional information to help guide their fertility treatment decisions and to have healthy babies sooner.”

Seed is currently available in approximately two dozen fertility clinics in 12 states andCanada. A physician-ordered test for use at home or in a fertility clinic, Seed evaluates the patient’s risk of male factor infertility and poor embryo development. Male factor risk can help identify the severity of a patient’s case, helping both the physician and patient understand whether to pursue less invasive procedures such as intrauterine insemination (IUI) or move directly to in vitro fertilization (IVF). By analyzing sperm’s role in embryo development, Seed results can help identify problems that might occur with IVF and provide some answers if an IVF cycle fails or, in the case of seeking a donor, whether a male or female donor would be preferred.

Seed’s novel approach is based on the science ofepigenetics, which examines external or environmental factors such as aging, smoking, obesity, environmental exposure or even exercise that can cause changes to the layer on top of the DNA known as the epigenome. These modifications to the DNA alter how genes are expressed, or read, which in turn can impact how genes function.

About Episona Inc.

Episona is an epigenetics data company focused on improving reproductive health outcomes. The company’s first commercial product, Seed, evaluates epigenetic changes on DNA to predict the risk of male factor fertility and embryo quality.Epigenetics is the study of the environmental and external modifications to DNA that alter gene expression without changing the DNA sequence. Episona intends to develop additional epigenetic-based tests for other conditions and diseases in which epigenetics may play a role, such neurodevelopmental disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and alcoholism. The company was founded in 2013 and is based in Pasadena, CA.

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SOURCE Episona Inc.

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Episona Appoints Vice President of Sales – Markets Insider

How egg-freezing is keeping more women in the tech industry: The inside story – TechRepublic

Image: Center for Reproductive Health at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center

At Brigitte Adams’ last job in tech, an office lactation room was turned into a prayer room. “There were no pregnant women at the company, ever,” she said. “I was surrounded by men in engineering departments. You didn’t see other women.”

In the summer of 2011, Adams had just left a multinational corporation to become a consultant. She was 39 years old and not yet married, and began thinking about making plans for a future family. “It was sort of a typical scenario of a single career woman who really wanted kids,” she said. Being a tech-minded person, she turned to a procedure that was at the time still labeled experimental: Egg freezing. Also known as oocyte cryopreservation, egg freezing is a process in which a woman’s eggs are extracted, frozen, and stored for future use, as a way to preserve their reproductive potential.

It’s been nearly three years since news broke that Apple and Facebook were offering egg freezing as part of their employee benefits packages, and a number of other tech companies have since followed suit. As more and more women in tech opt to undergo the procedure to improve their chances of pregnancy down the road, the question remains: Will egg freezing keep women from leaving the tech industry?

“For every woman I’ve talked to, and for myself, it’s giving us more options,” Adams, now 44, said. “As a woman, our span of finding the job, finding the mate, and getting a nest egg is just so compressed now that unless things work out perfectly and you meet the guy, for so many women, we’re finding ourselves in our late 30s just sort of looking around saying, ‘Why isn’t this happening for me?’

“I think Apple and Facebook just brought to light that there are so many women dropping out of the workforce because they can’t juggle it all.”

It’s no secret that there are a dearth of women in tech. In 2015, while women held 57% of all professional occupations, they only held 25% of all computing occupations, according to the National Center for Women & Information Technology, which collected several studies on the subject. Those numbers are even lower for women of color: Latinas hold only 1% of computing jobs, and black women hold 3%.

While 80% of women in science, engineering, and technology report “loving their work,” 56% leave their organization at the mid-level point in their career, according to the Center for Talent Innovation.

One study found that about 50% of women in STEM fieldsprimarily computing and engineeringleft their jobs after 12 years for other roles or time out of the workforce, compared to only 20% of women in other professions. Women in STEM also were more likely to leave their jobs in the first few years of their career than women in non-STEM jobs.

Women exit these lucrative jobs for a number of reasons, including workplace environment, lack of growth opportunities, and, to a lesser degree, raising children. Only 20% of women who left large private sector companies did so to take time out of the workforceand evidence suggests that many of these women would not have left had there been more on- or off-ramping options, or more support for competing life priorities, according to the Center for Talent Innovation.

“From a tech perspective, any little thing that can help keep women in the workforce and feeling a sense that they have options is a great thing,” Adams said. “It’s just one more thing to almost get us up to that equal playing field. If sperm degenerated faster, I think we’d be having a different conversation.”

Just 3% of all US companies covered egg freezing in 2016, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. In comparison, about 26% of enterprises offered in vitro fertilization coverage. But tech companies are at the forefront: Along with Apple and Facebook, Google, Uber, Intel, Spotify, and Salesforce now offer egg freezing and other fertility benefits.

A number of these companies faced backlash for offering egg freezing as a benefit, as critics feared that the true reason for the provision was to keep young women working at their desks longer.

“I don’t think it’s the cynical thing, that they want to keep their people working and delaying having children,” said Dr. Carolyn Givens, medical co-director of the Pacific Fertility Center in San Francisco. “I think they’re trying to compete for employees, and this is just another benefit that can set them apart from their competitors.”

Adams cringes at the depiction of women who choose to freeze their eggs as business-driven manipulators of Mother Nature. “There’s a misconception that we’re all career mad,” Adams said. “When you really look at it, there are so many women in this position that don’t want to be in this position, but they’re doing it as a safeguard.”

In 2012, Adams founded the website Eggsurance, which offers egg freezing information, facts, and community, to better inform women about the process.

“It’s hard to do it all,” Adams said. “I would have loved to have been in a relationship. I would have loved to have had kids earlier. It didn’t happen for me. What egg freezing did was give me some time to figure some things out.”

Pacific Fertility Center’s cryo storage area.

Image: Pacific Fertility Center

Egg freezing is expensive: An average cycle, which includes hormone stimulation, egg retrieval, and lab processing, costs around $16,000. There are additional costs to store the eggs for later use. And many women choose to undergo two or three cycles to retrieve more eggs for better odds for a later pregnancy.

According to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART), almost 5,000 women in the US froze their eggs in 2013up from just 500 in 2009. By 2018, fertility marketer EggBanxx estimates that some 76,000 women will elect to freeze their eggs. The majority of women who electively freeze their eggs are in their 30s, live in cities, and are white, the doctors interviewed for this story said.

FertilityIQ, a website aimed at assessing fertility doctors and clinics, estimates that 10,000 women completed between 25,000 and 30,000 egg freezing cycles in 2016, and that the volume is growing 30% year-on-year in New York, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

For many years, the only people freezing their eggs were cancer patients about to undergo chemotherapy that would destroy any chances of fertility, according to Dr. Alan Penzias, chair of the Practice Committee of the American Society For Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), and director of the Fellowship Program in Reproductive Endocrinology and infertility at Harvard Medical School.

These patients were the primary driver for the ASRM to remove the “experimental” label from egg freezing in 2012, along with growing data showing healthy babies being born from these frozen eggs.

However, the ASRM stated that its decision to drop the experimental label does not mean that it encourages the procedure for women without fertility issues.

Still, Dr. Marcelle Cedars, director of the Center for Reproductive Health at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center, said she has seen increasing numbers of women across all industries electing to freeze their eggs, and that the age is skewing younger, with more women in their late twenties and early thirties coming in. Women in their mid-to-late thirties are increasingly undergoing the procedure as well, she said. Cedars estimates that the center’s volume rose from less than 100 patients to around 250 over the past few years.

“The advantage of doing it sooner is that the eggs are more likely to be healthy, and you need less eggs to get a viable pregnancy,” Cedars said. “The potential downside is that for most of the young women, it’s a very good chance that they’ll never use those eggs.”

The process generally works like this: A woman goes to a fertility doctor for an evaluation. The doctor determines their ovarian reserve, or the number of follicles they have available each month, and counsels the woman on the number and health of her eggs.

If the woman elects to move forward, she goes through 10 to 12 days of self-administered hormone injections. At the end of that time frame, the eggs are ready for retrieval. The woman is given a mild anesthetic, and the doctor extracts the eggs via a vaginal ultrasound probe. The retrieval only takes about 10 minutes.

Typically, women only need to take one day off of work for the procedure. For about two to three weeks after, they are not allowed to exercise, but can generally go back to normal life. If they want to do a second cycle, they can start the process again as early as one month later, and a third cycle the month after that, if they so choose.

“For women who are young and healthy, it’s sometimes more difficult because it is something totally new for themthey’re used to being healthy, they’re not used to seeing doctors, and they’re not used to having restrictions on their activities,” Cedars said.

SEE: Egg freezing, so hot right now (CNET)

Though many tech giants now offer egg freezing benefits that are ostensibly meant to attract and retain female employees, most of them are very quiet about it, said Jake Anderson-Bialis, cofounder of FertilityIQ.

“Nobody wanted there to be a whole lot of publicity about this,” Anderson-Bialis said, especially after the negative reaction that Apple and Facebook’s news provoked from many in the media.

“At Facebook, Google, Apple, and now Uber, you see female employees freezing their eggs at a pretty quick clip now,” Anderson-Bialis said. One reason companies may hesitate to announce these benefits is because they are expensive. Some also offer fertility benefits only to certain employees, such as heterosexual couples but not gay couples, or couples but not single women, and don’t want to invite scrutiny, Anderson-Bialis said.

The tech industry far exceeds others when it comes to generous fertility benefits packages, according to research from FertilityIQ. Tech companies offered benefits nearly 35% higher than their peers across other industrieseven relatively smaller businesses like Spotify, Gusto, and Wayfair.

When companies offer any sort of fertility benefit, including egg freezing, employees have higher levels of gratitude and loyalty to the company, according to research from FertilityIQ. “When we looked at fertility benefits in general, a majority of patients who enjoyed fully covered fertility treatments said they were more loyal to the company, and stayed in their job longer than they otherwise would have if this benefit had not been in place,” Anderson-Bialis said. “I think that’s a major driving factor for the companies to make the decision that they doto satisfy the employee.”

It is still too early to do a cost-benefit analysis on the egg-freezing perks announced by Apple and Facebook in 2014, according to a paper published in the DePaul Journal of Women, Gender and the Law earlier this year. But a 2015 survey from Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey found that 68% of US adults aged 25 to 40 said they were willing to change jobs to ensure they had infertility coverage. That number jumped to 90% of those who had experienced fertility issues.

Jean (whose name has been changed), a 38-year-old who works at Google, was unaware the company offered egg freezing until Dr. Givens, who she knew socially, brought it up to her. “I’m not married, never had kids, and had never really considered freezing my eggs until I was chatting with Dr. Givens,” Jean said. “That got me thinking, ‘Well, if it’s a benefit…’ since the most prohibitive part of it is cost. And so I started looking into it to see if it was something I wanted to do.

“At this point, I don’t even know if I want to have kids. I haven’t made that decision yet,” Jean said. “But when the time comes, I may not have that option naturally, so I wanted to do this so that it can still be an option for me.”

Jean underwent three cycles in 2016, and Google covered the vast majority of the procedure, she said. “It’s an amazing benefit,” Jean added. “It definitely beat a lot of the more fluffy benefitsteam outings and things like that will only do so much. But this type of benefit is one that makes you believe the company truly values their employees.”

Google declined to comment for this story.

“It gives me freedom,” Jean said. “I don’t even know if I’ll end up using them. But I like that it relieves the stress that a lot of women go through getting to a certain age, and removes that timing from a consideration of who I date or my career choices. I don’t have to consider that aspect anymore.”

Image: Center for Reproductive Health at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center

Since egg freezing is a relatively new procedure, there is little research on its safety and success.

The chance that any individual frozen egg will lead to a birth is about 2% to 12%, according to the ASRM. This low number tends to surprise patients, Cedars said.

Pregnancy rates are highly dependent on how old the woman is when the eggs are retrieved, and how many eggs were retrieved. While there is no comprehensive data on live birth rates from elective egg freezing, SART found that of the 414 egg thaw cycles in 2013, 99 babies were born, representing about 24%. However, some of these eggs may have been frozen using an older method, which has a lower success rate.

One of the biggest misconceptions is that there is a specific number of eggs you can freeze that will guarantee you have a baby, Penzias said. “Certainly having more eggs frozen gives you a better chance than having fewer, but biology is subject to vagaries we are always trying to figure out,” he said. “We would never want somebody to walk away believing that no matter how many eggs are frozen, it guarantees having a child.”

Adams only underwent one cycle of extraction. She was paying for the procedure out of pocket, and said that her doctor did not counsel her to complete a second or third cycle. From the 11 eggs she froze, only one viable embryo was created upon thawing.

“That was the hardest news I ever got,” Adams said. “At 44, there’s no way of going in and retrieving more eggs. You have to remember that this is not a guarantee, it’s a possibility. When I went into it, I was very aware of that, and was willing to take the gamble. Now that I’m in the midst of it, it’s very hard. I’ve seen so many women get pregnant with their frozen eggsit was sort of an expectation.”

In a March blog post on Eggsurance, Adams shared some heart-wrenching news.

“I was told on Saturday that I was pregnant. I was told on Tuesday the embryo had died,” she wrote. “I have no more eggs to try. I have no more eggs to retrieve. I have no energy to try again. I am mourning the loss of a baby and the loss of ever having a biological child.”

Stories like this make it important for women to be educated and prepared for the realities of egg freezing, Cedars said. Because doctors only focused on patients with cancer or fertility problems for so long, the increase in elective egg freezing spurred in part by tech company benefits requires a new way of thinking. “This is a group that comes in thinking they’re doing something proactive for themselves, and I think we have realized that we need to counsel them a bit differently because they are a healthy patient population doing an elective procedure,” she said.

Even with the lifting of the experimental label, “there has not been additional evidence produced, or studies done on the safety and efficacy of egg freezing,” said Marcy Darnovsky, executive director of the Center for Genetics and Society. “We have a lot of anecdotal evidence that there are problems, and we don’t have the kind of studies you would expect for a procedure that so many women are undergoing.”

Tech companies who want to retain female employers should instead look to their workplace policies, Darnovsky said. For example, offering parental leave, creating a culture that does not penalize women for taking time off to care for a newborn, and providing a work/life balance that allows time to grow relationships with potential partners and families would all support women and families, Darnovsky said.

“All those types of things would be far better insurance for women who want to have families than a technique that, for that purpose, remains experimental, is risky for women, and may be risky for the children who might ultimately be born,” Darnovsky said.

In 2016, Intel expanded its fertility benefits to include egg freezing and storage of egg, embryo, sperm, and cord blood, according to Danielle Brown, Intel’s vice president of human resources and chief diversity and inclusion officer. That year, the company also quadrupled its fertility benefits coverage, increasing it from $10,000 to $40,000 for medical services, and $20,000 for prescription expenses. The benefits were announced formally to employees and the public.

“We made these changes to help our employees reach all of their goals, not just work goals, by reducing the significant financial burden of fertility treatment,” Brown said. “Offering egg freezing is another way for us to give employees choices and flexibility in deciding when to start a family while pursuing their careers.”

She also noted that the company offers many programs for working parents, including eight weeks paid bonding leave, doubled reimbursement for emergency backup child care, and near-site child care centers.

In August 2016, human resources startup Gusto became the first company in California to offer full fertility benefits to all employees, including LGBT workers and their same-sex partners. The company eliminated the need for a medical diagnosis of infertility for its employees to get fertility treatments covered, said Katie Evans-Reber, a member of the People team at Gusto. About 10 employees have used the benefits so far, she said.

“It helps with retention, and helps us demonstrate the care that we have for mothers and families in general,” Evans-Reber said. “I think when Facebook and any other business giant did it, there was some sort of backlash, and it was perceived in the Valley as wanting to keep folks at their desk longer and put off having a family. We don’t view it like that at all. We want you to have a family, so we’re just as encouraging to our parents and new parents in particular.”

Image: Extend Fertility

Dr. Givens of the Pacific Fertility Center said her practice has seen a 50% increase in the number of egg freezing cycles in the past year, with about 300 completed procedures. She is also seeing more interest from younger women.

The increase is largely due to buzz and word of mouth, Givens said, particularly in cities like San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, where there are a lot of thirtysomething professional women who are still single. “When half of your friends are freezing their eggs, you’re going to feel like, ‘Maybe I should be doing this,'” Givens said. “And then when the companies start covering it, then it almost becomes a no-brainer.”

“News of employers offering it in their benefits has opened doors for conversation on the topic that really hasn’t happened before,” said Ilaina Edison, CEO of Extend Fertility in New York City, a clinic that offers egg freezing exclusively. “It’s moving from something that used to be taboo to something that’s much more openly discussed amongst groups of women.”

Meg, a 29-year-old tech company cofounder in New York City, had been thinking about freezing her eggs for years. When she felt ready to explore the procedure more seriously, she posted on Facebook, “Where should I get my eggs frozen in NYC?”

“One of the beautiful things about technology, especially social networks, is that we have more conversations about everything,” Meg said. “For me it was similar to asking ‘What Italian restaurant should I go to in my neighborhood?'”

Meg began the injections, slipping away to take them in the bathroom after giving a keynote talk at a conference, and doing the same even while out on a date. The hormones made her body feel uncomfortable, she said, but she didn’t feel that her life had to change much while undergoing it. She paid for the procedure out of pocket.

Jamie, 37, works at a small tech company in San Francisco. She froze her eggs in February, after a coworker went through the process. “We’re about the same age, and we’ve gone through the battles of trying to find love here in the Bay Area, and just not getting there as quickly as we wanted,” Jamie said. “I started really thinking about it and recognizing that I’m 37, I’m still singlehow much do I want a family, and what steps should I take so that I don’t ever have regrets?”

She went to a doctor in November 2016 for an initial screening. Her January work schedule was busy, so she decided to go through the process in February 2017. “The procedure itself was easy,” she said. “I took a day off work for it, and the next day I was in the office at 7:00 am.”

Jamie said she didn’t anticipate how emotional the experience would be. The hormones made work feel more overwhelming than usual. “I was so attached to [the eggs] developing and being the best they can be because these could be my potential children,” Jamie said. “You want it to be successful.”

She paid for the procedure out of pocket, with help from a government 340B program, which covered a majority of the prescription costs.

Jamie recently took on more travel for work. “I feel more comfortable saying yes to that travel because I’m like, ‘OK, you gave yourself a couple more years to be able to find that person,'” she said. “If I didn’t do this, I probably would be pushing back on some of this travel to get out there and date. I’d still be under pressure.”

A number of Jamie’s friends in their late 30s working in tech are considering freezing their eggs, she said. “There is this pressure on you, because we’re all moving into bigger roles from where we started out,” she said. “We’re seeing ourselves progress to VP or director-level positions, where we can’t take the brakes off too much, but we also want to be able to achieve some of those life goals too, and try to find a balance.”

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How egg-freezing is keeping more women in the tech industry: The inside story – TechRepublic

Bodybuilder dies after her body rejects strict egg and protein diet – Metro

Meeganwas found unconscious in her flat in June (Picture: Facebook)

A bodybuilder died after her body rejected her strict protein diet.

Meegan Hefford had been consuming a number of protein shakes and egg whites in a bid to improve her fitness.

The 25-year-old was unaware that she suffered from Urea Cycle Disorder which meant her body could notproperly dispose of ammonia, a waste product of proteindigestion.

She was found unconscious in her flat in June after an estate agent let himself in to conduct an inspection.

Despite being rushed to hospital, the young mum died just hours later.

Her causes of death were listed as the intake of bodybuilding supplements as well as the condition.

Meegan, from Mandurah in Western Australia, left behind herseven-year-old daughter and five-year-old son.

Speaking to Perth Now, her family said they are now calling for more restrictions on the diet industry, stating the bodybuilder did not know she had the genetic condition.

They claim more warnings need to be put in place regarding the potential dangers of consuming a high protein diet.

Ms White said that before her death, Meegan started complaining that she felt tired and weird.

The condition affects one in every 8,000 people and is children usually show symptoms in the first 24 hours of life.

According to Genetics Home Reference, the disorder means that the nitrogen accumulates in the form of ammonia, a highly toxic substance, resulting in hyperammonemia.

Ammonia then reaches the brain through the blood.

It can cause irreversible brain damage, a coma and death.

She said: I couldnt believe what the doctors were telling me, she was dying.

I said, You have to give her more time, because she didnt look sick, she looked beautiful.

Losing Meegan, its so awful and I still cant believe shes gone but I have to focus on the positives that at least I had 25 years with her and she jammed so much into her life, its almost like she knew her time would be short.

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Bodybuilder dies after her body rejects strict egg and protein diet – Metro

How technology can deliver freedom from the male calf – The Indian Express

Written by Harish Damodaran | Published:August 16, 2017 1:06 am A farmer in a village near Anand, Gujarat, feeding his young calf. Express photo by Bhupendra Rana

In these times of gaurakshak activism, there can be nothing worse for dairy farmers than their cows or buffaloes delivering male calves. Fortunately, technology is now available to address the problem to an extent in the form of sexed semen having 90%-plus sperms carrying the X-chromosome, and capable of producing only female offspring.

A bulls sperm has 30 chromosomes, including one which is either an X- or a Y-chromosome whose genes code for sex. The egg of a cow, too, contains 30 chromosomes, one of which is, however, always an X-chromosome (just as the human sperm and egg have 23 chromosomes each, one of them either an X- or a Y-chromosome in the case of the former, and one only an X-chromosome for the latter).When a sperm and egg unite, and the former carries the X-chromosome, the resultant offspring is female (XX). When a Y-chromosome-bearing sperm fertilises an egg, the result is a male calf (XY).

Sexed semen technology is about preselecting the sex of offspring by sorting or separating the X-sperms from Y-sperms. The aim is to deliver freedom from male calves, by ensuring that cows are inseminated by semen containing only X-chromosome-bearing sperms. The sorting process basically involves exploiting the differences in deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) content between X-chromosome-bearing and Y-chromosome-bearing sperms. The former contains slightly more DNA, with the difference ranging from 3.6% to 4.2%, depending upon the breed of the cattle or buffalo.

In 2004, a Texas-based company, Sexing Technologies (ST), commercialised sexed semen production using a procedure to stain the sperm cells with a fluorescent dye that binds to their DNA. The dyed cells are made to pass through a laser beam from a machine (flow cytometer) that can sort the sperms based on the amount of fluorescent light they give off. As the X-chromosome-bearing sperms contain more DNA, these cells absorb more dye and emit more light. That, then, allows for separation of the X- and Y- sperm fractions in the semen.

STs sperm-sorting technology is claimed to be 93% accurate. Thus, if a cow is inseminated using such sexed semen, there is a 93% chance that the calf produced will be female. With ordinary semen used in artificial insemination (AI), that probability is 50-50.

Sexed semens usefulness is obvious, particularly in a country where even male calves cannot be sent freely to the slaughterhouse. That freedom has been further curtailed in a regime of empowered gaurakshaks on the prowl. If a cow after insemination and 9-10 months of pregnancy produces a male calf, the loser is the farmer who will have to rear an animal thats not going to yield him either milk or an income. Worse, he cant be sure that the same cow 13-14 months down the line assuming 3-4 months of post partum rest and 9-10 months pregnancy will deliver a female calf.

But the issue here is cost, which, for AI using conventional semen frozen in 0.25-ml vials (straws), is just over Rs 50 per insemination dose. The comparable cost of sexed semen to the farmer is now anywhere between Rs 1,200 and Rs 2,600 per straw.

Semen cost goes up if it is from a bull with higher genetic merit (evaluated in terms of milk yields, number of productive lactations, fat and protein content, etc.) that can also be transmitted to the progeny, notes Daljeet Singh, president of the Progressive Dairy Farmers Association (PDFA) of Punjab, which annually imports 15,000-20,000 frozen sexed semen doses on behalf of its members. The semen is sourced from bovine genetics firms such as World World Sires, Genex and ABS Global of US, and Semex of Canada.

The high cost is due to two main reasons.

The first is the virtual monopoly over knowhow. Sexed semen even that supplied by global animal genetics majors is produced from raw ejaculate, largely using STs proprietary sperm-sorting technology. The parallel one could cite is the near-stranglehold enjoyed by Monsanto vis–vis Bt cotton.

Secondly, the sexed semen currently being used by farmers like those affiliated to PDFA is entirely imported, and based on 100% Holstein Friesian (HF) or Jersey bulls. Semen imports are, moreover, subject to cumbersome procedures entailing approvals from the Directorate General of Foreign Trade and animal husbandry departments, both at the Centre and state levels.

There have been some recent encouraging developments, though, on both counts. In April, ABS Global was granted an injunction by a US court against ST, after the latter was found to have wilfully maintained monopoly power in the market for sexed bovine semen processing. It paved the way for ABS to commercially launch its own Genus Sexed Semen technology, which the Wisconsin-headquartered firm plans to introduce worldwide, including in India.

Indian farmers at present have access only to imported sexed semen from HF and Jersey bulls abroad. From September 1, we will offer them sexed semen also from local HF-Sahiwal and HF-Gir crossbreds; 100% indigenous Sahiwal, Gir and Red Sindhi bulls; and pure Murrah buffaloes. Since the semen is being processed domestically, the cost would be half that of the imported sexed material, says Arvind Gautam, managing director of ABS India, which has a stud farm facility at Bhilwadi in Sangli (Maharashtra), housing over 100 bulls with annual semen production capacity of 70 lakh straws.

R G Chandramogan, chairman of Chennai-based Hatsun Agro Product Ltd Indias biggest private sector dairy that undertakes 5.5 lakh-odd AIs a year believes the domestic market is large enough for sexed semen to be made available at well below Rs 500 per straw.

In 2015-16, about 670 lakh AIs were carried out in India, covering an estimated 30% of its breedable cows and buffaloes. No country will give you this kind of volumes for sexed semen, even if fewer AIs are required to produce the same number of female calves, points out Chandramogan.

But pricing is only one part. The conception rate chances of the animal getting pregnant from sexed semen is 10-20% lower compared to conventional semen. The reason for it is lower sperm count (machine sorting speeds and efficiency arent high enough) and possibility of damage to the cells during the sorting process (from staining with dye, exposure to laser light beam, etc.).

As a result, sexed semen is more effective in inseminating young heifers and cows that have calved only once. The older animals may require more AIs relative to insemination done using normal semen. That raises costs further, even if there a greater likelihood of a female calf getting delivered.

But for all its drawbacks, this is a technology still evolving and destined for improvement. ABS claims its new product is gentler on the sperm cells, with lower processing pressures. There is no doubting sexed semens utility to the Indian dairy farmer today with or without the gaurakshak.

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How technology can deliver freedom from the male calf – The Indian Express

Techly Explains: Are twins genetic? – Techly

Imagine the moment, youve just been told youre expecting twins. You are trying not to think about The Shining.

You are wondering why you, specifically, have somehow ended up doubly pregnant. Allow Techly to shed some light on the subject.

Now while that clip from the late 80s buddy comedy Twins isnt the most scientific thing youll see today, its always fun to see Arnie acting in the rare scenes when he isnt mowing down foot soldiers and it does raise a significant point. There is a large difference between identical (or monozygotic) twins and fraternal (dizygotic) twins, here demonstrated ably by DeVito and Schwarzenegger.

In the case of identical twins, as the medical term monozygotic may suggest, they occur when one zygote (essentially a fertilized egg) splits into two halves during early development, meaning both embryos have identical genetic information. Fraternal twins, on the other hand, develop from two separate zygotes and are therefore made up of differing, while similar, genetic information.

So, is there a genetic reason for the occurrence of twins? Could there be some genetic predisposition to carrying twins? Well according to this post on The Stanford Tech forum its kind of yes and no territory. To be more specific, the post states identical twins do not run in families and a history of fraternal twins only helps if it comes in on the mothers side. Furthermore, it says that a female fraternal twin is 2.5 times more likely to give birth to a further set of twins and that goes up to 3-4 times when the woman already has already given birth to a set of fraternal twins.

According to the Sciencemag site scientists from eight countries found two genes that increase a womans chance of having twins. A team of researchers in Amsterdam, where the Nederlands Twin Register which currently contains 75,000 cases, started in 1987 collated data from databases in the Nederlands, USA and good ol Australia.

The researchers, working on a sample of over 2000 births, examined the genetic information of the mothers to see if there was a common link between the mothers of fraternal twins. They eventually narrowed it down to two SNPs (essentially single stretches of DNA that signpost genetic differences between people) and subsequently reported in the American Journal of Human Genetics that having a copy of each of them will increase that persons chances of giving birth to fraternal twins by a huge 29%. The first SNP relates to the production of the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), which, if the levels remain quite high while the ovaries mature, can lead to the production of more than one egg. The other SNP is a little more mysterious, SMAD3 has been noted to change how ovaries respond to FSH, at least in mice but in terms of its role in human fertilization, research is ongoing.

So there you have it, of course, a full genetic analysis is not necessarily available to everyone, so whether or not you are genetically predisposed to have your own DeVito/Schwarzenegger caper may have to remain a surprise for now. Having said that, youre family history can, of course, be a handy indicator when considering your own genetic make-up, so Auntie Jane should be able to give you some idea!

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Techly Explains: Are twins genetic? – Techly