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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

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

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.

Thank you!

At Cedar Ridge Genetics, we are confident that when you consider all things including productivity, longevity, growth rate, feed efficiency, carcass yield, loin depth and lean muscle content into an overall evaluation, our genetic program will excel and provide maximum profit potential for any modern production system. Put us to the test!

Our complete program consists of purebred, nucleus-level grandparent boars and gilts of the following breeds: Landrace, Yorkshire, Duroc and Hampshire. These genetics can be accessed through live animal purchase, fresh semen sales or pre-ordered bred gilts.

Our terminal program consists of our ProfitMAX parent-stock females bred to our high-caliber ProfitMAX terminal boars. Access to the ProfitMAX terminal lines are available from our two home studs, and, Eastern A.I. in Indiana, or by direct purchase of young elite A.I.- quality boars or natural service boars.

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Cedar Ridge Genetics Home of America’s Elite Sowherd

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 atwww.angusfoundation.org.

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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. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1006935

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 – Stuff.co.nz

SARAH BERRY

Last updated17:36, August 18 2017

123RF

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.

WILLIAM MEPPEM

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 – Stuff.co.nz

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.

View original content:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/episona-appoints-vice-president-of-sales-300504149.html

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

Orphan Black Was Never About Cloning – Slate Magazine

From the opening scene, questions of identityboth existential and scientificprovide the shows narrative thrust.

BBC America

This article contains spoilers about the series finale of Orphan Black.

After five seasons of clone cabals, the BBC America/Space series Orphan Black has come to a mostly happy end. Yet an ellipsis follows wrapping of the show, hinting at bigger questions that transcend the characters storylines. Orphan Blacks conspiracies, camp, and Tatiana Maslanys riveting performances as a dozen different clones make it easy to overlook its prescience and profundity. From the opening scene in which Sarah Manning sees her clone kill herself by stepping in front of a train, questions of identityboth existential and scientificprovide the shows narrative thrust. Who created the clones? How? Why? How much control do their creators have over them? The shows final season provides answers while raising questions that transcend science fiction. What role should ethics play in science? Do scientific subjects have the right to self-determination?

If you stopped watching a few seasons back, heres a brief synopsis of how the mysteries wrap up. Neolution, an organization that seeks to control human evolution through genetic modification, began Project Leda, the cloning program, for two primary reasons: to see whether they could and to experiment with mutations that might allow people (i.e., themselves) to live longer. Neolution partnered with biotech companies such as Dyad, using its big pharma reach and deep pockets to harvest peoples genetic information and to conduct individual and germline (that is, genetic alterations passed down through generations) experiments, including infertility treatments that result in horrifying birth defects and body modification, such as tail-growing.

In the final season, we meet the man behind the curtain: P.T. Westmoreland, who claims to be 170 years old thanks to life-extension treatments such as parabiosis (transfusions of young blood). Westmoreland wants to harness the healing powers of the particular LIN28A gene mutation found in the fertile clones kids. (Real-world studies suggest that while LIN28A mutations are linked to cancer, its RNA-binding protein promotes self-renewal of embryotic stem cells.)

Westmorelandultimately discovered to be a fraud who assumed the original Westmorelands identity after he diedpersonifies one of the shows messages: that pseudoscience and megalomania can masquerade as science. Just because someone has a genetic sequencer and a lab coat doesnt mean hes legitimate, and just because someones a scientist doesnt mean hes ethical.

Orphan Black demonstrates Carl Sagans warning of a time when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few. Neolutionists do whatever they want, pausing only to consider whether theyre missing an opportunity to exploit. Their hubris is straight out of Victor Frankensteins playbook. Frankenstein wonders whether he ought to first reanimate something of simpler organisation than a human, but starting small means waiting for glory. Orphan Blacks evil scientists embody this belief: if theyre going to play God, then theyll control not just their own destinies, but the clones and, ultimately, all of humanitys. Any sacrifices along the way are for the greater goodreasoning that culminates in Westmorelands eugenics fantasy to genetically sterilize 99 percent of the population he doesnt enhance.

Orphan Black uses sci-fi tropes to explore real-world plausibility. Neolution shares similarities with transhumanism, the belief that humans should use science and technology to take control of their own evolution. While some transhumanists dabble in body modifications, such as microchip implants or night-vision eye drops, others seek to end suffering by curing human illness and aging. But even these goals can be seen as selfish, as access to disease-eradicating or life-extending technologies would be limited to the wealthy. Westmorelands goal to sell Neolution to the 1 percent seems frighteningly plausibletranshumanists, who statistically tend to be white, well-educated, and male, and their associated organizations raise and spend massive sums of money to help fulfill their goals. Critics raise many objections to transhumanism, including overpopulation and the socioeconomic divide between mortals and elite immortals, which some think might beget dystopia. Researchers are exploring ways to extend the human lifespan whether by genetic modification, reversing senescence (cellular deterioration with age), nanobots, or bio-printed tissues and organs, but in the world of Orphan Black we dont have to speculate about the consequences of such work.

The show depicts the scientists dehumanization of the clones from its first scene, when Beth, unable to cope with the realities of her cloned existence, commits suicide. When another clone, Cosima, tries to research her DNA, she gets a patent statement: This organism and derivative genetic material is restricted intellectual property. It doesnt matter that Cosima is sick or that shes in love. Shes not a person: Shes a trademarked product, as are the other clones.

Orphan Black warns us that money, power, and fear of death can corrupt both people and science.

The shows most tragic victim is Rachel, the evil clone. Shes the cautionary tale: Frankensteins monster, alone, angry, and cursed. The only one raised with the awareness of what she is, Rachel grows up assured of her own importance and motivated to expand it by doing Neolutions dirty work. Westmoreland signs a document giving Rachel sovereignty, but later she sees computer files in which shes still referred to by her patent number. Despite her leadership, cunning, and bravery, even those working with her never regard her as human. Her willingness to hurt her sisters and herself shows what happens to someone whose experience of nature and nurture is one and the same.

We, the viewers, also dehumanize Rachel by writing her off as one of them. When she lands on the side of her sisters, she does so not out of morality but out of vengeance. At the end, Westmoreland, the closest thing she has to a father, taunts her: its fitting you return to your cage. All lab rats do. But her childhood flashbacks suggest she doesnt want others to experience what she has. When Neolutionists take 9-year-old Kira from her home at gunpoint, Rachel initially supports the plan to load Kira with fertility drugs and then harvest her eggs to access her mutated gene. But when Kira gives Rachel a friendship bracelet (and perhaps her first friendship), Rachels haunted expression suggests that beneath her usually unflappable demeanor, shes still a frightened little girl. When Kira asks, Who hurt you? Rachel responds, They all did.

Whether motivated by retaliation, morality, or both, Rachel helps save Kira and takes down Neolution. Yet its unclear whats left for her as shell never be welcomed into Clone Club. Her last act is to provide a list of clones around the world so Cosima and former Dyad researcher Delphine can cure them. Rachel gives the clones control over their livesand in so doing, asserts control over her own.

Ultimately, Orphan Black is all about choice. Theres much in life we cant choose: our parents, the circumstances of our birth, our DNA. Its no surprise that a show that espouses girl power (the future is female is both spoken and seen on a T-shirt in the final two episodes) dwells on the importance of choice. The finale flashes back to Sarah in front of Planned Parenthood debating whether to have an abortion. Reckless, rough Sarah surprises herself (and Mrs. S, her foster mother) by deciding to keep the baby. Years before she learns how many decisions others have made about her body, she makes a decision for herself.

On Orphan Black, denial of choice is tantamount to imprisonment. That the clones have to earn autonomy underscores the need for ethics in science, especially when it comes to genetics. The shows message here is timely given the rise of gene-editing techniques such as CRISPR. Recently, the National Academy of Sciences gave germline gene editing the green light, just one year after academy scientists from around the world argued it would be irresponsible to proceed without further exploring the implications. Scientists in the United Kingdom and China have already begun human genetic engineering and American scientists recently genetically engineered a human embryo for the first time. The possibility of Project Leda isnt farfetched. Orphan Black warns us that money, power, and fear of death can corrupt both people and science. Once that happens, loss of humanityof both the scientists and the subjectsis inevitable.

In Carl Sagans dark vision of the future, people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority. This describes the plight of the clones at the outset of Orphan Black, but as the series continues, they challenge this paradigm by approaching science and scientists with skepticism, ingenuity, and grit. The lab rats assert their humanity and refuse to run the maze. Freedom looks different to everyone, Sarah says in the finale. As she struggles to figure out what freedom will look like for hershould she get her GED? Sell the house? Get a job?its easy to see how overwhelming such options would be for someone whose value has always been wrapped in a double helix. But no matter what uncertainties their futures hold, the clones dismantle their cages and make their own choices, proving what weve known all alongtheir humanity.

This article is part of Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

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Orphan Black Was Never About Cloning – Slate Magazine

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

Jonathan Hoffman: Pima County should butt out of medical decisions – Arizona Daily Star

Much of the civil society has become political. Even the sciences are not immune. Climatology is an example of a hard science that has been overwhelmed by politics, and of course anything that has to do with sexuality even pediatrics is consumed by politics.

With that in mind, let us take a look at one aspect of the recent county ordinance passed by the Pima County Board of Supervisors, which restricts the treatment of children with gender dysphoria. The ordinance was passed 3-2, with Supervisors Ally Miller and Steve Christy voting against.

The new political narrative that has subsumed the science of pediatric medicine states that the psyche of the child is immutable, so if it is non-conforming with regard to the physical sex, then the physical sex must be modified to conform to the psyche and of course all that is necessary to determine the nature of the psyche is to ask the child. Children as young as 4 have been asked questions regarding gender preferences.

Alas, the notion that a childs gender identity is immutable has no basis in science. When we think immutable, we think genetics, when we think genetics, we look at identical twin surveys. As it turns out, surveys of transgender identical twins show that both of the twins are transgender only 28 percent of the time, while only one is transgender 72 percent of the time. If gender identity was in fact immutable (as in genetics), then both of the identical twins should be transgender very close to 100 percent of the time.

Another important thing that the political narrative overlooks is the fact that there is more to the difference between children and adults than size. Children are generally immature. Their bodies are developing, as are their psyches. They are incapable of adult judgement.

That is why it is inappropriate to ask a child, Would you like to try a shot and a beer? or Would you like to sign this contract? or In your heart of hearts, do you feel like a male or a female? Heres a crazy idea, maybe it would be better to altogether avoid discussions relating to sexuality with pre-pubescent children, and discuss matters with the older ones with the understanding that they are not yet adults. After all, before the political narrative caught hold, these issues would many times resolve themselves after puberty. That is when the cake is baked.

A peer-reviewed article by Michelle A. Cretella, M.D. titled Gender Dysphoria in Children and Suppression of Debate provides detailed information on the current state of pediatrics in this regard.

Pima County declares that, The purpose of this chapter is to protect the health, safety, and well being of minors in Pima County. If that is true, then why does the county not concern itself with pre-pubescent hormone therapy, puberty blockers and post-pubescent radical surgeries including double mastectomies instead of condemning the helping of children to align themselves with their respective physical realities?

I sought comments from each of the supervisors regarding their votes. Supervisor Steve Christy said, I think the ordinance heads down a slippery and sloped pathway of interfering with parental rights and choice. I read the ordinance again and found it very telling that no form of the word parent appeared anywhere in the text. Christy also expressed concern with the board grandstanding on the national stage.

Now, I understand that its helpful for elected officials to pander to their base every now and then, and who wants to be the last Democratic county in the country to pass such an ordinance, but is the sacrificing children on the altar of political correctness really representative of the people of Pima County?

Jonathan Hoffman has lived and worked in Tucson for 40 years. He has served on the Tucson Pima County Bicycle Advisory Committee and on the board of the Pima Trails Association. Email him at tucsonsammy@gmail.com

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Jonathan Hoffman: Pima County should butt out of medical decisions – Arizona Daily Star

Trans athletes should be able to compete in gender they identify with: centre for ethics in sport – CBC.ca

Katalina Murrie came in last in her heat at the Whitewater National Championships last weekend, but the transgender athlete was simply happy to be able to compete with other female athletes and inspire other trans athletes.

She’s not the only one who has been fighting stereotypes to compete in the gender in which she identifies.

Sports organizations across Canada have been scrambling to develop policies on trans athletes and many are taking cues from guidelines developed by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport.

While many sports vary on how they welcome trans athletes, “the guidelines suggest that sport organizations allow individuals to participate in sport in the gender in which they identify,” the guideline’s co-author Jennifer Birch-Jones told CBC Radio’s Ottawa Morning.

That’s because the centre’s research found there was no evidence that testosterone was a “consistent and reliable predictor of competitive advantage,” she said. And the science doesn’t support requiring an athlete to take hormone suppressants.

The centresuggests following thoseguidelines evenif an athlete isn’t yet eligible to compete internationally.

The International Olympic Committee mandates that male transgender athletes can compete without any restrictions, however, trans women must have identified as female for at least four years and must have a testosterone level below a certain level for at least a year before her first competition.

Even though there’s a 10 to 12 per cent performance advantage between men and women in various sports, that gap is closing, said Birch-Jones.

What the science does show, she said,is a greater variation within a gender than between genders and any advantage an athlete has depends more on genetics.

Birch-Jones said no one questions when a woman who is five foot four inches competes against someone who is six foot two, until that woman is transgender; that’s when questions about competitive fairness are voiced.

But that person could just be an exceptional athlete, which isn’t tied to his or her gender, she said.

“There’s lots of transathletes who just want to play their sport,” she said.

Original post:
Trans athletes should be able to compete in gender they identify with: centre for ethics in sport – CBC.ca

Sarah Bush Lincoln receives the 2017 Women’s Choice Award – Journal Gazette and Times-Courier

MATTOON — Sarah Bush Lincoln has been named one of Americas Best Hospitals for Orthopedics by the Womens Choice Award, Americas trusted referral source for the best in health care, according to a press release. The award signifies that Sarah Bush Lincoln is in the top 11 percent of 3,229 U.S. hospitals offering orthopedics services.

SBL President & CEO Jerry Esker said, We are honored to receive this significant designation based on data from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and patient experience. Our Orthopedic staff is excellent and has vast experience in diverse areas, and our surgical teams are superb as well.

SBL Orthopedics & Sports Medicine is staffed by six orthopedic surgeons: Eric Brewer, DO. (beginning in the fall), Michael Chioffe, MD, Jim Kohlmann, MD, Louis Mendella, DO, Donald Sandercock, DO, and Jeremy Stevens, MD. Orthopedic Surgeon Muthana Sartawi, MD, and Neurosurgeon Emilio Nardone, MD, also perform surgeries at Sarah Bush Lincoln.

Sarah Bush Lincoln is one of 374 award recipients representing the hospitals that have met the highest standards for orthopedics care in the U.S. by the Womens Choice Award.

There are clear gender differences in musculoskeletal disease, according to a study reported in The Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Structural anatomy differences, hormones, and genetics are factors in optimizing care for male verses female orthopedic patients. Because women have higher rates of arthritis than men, some 60 percent of joint replacement surgeries are performed on women.

In a national survey conducted by the Womens Choice Award, female orthopedic patients identified the following key priorities when choosing a hospital for orthopedics:

Women have different orthopedics needs, particularly as they grow older and become more at risk for osteoporosis and fractures, said Delia Passi, founder and CEO of the Womens Choice Award. They also have different health care preferences, which we use to evaluate the recipients of Americas Best Hospitals for Orthopedics. We are the only award that recognizes a hospitals ability to meet womens distinctive needs.

The methodology used to select Sarah Bush Lincoln as one of Americas Best Hospitals for Orthopedics is unique in that it evaluates Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey results along with primary research about womens healthcare preferences. Award recipients are also measured on their incidence of surgical complications and infections, including:

A hospital must have arthroscopy, joint replacement and spine surgery orthopedic services available to patients, onsite physical therapy, and an MRI in order to qualify for the award. It is the only award recognizing excellence in orthopedics based on robust criteria that consider patient satisfaction and clinical excellence.

The Womens Choice Award is a trusted referral source, empowering women to make smart healthcare choices by identifying the countrys best healthcare institutions based on robust criteria that consider female patient satisfaction and clinical excellence. The Womens Choice Award was recently honored by the INC 5000 List of Americas Fastest Growing Private Companies in 2016 for a second consecutive year. Visit http://www.womenschoiceaward.com/ to learn more.

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Sarah Bush Lincoln receives the 2017 Women’s Choice Award – Journal Gazette and Times-Courier

A major blind spot in animal testing is endangering the lives of women – Quartz

Animal studies are the backbone of medical and scientific research. Because of animal testing, humans have developed vaccinations for smallpox, nearly eradicated polio, discovered chemotherapy, and made countless other innovations across the medical spectrum. But theres a major flaw in the way we conduct these experiments: Far too many animal tests ignore biological sex entirely.

A new study from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, published in Nature Communications, argues that too many animal experiments have failed to take into account sexual dimorphismthe traits that differ between sexes in a species, from size to bone density to coloring. This blind spot may be skewing the results of animal testing. And that could have big consequences for the conclusions that we take from animal studies and apply to humans.

Science has a long history of making incorrect assumptions about biological sex that skew testing on live subjects. For much of history, scientists have tended to regard female bodies as simply scaled-down versions of males, which meant that one could just test on men and draw conclusions about womens medical needs. This has backfired repeatedly. In one notable case, in 2013, the US Food and Drug Administration had to cut the recommended dosage for zolpidem (Ambien) for women by half after it was discovered that taking a normal dose often resulted in serious overdoses for women.

At the same time, scientists thought female bodies were too complex and variable to be reliable test subjects, owing to monthly hormone cycles and menstruation. As it happens, male test animals show as much hormonal variation as female animals, so that argument has since been disproven. We also now know that the female body, in many ways, operates differently than the male body. New evidence this week shows that female brain patterns are more active than mens, a revelation that joins a corpus of science proving that women, far from being tinier men, are a category unto themselves.

Women were also viewed as particularly vulnerable if experiments went wrong, both because of impacts on fertility and childbearing, and because of perceptions of greater physical delicacy. Up until 1993, American females of child-bearing age were banned from taking part in early research of any kind as subjects. As a consequence, male-centric trials have been the norm for much of medical history. Unfortunately for everybody, this exclusion has ignored the fact that female imperfection as test subjects doesnt preclude womens need for medical care. After all, sex has been shown to influence the development, progression, and symptoms of conditions like multiple sclerosis, strokes and migraines, asthma, and a host of other illnesses.

Its been legally necessary to include women in clinical trials in the US since 1994. But progress has been slow. A study in 2009 found that compliance with the laws was still low in many published experiments. And the debate around sex, gender, and inclusivity has, until now, centered on humans, neglecting to consider how the issue may be replicated in animal research.

The Nature Communications analysis explicitly aims to explode some of the myths surrounding biological sex testing in animalsnamely, that its unnecessary and a waste of resources. Sex doesnt exert enough influence on our most favored experimental animal, the humble mouse, to require testing both males and females, right?

Au contraire, the results say. The scientists of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute looked at the many ways in which sexual dimorphism influences genetic traits in mice, using 14,250 normal mice (whose genetics were untouched) and 40,192 mutant ones (who had at least one gene knocked out for research purposes).

The study looked at two distinct types of traits. Qualitative traits, like eye color, are controlled by a single gene or small group of genes, and dont really change in response to the environment. Quantitative traits, like metabolism or height, are controlled by a big group of genes and can be responsive to outside influences. The conclusion? A huge number of genetic traits in the mice showed distinct signs of influence by sex.

In normal or wild-type mice, 9.9% of qualitative traits and 56.6% of quantitative ones were influenced in some way by sex. And even in mutant mice with deliberately altered genes, 13.3% of qualitative traits and 17.7% of quantitative ones were sexually modified in some way. That, to put it mildly, is an experiment-altering amount of difference.

The problem in animal testing has been so frustrating for so long that the National Institute of Health took to Nature in 2014 to yell at scientists for not even bothering to use female lab animalsmuch less account for sex in their experiments. And now we know that the most commonly tested animals in medical history have bodies that react to sex differences across the genetic spectrum. The implications are pretty intense: This blindness has a direct impact on biomedical research, and might be part of the reason why progressing from animal trials to human medicine is so tricky.

Mice are also not the typical mammal, despite being sold as such to generations of biologists. And many findings for animals dont necessarily apply to human beings. But if more experiments accounted for sex, wed close at least part of the gap between the human and the animal.

The costs of neglecting female biomedical responses have been evident for a while now. Eight of the ten drugs withdrawn by the FDA between 1997 and 2001 (pdf) were taken off the market because of serious side effects for women, from birth defects in children to increased cancer risk. In most cases, the drugs were recalled after female patients went public with negative consequences. And evidence has shown that womens bodies metabolize various medications in different ways, from antipsychotics to anestheticsdifferences that have huge consequences for treatment and surgical practice.

Animal studies are meant to be the first line of exploration in discovering new ways to understand and conquer human disease. Leaving sex out of the equation means that women and men are both hobbled at the starting gate.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter. Learn how to write for Quartz Ideas. We welcome your comments at ideas@qz.com.

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A major blind spot in animal testing is endangering the lives of women – Quartz

No, the Google manifesto isn’t sexist or anti-diversity. It’s science – The Globe and Mail

By now, most of us have heard about Googles so-called anti-diversity manifesto and how James Damore, the engineer who wrote it, has been fired from his job.

Titled Googles Ideological Echo Chamber, Mr. Damore called out the current PC culture, saying the gender gap in Googles diversity was not due to discrimination, but inherent differences in what men and women find interesting. Danielle Brown, Googles newly appointed vice-president for diversity, integrity and governance, accused the memo of advancing incorrect assumptions about gender, and Mr. Damore confirmed last night he was fired for perpetuating gender stereotypes.

Despite how its been portrayed, the memo was fair and factually accurate. Scientific studies have confirmed sex differences in the brain that lead to differences in our interests and behaviour.

As mentioned in the memo, gendered interests are predicted by exposure to prenatal testosterone higher levels are associated with a preference for mechanically interesting things and occupations in adulthood. Lower levels are associated with a preference for people-oriented activities and occupations. This is why STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields tend to be dominated by men.

We see evidence for this in girls with a genetic condition called congenital adrenal hyperplasia, who are exposed to unusually high levels of testosterone in the womb. When they are born, these girls prefer male-typical, wheeled toys, such as trucks, even if their parents offer more positive feedback when they play with female-typical toys, such as dolls. Similarly, men who are interested in female-typical activities were likely exposed to lower levels of testosterone.

As well, new research from the field of genetics shows that testosterone alters the programming of neural stem cells, leading to sex differences in the brain even before its finished developing in utero. This further suggests that our interests are influenced strongly by biology, as opposed to being learned or socially constructed.

Many people, including a former Google employee, have attempted to refute the memos points, alleging that they contradict the latest research.

Id love to know what research done [] for decades hes referring to, because thousands of studies would suggest otherwise. A single study, published in 2015, did claim that male and female brains existed along a mosaic and that it isnt possible to differentiate them by sex, but this has been refuted by four yes, four academic studies since.

This includes a study that analyzed the exact same brain data from the original study and found that the sex of a given brain could be correctly identified with 69-per-cent to 77-per-cent accuracy.

Of course, differences exist at the individual level, and this doesnt mean environment plays no role in shaping us. But to claim that there are no differences between the sexes when looking at group averages, or that culture has greater influence than biology, simply isnt true.

In fact, research has shown that cultures with greater gender equity have larger sex differences when it comes to job preferences, because in these societies, people are free to choose their occupations based on what they enjoy.

As the memo suggests, seeking to fulfill a 50-per-cent quota of women in STEM is unrealistic. As gender equity continues to improve in developing societies, we should expect to see this gender gap widen.

This trend continues into the area of personality, as well. Contrary to what detractors would have you believe, women are, on average, higher in neuroticism and agreeableness, and lower in stress tolerance.

Some intentionally deny the science because they are afraid it will be used to justify keeping women out of STEM. But sexism isnt the result of knowing facts; its the result of what people choose to do with them.

This is exactly what the mob of outrage should be mobilizing for, instead of denying biological reality and being content to spend a weekend doxxing a man so that he would lose his job. At this point, as foreshadowed in Mr. Damores manifesto, we should be more concerned about viewpoint diversity than diversity revolving around gender.

Debra Soh writes about the science of human sexuality and holds a PhD in sexual neuroscience from York University.

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No, the Google manifesto isn’t sexist or anti-diversity. It’s science – The Globe and Mail

Couples can tailor-make their babies – Khaleej Times

An embryo that is free of a gene that has a risk of having a certain type of disease, such as cancer, can be selected through technology.

Couples in the UAE are turning to fertility treatment to not only have a chance at a successful pregnancy, but also to help curb birth defects, choose the baby’s gender, and what doctors call, “tailor-make their baby, Khaleej Times has learned.

Dr Braulio Peramo Moya, obstetrics, gynaecology and IVF consultant, Al Ain Fertility Centre, said that more than 500 couples in Al Ain have turned to fertility treatment within the past year alone.

Dr Moya explained that through Preimplantation Genetics Diagnostics (PGD), doctors are able to help curb diseases in future generations, such as cancer, as well as birth defects and syndromes, including Down’s syndrome.

“An embryo that is free of a gene that has a risk of having a certain type of disease, such as cancer, can be selected through technology.

“The same technology can be used to select an embryo with a physical trait, including the colour of the eyes, but this is not legal in the UAE and cannot be done in any fertility clinics.”

He said through modern technology, couples are, however, choosing the sex of their baby. “We take an embryo biopsy where we remove one or two cells and analyse these cells genetically.

“When we have the report of the genetic analysis, we will know the health of the embryo and the sex of the baby. Once we know the embryo is male or female, then we can decide which one can be selected.”

Dr Moya explained that the technology used to perform genetical analysis also allows doctors to analyse chromosomes. “There are some diseases we link to abnormalities in the number of chromosomes, known as aneuploety.”

“For example, Down’s syndrome has an extra 21 chromosomes. With PGD, we can analyse the number of chromosomes contained in an embryo and rule out syndromes and any other abnormalities.”

PGD can also be used to identify the embryos that contain genetic diseases, including thalassaemia, which is the most frequent and most common genetic disease in the country.

Moreover, a relatively new technology, known as the Next Generation Sequencing (NGS), allows the analysis of the entire genome. “NGS can identify not only abnormalities in the number of chromosomes, but also abnormalities inside the chromosomes.

“Before this, doctors were only able to analyse five to seven chromosomes, but with NGS, we can analyse every single chromosome.”

Another genetic analysis in the embryos is identifying abnormality in the gene, which is inside the chromosome itself – even if certain chromosomes contain more than 1,500 genes inside.

“A couple who are thalassaemia carriers, have a risk of having a baby carrying the severe disease if they risk conceiving naturally.” He said however, if the couple conceive through IVF PGD, doctors will be able to analyse the embryo and assure it is free of the disease.

Dr Moya added that genetic analysis is becoming more accurate within time and the IVF success rates themselves have reached a whopping 75-80 per cent for couples, when the female patient is under 30 years of age.

“Low responders and women older than 40 have a lower success rate,” he added. “The most heartwarming case I had in the UAE was a case of an Emirati couple who had 16 failed IVF attempts.”

“When the woman found out that she was finally pregnant, she was the happiest woman in the world. She could not believe it,” Dr Moya recalled.

jasmine@khaleejtimes.com

Dr Braulio Peramo Moya, obstetrics, gynaecology and IVF consultant, Al Ain Fertility Centre, said a new revolution in fertility treatment will soon make its way in clinics in the UAE, which will spur hope for thousands of struggling couples – beyond the regular IVF treatment.”There is something spectacular, which we are working on now, known as gene-editing, where abnormal embryos can literally be edited, as if you are editing a word document.”This means abnormal embryos don’t have to be discharged – because we are implementing a technology to edit and correct the gene – so abnormal embryos become normal embryos.”The technology, ‘CRISPR,’ will allow the edited and corrected embryos to be transferred into the woman’s womb, instead of being discharged.”There has been experiments in animal and human embryos, and within one or two years maximum, it will be clinically available in the UAE.””Gene-editing will be a revolution in fertility treatment, because right now, we have to discharge too many embryos because we find abnormal ones – there is no way we can use them – but soon gene-editing will become a reality and will change the lives of couples who will no longer have to go through countless IVF treatments.”

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Couples can tailor-make their babies – Khaleej Times

Dewmar International BMC, Inc. (DEWM) Announces Investment in New West Genetics, Better Than Expected Progress … – Benzinga

Company Formally Announces Trials at University of Kentucky, Purdue University and the University of Nevada, Reno

NEW ORLEANS, LA–(Marketwired – Aug 11, 2017) – Dewmar International BMC, Inc. (the “Company”)(OTC PINK: DEWM)today discussed its investment in New West Genetics (“New West”) and the phenomenal progress that has been achieved in only the past year.

Dewmar International Health & Wellness Research Consortium, LLC, a subsidiary of Dewmar, is a direct investor in New West Genetics and through New West, the consortium is using proprietary technologies and a knowledge base to genetically engineer the cannabis sativa plant to create low THC varieties that will be far superior to the common varieties known in the world today.

New West’s business strategy is using genomic technology and data-driven discovery to create large-scale, harvestable cannabis, greatly enhancing the sustainability of the industry and paving the way for large-scale product development of novel nutritional and therapeutic extracts, serving the fastest growing and largest segment of the cannabis market, to use its technology and its knowledge base of genetic engineering to develop and market what it believes are superior, differentiated products.

For thousands of years and since the first farms appeared on the face of the earth, farmers saved seeds from one farming season to another. There wasn’t anything that was truly proprietary, seed types mutated to a certain climate and soil type, and all the farmers in a region of the world essentially farmed the same variety.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office throughout its history refused to grant patents on seed types. They viewed seeds as a form of life and refused to grant patents on a living thing that had way too many variables that couldn’t be controlled. This all changed in 1980 when in a 5-4 decision, the United States Supreme Court finally decided to allow the patenting of seeds. This created an entire industry which is a multi-billion dollar industry worldwide today.

Over the past few decades, smaller seed companies have been bought out and the industry is essentially controlled by major players such as Monsanto, Bayer, Dow, Dupont and BASF. Monsanto is the world leader and the intellectual property is so valuable that companies such as Monsanto create internal programs with safeguards to protect their intellectual property. In the case of Roundup seeds, which is owned by Monsanto, farmers are required to sign agreements that they will not save the seeds after harvesting and they will not sell the seeds to other farmers.

The revival of industrial hemp (also referred to as hemp) in the United States is well underway but for decades, hemp has been illegal to grow in the United States.Thanks to the 2014 Farm Bill, it is no longer considered illegal to grow. Hemp fiber has always been known as the longest and strongest natural fiber known to man. It is of superior strength and durability as compared to other natural fibers. Hemp and all products made of hemp fiber are biodegradable. Hemp has also been used to make clothing, money, rope and many other essential products.

Over the past 2 decades, hemp has morphed into a super food besides the industrial applications, which has a history spanning many centuries. For example, hemp seeds contain about 44% oil by weight in which 80% is a perfect balance of Omega-3, that is known to improve heart function, and Omega-6 essential fatty acids which are essential in hair and skin growth. The protein profile of hemp seeds is more complete than the protein of fish, chicken and red meat. Hemp protein contains all known amino acids and the 9 essential ones that adult bodies can’t produce.

Industrial hemp is also rich in cannabinoids, the chemical structures in industrial hemp that are being studied for a wide range of medical ailments including cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Some strains of industrial hemp are also rich in CBD (cannabidiol). Cannabidioil is non-psychoactive while having the potential to possess a variety of therapeutic properties in many medical conditions. CBD has been studied for its therapeutic potential in many serious medical ailments such as epilepsy, cancer, pain, arthritis, and many others. CBD oils and infused products can be purchased in the entire United States without a prescription.

There is a tremendous demand for hemp seed genetics. Today, companies throughout the world are trying to genetically engineer the hemp plant to make it an even better superfood with greater percentages of certain cannabinoids and even higher levels of protein per plant.

New West Genetics has made significant progress in 2017 including entering into a seed licensing deal with potential revenue of $3 million over 3 years. The company’s proprietary RELY hemp seed is the first United States hemp-bred seed to pass a Colorado Department of Agriculture trial. RELY was planted in five diverse regions including variations in altitude and weather pattern. The result of the trial reached a successful endpoint when the THC content never exceeded .2% (two-tenths of a percent THC). In a Colorado seed lab test, the RELY seed resulted in 99% purity, 99% germination and 0% weeds.

“Ultimately, my vision is to conduct research with the assistance of New West and one or more Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to create a high CBD, low THC producing hemp seed that contains the proper combination of healing and pain relief proteins to manufacture and distribute the first over-the-counter nutritional supplement to generate millions of dollars in revenue per month,” says Dr. Marco Moran, CEO of Dewmar International.

This will not be Dr. Moran’s time to create such a high profit earning business model and thanks to the vision and continued support of Dr. Ivory Toldson, Jr., former Executive Director of White House Initiative on HBCUs.Dewmar participated in the Billion Dollar Corporate round table discussion at a prior year’s conference in Washington, D.C. which afforded both him and Dewmar President, J.D. Houston, the opportunity to personally meet and discuss hemp growing programs with Chancellors, Provosts, Deans and Presidents of many top HBCU Agricultural Programs who collectively control thousands of acres of land and whom all gladly accepted our program offerings.

Dewmar is also proud to announce that New West’s seeds have been entered into trials at the University of Kentucky and Purdue, two of the leading agricultural colleges in the United States. Both universities are active participants in the nationwide revival of the hemp industry.

New West has 4 breeding sites this year plus a 20-acre site which is currently producing hemp from the genetically engineered seed RELY. This large production will give the company verifiable yield rates, which will be demonstrable to large buyers who are looking for seeds in the United States.

One of the key researchers behind New West’s work is Dr. John McKay. Dr. McKay is the Chief Investigator at the McKay Lab at Colorado State. The McKay Lab studies the ecology, evolution and genetics of local plant adaptation in natural plant populations. Dr. McKay was invited as a special guest by Dr. Moran to meet his long-time friend and colleague, Dr. Toldson, at a national White House Initiative on HBCU conference years ago. By the end of the conference, Dr. McKay renewed and strengthened his commitment to advance the post-graduate education and increased participation of HBCU students in the studies of Plant Genetics.

“For the past several years, I have worked quietly, yet diligently, toward my vision of empowering HBCU’s across the country with agricultural programs to become financially self-sufficient due to favorable changes in the Farm Bill by aiding them in implementing strong industrial hemp programs. I met with Dr. McKay on numerous occasions in Colorado and in Washington, D.C. to develop the proper partnership that entailed both an investment by our Company and in depth discussions with former the White House via, Dr. Ivory Toldson, Jr. to propose the initiation of grants and creative funding mechanisms for HBCU Agricultural Programs,” said Dr. Moran.

Click on the link here to learn more about why Dewmar considers themselves a perfect investor and implementation partner with New West Genetics; the leaders in cannabis sativa seed breeding and THC trials. Dewmar’s strategic HBCU initiative partnership with MJardin and GHD was formed to implement state of the art growth programs paired with New West leadership in plant genetics. This unique, selfless combination is not be matched by any other consortium within the industry.

“Dewmar boasts that its product development, R&D, manufacturing, brand management and retail product placement verticals create a massive seed-to-consumer retail sales program that is not easily duplicated. This quiet storm of success is a result of years of strategically calculated and well-groomed proper planning over the past 5 years and the time has come to execute,” says J.D. Houston, Dewmar International President.

Dr. Marco Moran states, “We are one of the most respected suppliers of the world’s largest retailer, Walmart, and they have an increasing number of food and beauty supply products that contain hemp oils, seeds, proteins and powders. My vision is to have HBCU farms with thousands of acres across the U.S. supplying the best in hemp seed byproducts for the millions of consumers worldwide as they become more educated about the positive effects of CBD and of hemp infused medicinals.”

Unfortunately, for now, most of the hundreds of millions of dollars of hemp products sold in the U.S. are imported mainly from China and Canada.However, Dewmar plans to grab its fair share of the market as an official registered supplier of Walmart JUMP (Jobs in U.S. Manufacturing) for the fourth year. Furthermore, as Chair of the Mississippi District Export Council, Dr. Moran is perfecting the Company’s ability to increase revenue via exports and to utilize the many tools offered by the United States Commercial Service which is the trade promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration.

In fact, Dr. Moran has accepted a request from one of the top credentialed, licensed female cardiologists in the state of Mississippi to develop one of the first over-the-counter (OTC) heart healthy CBD + hemp protein infused nutritional supplements.This physician and the team of Dewmar Medical Advisory Board practitioners plan to schedule a clinical study soon after product launch to track the long-term effectiveness of the product to prevent or reduce the chances of heart disease and to greatly improve heart health in a high risk patient population.

About Dewmar International BMC, Inc.

Dewmar International BMC, Inc. is a certified service-disabled veteran-owned business concern, new product development, manufacturing and brand management company. Established in 2003, Dewmar’s primary business strategy has been in creating high profit margins with functional foods and beverages, such as Lean Slow Motion Potion; the longest placement period of all relaxation beverages in Walmart’s history and Kush Cakes; the top selling relaxation brownie in the U.S. market. The company has offices in Clinton, MS; Houston, TX; Denver, CO and New Orleans, LA. Dewmar was rated by the Mississippi Business Journal as one of the State’s top 15 publicly traded companies.

Follow Dewmar on its official Facebook and Twitter sites where the CEO is inclined to provide information, sometimes on a daily basis, about some of the Company’s current activities. Also, subscribe to our Company Newsletter on the bottom right of our homepage to receive updates.

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Dewmar International BMC, Inc. (DEWM) Announces Investment in New West Genetics, Better Than Expected Progress … – Benzinga

Genetic strategies to reduce gilt feed and development costs – National Hog Farmer

By Mark Knauer, North Carolina State University Assistant Professor and Extension Swine Specialist; and Garrett See, North Carolina State UniversityIn recent years industry geneticists have chosen to focus on increasing sow output through increases in litter size. At some point we may reach an optimal litter size at the commercial level. Some may debate we are there now. Yet geneticists are working to enhance piglet quality which should make it easier for farmers to wean large, quality litters in the coming years.

So what future opportunities do we have to enhance female reproduction through genetics? Genetically reducing age at puberty offers producers multiple avenues to reduce sow herd costs. Recent research by Garrett See (2017) suggests genetically reducing age at puberty would allow gilts to be mated at younger ages and lighter weights. The author reported that after four generations of selection for young puberty, average age and weight at puberty were 163 days and 224 pounds, respectively.

Hence, in theory, you could farrow your gilts at an average age of 10 or 11 months versus a year of age. Not only would this allow you to substantially reduce gilt feed cost, but also potentially market late puberty gilts as full-value market animals. See (2017) further suggests selection for reduced age at puberty would increase gilt retention, enhance sow longevity and improve piglet quality. Hence the benefits of a genetically young puberty gilt are multiple. Yet more research around early puberty is warranted. Can we consistently breed genetically young puberty gilts to farrow at 10 months of age? What is the true economic value of age at puberty?

Genetic suppliers will tell you age at puberty is a challenging trait to capture at the nucleus level. They are currently correct. Yet I think there are some strategies to reduce the cost of capturing puberty data in the nucleus. At the commercial level Im not sure many changes would be needed to incorporate early puberty females, just start breeding at a younger age.

I would like to acknowledge the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and North Carolina Pork Council for their support of this project. Contact Mark Knauerwith questions.

ReferencesSee, Garrett. 2017. Correlated Responses to Selection for Age at Puberty in Swine. M.S. Thesis. North Carolina State University, Raleigh.

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Genetic strategies to reduce gilt feed and development costs – National Hog Farmer

Memo to all tech bros: Sexism, not biology, holds women back – New Scientist

Google has diversity problems

Kim Kulish/Corbis via Getty

By Lara Williams

Sexism in the tech sector has been a long-standing problem. The latest manifestation of an industry in which machismo reigns and women are grossly underrepresented came as an internal memo written by James Damore an engineer employed by Google (Google has since fired Damore).

The essay, which has been described as an anti-diversity manifesto, is titled Googles Ideological Echo Chamber. It comprises 10 pages of bad science and biological determinism.

Damore outlines research that he says supports his view that women are intrinsically different to men, broadly less likely (and capable) of working in the same careers and industries. Women, on average, have more: he begins, before listing various attributes as innate to women: openness, interest in people over things, preference for social and artistic work, neuroticism and anxiety, extraversion expressed as gregariousness and a harder time negotiating salaries.

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Philosophically, he reasons, I dont think we should do arbitrary social engineering of tech just to make it appealing to equal portions of both men and women.

Some of the science Damore uses to prop up his argument, as Angela Saini points out in The Guardian, is valid; but only insofar as there is a school of neuroscientific thought venturing theories of anatomical differences in men and womens brains. Equally, there is a school of thought dismissing this idea. There are published scientific papers out there to support every possible opinion, Saini states. Science is a slow process, not a growing string of truths.

One truth though is that biological determinism has a history of being trotted out to justify sexism and it is problematic for a number of reasons. Damores manifesto portrays women as a product of inherited traits; understanding womanhood as an expressly anatomical concept without social and cultural influence. He needs to heed French intellectual and feminist Simone de Beauvoirs famous line, one is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.

Feminist identity politics are, broadly speaking, concerned with the ways female identity and prescriptive modes of femininity are shaped and constructed. Damores assertions presume gender identity happens in a cultural vacuum.

We ask why we dont see women in top leadership positions, but we never ask why we see so many men in these jobs, Damore states. These positions often require long, stressful hours that may not be worth it if you want a balanced and fulfilling life.

But we absolutely do ask. Men do not have biological predisposition towards stressful hours any more than women do; likewise, a balanced and fulfilling life comes with different expectations if it is likely you are the half of a partnership required to pick up the majority of the domestic labour and child-rearing duties. The structural differences that create inequality are more nuanced than genitals and genetics.

Damore outlines Googles diversity strategies, such as mentoring and classes for marginalised candidates, as harmful, stating they actually increase race and gender tensions. Such strategies increase tensions only for those with a sense of privilege and entitlement, threatened by the usurping of a status quo they benefit from.

What he does not address is the widely discussed prevalence of an aggressively masculine bro-culture, making those long office hours even less palatable for women. A 2016 survey found that 60 per cent of female employees in tech roles reported unwanted sexual advances and 87 per cent reported demeaning comments from male colleagues.

Damore will no doubt, however, be heartened to know Google presently has a 69 per cent male employee majority and so the damaging culture of gender parity he evidently fears is still a long way off. Phew.

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Memo to all tech bros: Sexism, not biology, holds women back – New Scientist

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