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Archive for the ‘Male Genetics’ Category

How animal genes go into battle to dominate their offspring – Gears Of Biz

Authors

Director of the Ecology Institute, Universidad Nacional Autnoma de Mxico (UNAM)

Professor of Evolutionary Biology and Speciation, University of St Andrews

University of St Andrews

The burdens of becoming parents are often shared unequally between male and female animals. This is particularly true of species that give birth to live young, where male duties such as defending the breeding territory and building dens or nests rarely compare with the ordeals of pregnancy and labour.

You might have thought that animals just accept this imbalance and get on with it. But actually, they compete over how much each parent contributes. This isnt like the competition to win a mate, with locking horns or displays of plumage. Instead this remarkable battle takes place at the level of the genes.

It now appears it may have evolved very early in animal evolution, perhaps among the first child-bearing animals. What is more, it may even help to explain why animals diversified into different lineages.

One arena in which this battle plays out is over the size of offspring. In principle its in both a mothers and fathers interests to produce bigger newborns, since they are more likely to prevail in the struggle for food and survival.

Yet live-bearing females are more likely to die giving birth to larger offspring or become unable to reproduce again. Their mates neednt care unless they are likely to sire more broods together, as with humans and certain gibbons, wolves and mice. Otherwise, the males only concern is that their mate invests as much as possible in the offspring they produce together.

This common conflict of interests manifests itself in various ways in nature. Males often desert pregnant females from birds to humans, for example thereby leaving them with the burden of bringing up the young. More rarely, in some normally biparental species females desert males. We see this in some beetles, for example.

The genetic battle mentioned previously is another manifestation of this conflict. The males of many species can manipulate the genes that they pass on to their offspring so that they induce extra growth at the expense of the mother. As with desertion, this effectively hands the female a greater share of the child-bearing burden than is in her interests.

It works as follows. When an embryo grows inside its mother, it consumes resources from her, signalling its metabolic needs along the way. These signals are influenced by certain hormones which either come from the growth genes of the mother or father. The males manipulate the females to deliver more resources by increasing the extent to which these hormones are produced through a chemical modification of their growth genes during sperm formation.

Females have evolved mechanisms to resist this. They can, for instance, pass on to their offspring what is known as a silenced copy of their own growth gene. This can counterbalance the male genes influence by making the embryo grow less than it otherwise would.

This battle is far less prevalent in truly monogamous species, including humans. This goes back to the fact that it becomes less genetically necessary where the two parents have a common interest in the female producing more offspring in future.

British microbiologist David Haig first proposed in 2003 that this battle was more likely in organisms where one sex disproportionately contributes to the offspring, such as live-bearing species, particularly polygamous ones. This was used to explain the puzzling size of the offspring of crosses between oldfield mice and deer mice.

Separately, these species produce similar sized offspring. Yet crosses between male deer mice and female oldfield mice produce offspring that are larger, while the offspring from female deer mice and oldfield males are smaller. Oldfield mice are monogamous while deer mice are polyandrous, meaning one female mates with several males.

Mimicking nature by artificially manipulating a growth gene called igf2, researchers showed that these smaller and larger offspring were due to genetics. In further support of the theory, placental mammals and marsupials including kangaroos and opossums have since been found to have signs of female resistance to such male manipulation.

How early did this mechanism evolve? Researchers have previously suggested it arose in live-born mammals, and would therefore be absent in egg-laying mammals such as the platypus and other vertibrates.

But that raises questions about all the reptiles, amphibians and fish which produce live young, since the same genetic manipulation would equally be in their males interests. To see if it was present, we looked at a Mexican fish called the amarillo or dark-edged splitfin (see lead image).

Along with co-researchers Yolitzi Saldvar and Jean Philippe Vielle Calzada, we crossed males and females from two distant populations of these fish, since they would not have evolved mechanisms which cancel one another out in the way that a single population is likely to have. Sure enough, the size of the embryos was influenced by the specific combination of father and mother. We found signs of male manipulation and probable resistance from the females.

Though based on a small sample size, this suggests that these mechanisms evolved much earlier than previously believed: fish split from other vertebrates some 200m years before live-bearing mammals appeared, dating back about 370m years in total. Whether it comes from a single evolution or from several in different lineages, we cannot yet tell.

One consequence of these genetic battles is the effect on reproductive compatibility within a species. The genetic mutations aimed at manipulating offspring that take place among males and females within a certain group of a species are like a sort of arms race. The genes continually adapt and counter-adapt to one another to try and further their reproductive interests.

If they then mate with an animal from a different group of the same species, their genetic mutations can have made them sufficiently unmatched over time that they are unable to reproduce thus they are now two species. If this started happening much earlier in evolution than was previously thought, it is likely to have influenced how different groups of live-born animals diverged, including lizards, sharks and mammals. From little acorns, these are the kinds of big oak trees that can grow.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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How animal genes go into battle to dominate their offspring – Gears Of Biz

The Genetics of Male Infertility | The Turek Clinics

High technology approaches to fertility, including ICSI, are really a two edged sword: they allow us to treat severe male infertility, but they may alter natural selection in that decisions regarding sperm and eggs are made in the laboratory and not by nature.

Dr. Paul Turek

Among the 15% of couples who experience infertility, about 40% of the time the infertility is due to male factors. About half of male infertility cases are due to defined reasons, including varicocele, infection, hormone imbalances, exposures such as drugs or medications, x-rays, tobacco use and hot tubs, blockage of the reproductive tract ducts, and previous surgery that has left scarring. Another cause of male infertility that has been underestimated in the past, but is now gaining in importance is genetic infertility. The reason for its increased importance is that our knowledge about genetics is growing so quickly. Men who may have had unexplained infertility in the past may now be diagnosed with genetic causes of infertility through recently available testing. In fact, this field is progressing so quickly that genetic infertility has already become one of the most commonly diagnosed reasons for male infertility.

Developed in the early 1990s, assisted reproduction in the form of IVF and ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) is a revolutionary laboratory technique in which a single sperm is placed directly inside an egg for fertilization. This technique has opened the door to fertility for men who formerly had few available treatment options, as it allows men who were previously considered severely infertile or sterile the possibility of fatherhood. However, with ICSI sperm are chosen by laboratory technicians and not by nature and because of this, it is not clear what barriers to natural selection are altered. Thus, along with this technology comes the possibility of passing on to a child certain genetic issues that may have caused the fathers infertility, or even more severe conditions. Another reason to know whether male

Infertility is genetic or not is because classic treatments such as varicocele repair or medications given to improve male infertility. In fact, Dr Turek was one of the first to publish on this issue, showing that varicocele repair was not effective in improving fertility in men with genetic infertility. Because he recognized these issues early on, Dr. Turek, while at UCSF in 1997, founded the first formal genetic counseling and testing program for infertility in the U.S. Called the Program in the Genetics of Infertility (PROGENI), Dr. Tureks program has helped over 2000 patients at risk for genetic infertility to navigate the decision-making waters that surround this condition.

Men with infertility should be seen by a urologist for a thorough medical history, physical examination, and appropriate medical testing. If genetic infertility is a possibility, then a genetic counselor can help couples understand the possible reasons, offer appropriate genetic testing, and discuss the complex emotional and medical implications of the test results. The approach taken early on by Dr. Turek is outlined in Figure 1. Just like the medical diagnosis from a urologist or fertility specialist, information about family history plays a critical role in genetic risk assessment. This approach to genetic evaluation, termed non-prescriptive, has been the corner- stone of Dr. Tureks critically acclaimed clinical program that now has over a dozen publications contributing to our current knowledge in the field. It is important to note that a lack of family history of infertility or other medical problems does not eliminate or reduce the risk of genetic infertility. In fact, a family history review will often be unremarkable. However, family history can provide crucial supporting in- formation toward making a genetic diagnosis (such as a family history of recurrent miscarriages or babies born with problems). Dr. Turek has published that having a genetic counselor obtain family history information is much more accurate than simply giving patients a written questionnaire to fill out and bring to their visit. A genetic counselor can also discuss appropriate genetic testing options and review the test results in patients in a meaningful way.

When speaking to Dr. Tureks genetic counselor about genetic testing, keep in mind that he or she will not tell you what to do. Genetic counselors are trained to provide information, address questions and concerns, and support you in the decision making process. A genetic counselor does not assume which decisions are most appropriate for you.

Among the various infertility diagnoses that men have, some are more commonly associated with genetic causes. Diagnoses that can have genetic causes include men nonobstructive azoospermia (no sperm count), oligospermia (low sperm count), and congenital absence of the vas deferens. A list of some of the best- described causes of genetic male infertility and their frequencies and associated conditions are listed in Table 1.

Nonobstructive azoospermia is defined as zero sperm count in the ejaculate due to an underlying sperm production problem within the testicles. This is quite dif- ferent from obstructive azoospermia in which sperm production within the testes is normal, but there is a blockage in the reproductive tract ducts that prevents thesperm from leavingthe body. There can be changes in the levels of reproductive hormones, such as follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), observed withnonobstructiveazoospermia. Most commonly, the FSH is elevated in this condition, which is an appropriate and safe hormone responseofthe pituitary gland to states of low or no sperm production. This diagnosis is associated with a 15%chance forhaving chromosome abnormalities(Figure 2) and a 13% chance for having gene regions missing on the Y chromosome (termed Y chromosome microdeletions, Figure3). To detect these changes, blood tests are typically offered to men with nonobstructive azoospermia.

Oligospermia that places men at risk for genetic infertility occurs when the ejaculate contains a sperm concentration of

Congenital absence of the vas deferens is characterized by the malformation or absence of the ducts that allow sperm to pass from the testicles into the ejaculate and out of the body during ejaculation. The duct that is affected in this condition is the vas deferens. This is the same duct that is treated during a vasectomy, a procedure for men who want birth control. Men with this condi tion are essentially born with a natural vasectomy. This congenital condition is associated with mutations and/or variations in the genes for cystic fibrosis (the CFTR gene) in 70-80% men if the vas deferens is absent on both sides, but less than this if the duct is missing on only one side. For most men with this condition with a mutation in the cystic fibrosis gene, the missing vas deferens is the only problem that results from this genetic change and they do not have the full spectrum of symptoms associated with cystic fibrosis, the most common genetic disease in the U.S. and generally lethal in early adulthood.

A less common reason for men to have a zero sperm count (azoospermia) than nonobstructive azoospermia is obstructive azoospermia. In essence, this is an unexplained zero sperm count due to a blockage of the reproductive tract ducts leading from the testicle to the ejaculate. Blockages are most commonly found in the epididymis but can also be located in the vas deferens or ejaculatory ducts. Most cases of obstructive azoospermia are amendable to surgical repair and naturally fertility is common. However, a high proportion of these men (47%) have mutations in the cystic fibrosis gene (CFTR) or harbor variations in the CFTR gene, termed 5T alleles. As such, genetic counseling and testing is also important in these patients.

These conditions represent only the most common genetic conditions encountered when evaluating men for genetic infertility. For this reason, consider reading Dr. Turekspublished paper that discusses most of the currently understood syndromes and conditions that are associated with infertility. It is also important to remember that if all genetic test results are normal, there is still a possibility that the infertility has a genetic cause. However, in many cases, medical science is currently unable to offer testing to detect it.

If a man has a chromosome abnormality identified as the cause of infertility, then depending on the chromosome abnormality detected, there may be a higher risk for children to be born with birth defects or mental impairment. This occurs as a result of a child inheriting from the father an imbalance in chromosome material. A genetic counselor can provide more detailed information about such potential risks, and offer other resources for individuals who have been diagnosed with a chromosome abnormality. There may be support organizations available to help men with genetic diagnoses and their partners cope with the impact of this information. Some couples find it helpful to talk to others in similar circumstances.

If a man is diagnosed with a Y chromosome deletion, then he will pass on that Y chromosome deletion to any son he conceives. To his daughters, he will pass on his X chromosome, instead of the Y chromosome. It is assumed that any son inheriting a Y chromosome deletion from his father will also have infertility. It is unclear whether the type and severity of the infertility will be different from the fathers. So far, there have only been a few reports of sons born to fathers with Y chromosome deletions after conception by assisted reproduction. As expected, there has not been an increase in the rate of birth defects or other problems for these boys, although this group is still small in number, and too young to have fertility evalua- tions.

Transmission of CFTR mutations in cases of infertility due to congenital absence of the vas deferens is somewhat more complex than either Y microdeletions or a chromosome abnormality. This is because there are over 1400 described muta- tions in the CFTR gene and the impact of mutations differs depending on which one is present. In general, the partner of an affected man should be tested as well, so that the residual risk of a child having either congenital absence of the vas deferens or full-blown cystic fibrosis can be estimated.

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The Genetics of Male Infertility | The Turek Clinics

New ways to target low sperm count? – Genetic Literacy Project

August 30, 2017 | Case Western Reserve School of Medicine

[Ahmad Khalil, Assistant Professor of Genetics and Genome Sciences at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine] and colleagues have been working to understand genetic mechanisms behind male infertility.

His work focuses on long strands of genetic material with elusive functions. The strands, called long non-coding RNAs or lncRNAs dont seem to encode proteins, but have been implicated in everything from cancer to brain function. Many are located in the testes, suggesting they could also play a role in fertility.

A team of seven researchers, led by Khalil, collected and measured lncRNA levels during the process of cellular differentiation that leads to sperm production [in mice]. They found that specific lncRNAs are associated with each stage of sperm development.

We have demonstrated for the first time that new types of genes, lncRNAs, are important for male fertility, Khalil said. This is a step closer to uncovering new genetic causes of infertility.

Our hope is that lncRNAs can be used in future RNA-based therapeutic approaches, Khalil said.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Long, mysterious strip of RNA contribute to low sperm count

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New ways to target low sperm count? – Genetic Literacy Project

Fruit fly protein dual duties may make it model for studies of protein function in context – Phys.Org

Clamp (glowing green) is found all over these fly chromosomes, but it’s particularly concentrated at the histone locus (red) at the bottom center. Credit: Rieder, et. al.

An essential fruit fly protein called CLAMP may help biologists answer the key question of how the same protein can manage to coordinate two completely different processes on distinct chromosomes in the same cell.

New research on a crucial protein in fruit flies provides a clear model for a fundamental question in biology that’s significant for drug development in particular: What influences the exact same protein to coordinate a vital molecular process on one chromosome but an entirely different one on another chromosome?

The new study concerns the recently discovered protein CLAMP. Previously, scientists at Brown University had identified CLAMP as the linchpin in the process by which cells in males doubly express their single X chromosome to achieve genetic parity with females, a process necessary for male existence and survival. Now, in a study published in the journal Genes and Development, the researchers have identified another role for CLAMP that is equally essential to males and females alikethe protein is responsible for coordinating the process by which the DNA in newly replicating cells of an embryo becomes properly wound up and structured.

“It’s really exciting because now we have these two separate chromosomes on which CLAMP does vital jobs,” said senior author Erica Larschan. “That sets us up for a compare-and-contrast strategy where we can understand how one protein can function differently in context-specific ways.”

That matters, added co-lead author Leila Rieder, a postdoctoral researcher at Brown, because in order for clinical interventions that target key proteins to do more good than harm, they need to be tailored to a specific context. It may be tempting to block or amplify a gene or protein to treat a disease, but without confining the intervention to that one process, it could upset the entirely healthy actions of the same gene or protein in an unrelated process. That could produce potentially devastating side effects.

“One of the biggest fears about using genetics in people is that there are off-target effects,” Rieder said. “You don’t know when you manipulate a gene if it’s going to have a single effect or if it’s going to have many effects. We don’t understand all the roles that that one manipulation is going to have.”

The confirmation of a second life-giving role for CLAMP, Rieder and Larschan said, provides a perfect example of a protein that is essential in two completely different ways in the convenient research model of the fruit fly.

CLAMP goes GAGA

CLAMP binds to DNA all over the fly genome, but it kicks into consequential action when it finds a long series of repeats of the nucleotides GA. In the new study, the scientists found long GA repeats and CLAMP on chromosome 2L at the “histone locus,” where a cluster of genes produce the proteins around which DNA gets wound up to fit inside the nucleus. In many organisms, humans included, cells assemble the same cadre of proteins around which they wrap their DNA. Approximately a yard of DNA is present in every microscopic cell, so it is essential that it be tightly packed but still accessible for regulation immediately in a newly fertilized egg.

In a series of experiments, a team at Brown, the University of North Carolina and Massachusetts General Hospital found that in fruit flies, CLAMP is the protein that launches the process of gene regulation that produces histones by recruiting other known regulators. It is among the very first proteins on the scene of the histone locus in a newly fertilized egg and opens up the histone locus for expression by the cell, they found. Experiments in which the team interfered with CLAMP led almost universally to fly eggs failing to hatch.

Foiling CLAMP proved to be so lethal, in fact, that studying its function at all required an experimental ploy that would allow the scientists to manipulate CLAMP while keeping the flies alive. To understand, for example, how CLAMP lures the other histone-related proteins to the histone locus, the Brown team worked with the University of North Carolina collaborators, including co-lead author Kaitlin Koreski, to generate CLAMP mimics that wouldn’t interfere with natural CLAMP’s DNA binding, but could still attract the other key regulatory proteins that control histone gene regulation.

Same protein, different functions

Larschan and Rieder’s new understanding of CLAMP’s function at the histone locus now matches their understanding of its function on the X chromosome. But they said they don’t yet know exactly what differs about the context of those two chromosomes such that CLAMP, with the same molecular anatomy and bound to the same GA repeats, manages to recruit two completely different groups of proteins to perform separate gene expression tasks.

That’s the next step in their research.

“It sets up a paradigm for the future,” Larschan said. “There are very few casesthat’s what I’m always surprised about when I read the literaturewhere there are such specific roles at different sites for a single protein. It’s a really strong model.”

Explore further: GAGA may be the secret of the sexesat least in insects

More information: Leila E. Rieder et al, Histone locus regulation by the Drosophila dosage compensation adaptor protein CLAMP, Genes & Development (2017). DOI: 10.1101/gad.300855.117

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Fruit fly protein dual duties may make it model for studies of protein function in context – Phys.Org

Could high doses of vitamin B supplements raise lung cancer risk? – CBS News

Men, and especially male smokers, appear to be more likely to develop lung cancer if they take high doses of vitamins B6 and B12, new research suggests.

For men taking these vitamin supplements, the risk of lung cancer was nearly doubled. For men who smoked, the risk was between three and four times higher, the study found.

“High-dose B6 and B12 supplements should not be taken for lung cancer prevention, especially in men, and they may cause harm in male smokers,” said study lead author Theodore Brasky. He is a research assistant professor at Ohio State University.

However, the study wasn’t designed to prove cause-and-effect between the vitamins and lung cancer; it only showed an association.

It’s also not clear why only men and current male smokers seem to face an extra risk.

And a trade organization representing the vitamin industry cautioned against reading too much into the study.

Most people in the United States get enough vitamin B6 through their diets, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). Some people with certain health conditions may need supplements.

As for vitamin B12, the NIH reports that most Americans get enough from their diet. But some groups — such as older people and vegetarians — may be deficient and need supplements. The vitamin may also cause interactions with medications.

Dietary sources of vitamin B6 and B12 include fortified cereals and foods that are high in protein.

The new study included more than 77,000 adults, aged 50 to 76, in Washington state. The participants were recruited from 2000 to 2002, and answered questions about their vitamin use over the previous 10 years.

The researchers found that just over 800 of the study volunteers developed lung cancer over an average follow-up of six years.

The study found no sign of a link between folate (a type of B vitamin) and lung cancer risk. And vitamin B6 and B12 supplements didn’t seem to affect risk in women.

However, “we found that men who took more than 20 milligrams per day of B6 averaged over 10 years had an 82 percent increased risk of lung cancer relative to men who did not take supplemental B vitamins from any source,” Brasky said.

“Men who took more than 55 micrograms per day of B12 had a 98 percent increased lung cancer risk relative to men who did not take B vitamins,” he noted.

Men who smoked at the beginning of the study period and consumed high levels of the B vitamins were three to four times more likely to develop lung cancer, he added.

“B6 is typically sold in 100 mg (milligram) tablets. B12 is often sold between 500 mcg (microgram) and 3,000 mcg tablets,” Brasky said.

“In contrast, most multivitamins include 100 percent of the U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance, which is under 2 mg per day for B6 and 2.4 mcg per day for B12. People should really ask themselves if they need over 1,200 times the RDA (recommended daily allowance) of a substance. There’s simply no scientific backing for these doses,” he said.

The study doesn’t conclusively link higher doses of the vitamins to higher rates of lung cancer. If there is a connection, it’s not clear how the vitamins might influence the cancer risk, Brasky said, although it may have something to do with how the vitamins interact with male sex hormones.

Paul Brennan, head of the genetics section with the International Agency for Research on Cancer, said the study appears to be valid.

However, the findings conflict with his group’s recent research, published July 22 in theJournal of the National Cancer Institute, which didn’t find any links between high blood levels of vitamin B6 and lung cancer in people at large, or men specifically.

“If anything,” Brennan said, “we found a small protective effect that was more apparent among men.”

Still, Brennan added that “there is clearly no evidence that these vitamins have any substantial protective effect. Smokers taking these vitamins should quit smoking.”

Dr. Eric Bernicker, a thoracic oncologist with Houston Methodist Hospital, agreed with that advice and said the study points to a higher risk of lung cancer from higher doses.

“There’s a strong belief that vitamins would never harm you. As in much of nutrition, the story is more complicated than that,” Bernicker said.

In a statement, Duffy MacKay, a senior vice president of the Council for Responsible Nutrition, a trade group for the vitamin industry, urged consumers “to resist the temptation to allow sensational headlines from this new study to alter their use of B vitamins.”

According to MacKay, “The numerous benefits of B vitamins from food and dietary supplements — including supporting cognition, heart health and energy levels — are well-established.”

In addition, McKay said, the study has limitations. Among other things, it required participants to remember what they consumed over 10 years.

The study was published Aug. 22 in theJournal of Clinical Oncology.

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Could high doses of vitamin B supplements raise lung cancer risk? – CBS News

4 Ways to Make Use of Male Cannabis Plants – Leafly

Unlike most flowering plants, cannabis is unique in that it requires both a male and female plant to reproduce. While hermaphroditic (self-pollinating) cannabis does exist, the plant most commonly expresses male- or female-specific sex organs.

Female cannabis plants produce the large, resinous buds that are dried, cured, and consumed. For this reason, females are typically the only plants youll find in someones cannabis garden.

Male plants are commonly regarded as useless and discarded.While pollination by males is essential for producing more cannabis plants (unless working from clones), its a process that is generally best left to breeders so growers can focus on producing consumable seedless buds calledsinsemilla.

Do male plants truly belong in a compost bin, or could they serve a more beneficial purpose to gardeners? Surprisingly, there are more uses for male plants than one might think.

The obvious function of male cannabis plants is for breeding seeds. When pollinating females, males provide half of the genetic makeup inherited by seeds. Because of this, its important to look into the genetics of the male plants. Their shape, rate of growth, pest and mold resistance, and climate resilience can all be passed on to increase the quality of future generations.

When it comes to hemp fiber, the male cannabis plants produce a softer material while females are responsible for producing a coarse, stronger fiber. The soft fiber from the male plants make them more desirable for products like clothing, tablecloths, and other household items.

It may come as a surprise that male plants can be psychoactive in naturethough much less potent than females. The plants do not produce buds, but small amounts of THC can be found in the leaves, stems, and sacs, which can be extracted to produce hash or other oils.

Cannabis plants offer more benefits in the garden beyond bud production. Both male and female cannabis plants produce aromatic oils called terpenes, which are associated with pest and disease control. Since males also produce terpenes, you may consider including your males in a vegetable or flower garden (as long as theyre well separated from any female cannabis plants). Dried material from cannabis plants have also been used to produce terpene-rich oils that are applied to repel insects and pests as natural bug sprays.

Additionally, cannabis plants are deep rooting plants with long taproots. Taproots are known for their ability to dive deep into the ground and break apart low-quality soil, allowing for moisture and nutrients to infiltrate and improve the soil quality. These taproots also help keep the soil in place, thereby preventing nutrient runoff and loss of soil during heavy rains.

Humans are largely focused on female cannabis plants, and rightly so. But its important to acknowledge and cherish the characteristics of the male cannabis plants as well. Females may produce the buds we know and love, but by limiting diversity of the males, we could be losing out on potential benefits we do not yet understand. Specific males could have compounds we are unaware of that might play significant roles in how females develop, or how cannabis as a whole develops in the future.

If attempting to capitalize on any of the above benefits without the intent to breed, keep in mind that cannabis pollen is extremely good at traveling long distances, determined to find a female. It helps to have a solid understanding of how pollen works and travels before you embark on any of these alternative uses so as not to accidentally pollinate your own plants or a neighbors.

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4 Ways to Make Use of Male Cannabis Plants – Leafly

LSU needed a tiger; Harvey needed a home: Officials say new Mike VII a great choice for mascot – The Advocate

Mike VIIs official welcome was rained out Tuesday, which allowed LSU to discuss how the new live mascot underscores the need to protect the endangered predator in the wild and to improve the plight of privately owned tigers in this country.

We now have a new mission and that mission is to play a role in conservation, LSU President F. King Alexander told reporters who gathered for the official welcome. The schools welcome party will be rescheduled for Wednesday or Thursday.

Were going to utilize our research expertise and our educational mission as an institution to perhaps save one of the worlds best known and most regal creatures on earth, Alexander said.

LSU officials have tacked towards conservation as some critics raised questions about the propriety of a public university housing a wild animal as a mascot. The number of tigers that are not in a zoo but owned as pets or as marketing tools or have been abandoned in facilities, far exceeds the number of cats in the wild.

This is a refuge tiger, one we have saved, Alexander said.

The tiger announced early Monday as LSUs new mascot, Mike VII, was something of child star

As a cub named Harvey, the new Mike the Tiger was used to make money by letting tourists feed and pet him for $100 a shot. When he grew too old and too large, the tiger ended up in a facility that lost its license. New owners were brought in by Florida authorities to upgrade the facility and find new homes for the tigers, lions, leopards and other cats.

He is here, Alexander said, as a tiger who was facing impending doom.

We wanted to find a tiger that wasnt wanted, could no longer be cared for and was in need of a permanent home, said Dr. David Baker, the LSU professor who serves as Mike the Tigers veterinarian.

Not seeing the video below? Click here.

He and Dr. Gordon Pirie, the veterinarian for the Baton Rouge Zoo, went to Florida to look at a tiger named Rocky. Almost as an aside, we were also shown a younger cub named Harvey. It was quickly apparent to me that Harvey had all the characteristics that we were looking for.

Baker wanted certain anatomical traits, such as a double stripe that makes the tiger look bold. But he also was interested in the beasts behavior.

Harvey was very confident, very interactive, very affectionate. He was up at the front of his little enclosure, which was little dirt lot, chuffing at us, which is a happy sound, greeting us, obviously wanting to play, Baker said.

Baker said laws and procedures are much more stringent now than when he searched for Mike VI in 2007. He received hundreds of unsolicited notices from people about tigers, including those from breeders who offered to provide a tiger to LSU. He didnt want to promote breeding of the tigers in captivity, so crossed off any that were purposely bred.

Instead, Baker said he relied on tiger sanctuaries as well as state and federal captive wildlife inspectors to point him towards possibles.

Mike VII will live alone, a situation some have criticized. But Baker says thats natural, particularly for males. In the wild the only time tigers come together are to mate and thats not in the cards for this animal.

Mike VII is not among the six subspecies whose genetics are being protected by conservationists, veterinarians and zoos. He will not be bred.

He is what is called a gray tiger, a mix. But he is fine for us, Baker said. I am certain he will do fine on his own.

Baker said Mike VII will be a very visible mascot, often in his yard, but for his own protection and well-being, he won’t be paraded around Tiger Stadium before games.

The LSU Senate faculty passed a resolution asking to add $1 to sports tickets to raise money for conservation efforts.

Alexander said he appreciates the faculty wanting to raise money, but he hasnt discussed the idea with them and right now hes not sure LSU would include a surcharge.

Right now, its a Pandoras box, Alexander said.

Before he was Mike VII, he was Harvey, a young tiger cub growing up at a Florida wildlife sa

Follow Mark Ballard on Twitter, @MarkBallardCnb.

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LSU needed a tiger; Harvey needed a home: Officials say new Mike VII a great choice for mascot – The Advocate

Two Genes May Dictate How Social, Friendly You Are – Laboratory Equipment

Whether you are a social butterfly or more of a shy homebody may at least in part be attributable to your genes.

A new study by researchers at the National University of Singapore reports that two specific genes play a role in young adults social skills and the number of close friends they have.

The study, published in Psychoneuroendocrinology focused on the CD38 gene and the CD157 gene sequence both of which regulate oxytocin, the human social hormone.

Oxytocin is involved with behaviors such as pair-bonding, mating and child-rearing. It is also linked with more complex emotions and traits like empathy, trust and generosity.

The NUS study included 1,300 Chinese participants living in Singapore. The researchers examined how the expression of CD38 and the sequence changes of CD517 related to the participants social skills.

Their social behaviors were evaluated through questionnaires that asked about participants ability to engage in social relationships, the quality of friendships they have and the value they place on those friendships.

The team found that a higher expression of the CD38 gene and the presence of differences in the CD157 gene sequence correlated with a participant having more close friends and better social skills.

According to study leader Richard Ebstein, professor with NUS Psychology, this study was unique because many other gene studies focus on just structural changes in gene sequences, and how that affects a particular characteristic or disease. But by studying gene expression, Ebstein and fellow researchers were able capture more information than simple structural studies.

The higher expression and changes in the genes accounted for 14 percent of the variance in social skills in the general population. Typically, less than two percent of findings in behavioral genetic association studies rely on genetic variations alone.

The researchers also noted that the results were even more profound in the male participants.

Male participants with the higher gene expressions displayed greater sociality such as preferring activities involving other people over being alone, better communication and empathy-related skills compared to the other participants. Meanwhile, participants with lower CD38 expression reported less social skills such as difficulty in reading between the lines or engaging less in social chitchat, and tend to have fewer friends, said Anne Chong, PhD graduate who conducted the research with Ebstein.

Moreover, while expressed genes can influence behaviors, our own experiences can influence the expression of genes in return. So, whether the genes are expressed to impact our behaviors or not, depend a lot on our social environments. For most people, being in healthy social environments such as having loving and supportive families, friends and colleagues would most likely lessen the effects from disadvantageous genes, added Chong.

Another interesting find the team reported was that a variation in the CD157 gene sequence, which was found to be more common in autism cases in a previous Japanese study, was also associated with the participants innate interest in socializing and building relationships.

Ebstein and Chong believe these results could be useful in developing future intervention therapies or targeted treatments that would help achieve desired results for individuals with special needs. For example, they note that treatments based on new drugs that mimic of enhance the functions of the CD38 and CD157 genes could be one potential approach.

The researchers are now conducting several behavioral economics and molecular genetics studies to investigate the impact of oxytocin on human traits like creativity and openness to exposure.

Originally posted here:
Two Genes May Dictate How Social, Friendly You Are – Laboratory Equipment

Genetic infertility: New method can help men with too many sex chromosomes have babies – International Business Times UK

Scientists have developed a new approach to overcome a major cause of genetic infertility sex chromosome disorders. Tested in mice, it has led to the birth of healthy offspring from previously infertile animals.

Our sex is determined by our sex chromosomes. Girls typically have two X chromosomes (XX) while boys have one X and one Y (XY). However, some individuals are born with an extra sex chromosome which can be problematic if they decide to have children.

“Abnormalities of sex chromosomes are the most common genetic cause of infertility and include conditions such as Turners syndrome, where a female has only one X chromosome (XO) and Klinefelter syndrome where a male has an extra X chromosome (XXY),” Joyce Harper, Professor of Human Genetics and Embryology at University College London, who was not involved with the research, explained.

It is estimated that about 1 in 500 boys are born with an extra X or Y which can disrupt the production of mature sperm and render them infertile.

In a study now published in the journal Science, researchers have shown that it may be possible to remove the extra sex chromosome to produce fertile offspring. Indeed, reprogramming cells carrying a third sex chromosome led to the loss of the extra chromosome in mice as well as in human cells.

The team took fragments of ear tissue from XXY and XYY mice and cultured them. They were then able to collect fibroblasts – connective tissue cells. Reprogramming these cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC), they observed that some lost the extra sex chromosome.

Next, the scientists used a chemical signal to allow these stem cells to specialise into sperm cells. Finally, their injected these stem cells into mice testes, and the animals were able to produce fertile live offspring.

Preliminary experiments were also conducted with the cells of men with Klinefelter syndrome, showing that reprogramming them into stem cells also led to the loss of the extra sex chromosome.

The hope is that this approach will one day be used to treat infertile men with Klinefelter syndrome (XXY) or Double Y syndrome (though infertility is less common in this case) to have children through assisted reproduction.

But these are still the very early days, and a lot more research will have to be conducted in the lab before it can be used as a fertility treatment.

“Our most pressing challenge, which is not possible at present, will be to succeed in converting human stem cells into sperm in a dish. Even if we succeeded in doing this, there would still be the question of whether they work in assisted reproduction. There will be questions about the clinical application but also legal and ethical questions,” senior author James Turner, Group Leader at the Francis Crick Institute, told IBTimes UK.

Although the mice born with the technique were healthy, there are concerns for the human children that would be born as a result.

“The use of iPSC to produce sperm and children is not applicable safely in human clinical. At present, it appears to be dangerous. The transplantation of the reprogrammed cells would indeed expose the patients to develop tumours called teratomas, although we are working on the development of human in vitro spermatogenesis which would avoid transplanting reprogrammed sperm cells into the men,” Herv Lejeune from the department of reproductive medicine at Lyon’s University Hospital (France), who was not involved in the study, said.

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Genetic infertility: New method can help men with too many sex chromosomes have babies – International Business Times UK

What Drives Female Athletes? Chromatography Investigates – Chromatography Today

The difference in sporting performance between elite men and women is clear to see in the times recorded in running events and the distances thrown in field events. Though both male and female records improve the differences between the times and distances stays reasonably constant, with a mean difference of around 10 percent across athletics events between the genders.

The differences are basically down to how man and women are built physiologically we are different. Genetics and hormones mean that generally, men can out run and jump women due to innate characteristics. But these differences are reduced when power is not the main factor and in some sports, the greater flexibility of the female body can be an advantage.

The hormone testosterone is thought to be responsible for many of the differences in athletic performance when power is needed. Testosterone is the male sex hormone and is secreted from the testicles of men and the ovaries of women. As well as promoting male sexual characteristics, it is responsible for the increased muscle and bone mass in men, and lower fat levels seen in men when compared to women. Generally, the levels of testosterone in males is around eight times higher than in females.

But while it is recognised that testosterone an androgen or male hormone is the main cause of increased athletic performance in male athletes, there has been little research to back the claim up. The lack of concrete data has caused problems for athletics when the issue of hyperandrogenism has been levelled as a cause for banning some female athletes from competing.

Doping with androgens in womens sport is also an issue. Of the almost 300 elite athletes who were serving bans at the end of 2016, 116 were women and 64 of those were for androgen abuse. But some women suffer from hyperandrogenism naturally, and previously athletes who suffer from hyperandrogenism have been banned from competing unless they reduce their hormone levels.

Research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine has addressed some of the issues of how testosterone affects sporting performance. The researchers compared over 2000 performances from the 2011 and 2013 World Athletic Championships with the androgen measurement in the athletes blood. Liquid chromatography was used to measure the androgen levels in serum, a technique discussed in the article, Accelerated Development of Quantitative Assays for Antibody Drug Conjugates.

They found that there was a correlation between testosterone levels and female performance. Hammer throwers, hurdlers and 400m runners had most benefit from high testosterone levels. The researchers suggest caution though, as the research doesnt provide causation. Higher testosterone levels give a leaner body mass, increased aggression and improved red blood cell production all factors that could be the driver behind better performance.

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What Drives Female Athletes? Chromatography Investigates – Chromatography Today

The laws of attraction: Pheromones don’t lie, fruit fly research suggests – Phys.Org

Female fruit flies’ pheremones reveal how much her body has invested its energy in producing eggs, changing her attractiveness as a potential mate, new research shows. Credit: University of Michigan

Life as a fruit fly seems pretty simple: Hatch, grow, eat some fruit, find a mate, produce hundreds of tiny offspring and dieall in a month or so.

But that part about finding a mateor matescan get pretty complicated, it turns out. The process revolves around pheromones, chemicals the body releases that others can smell or sense.

Whether you’re a fruit fly or a human, pheromones affect how attractive someone finds you, and how likely you are to find a mate.

Now, for the first time, scientists have shown that a female fruit fly’s pheromone signals can actually tell males how much energy her body has invested in egg production versus in storing away energy for her own survival.

And it’s a signal that she can’t change in order to make herself more attractive.

The more energy she invests in eggs, the more attractive her body’s pheromones will be, and the more likely she is to mate, says Scott Pletcher, Ph.D., a professor of physiology at the University of Michigan.

What makes individuals attractive and why do we have the preferences that we do? These findings made in flies may tell us more about how other speciesincluding, perhaps, usproduce and use attractive traits as part of mate selection.

The key role of insulin signals

Pletcher and his postdoctoral fellow Tatiana Fedina, Ph.D., worked with researchers from Canada and the University of Washington on the new discovery, which is published in PLoS Genetics.

Although the pheromonal blend remains a mystery, the team did show that pheromones, attractiveness and mating prospects of females differed greatly depending on their body’s insulin signaling, which indicates how the body is using food for egg production or energy storage.

In other words, when a male fruit fly catches a whiff of especially alluring pheromones from a female, he’s actually sensing a signal that her ovaries are producing plenty of eggs for him to fertilize. And that makes her more attractive as a potential mate.

Of course, the males have to be able to detect these signals at all. They also have to know how to tell the more egg-focused females from those whose pheromones indicate less egg production.

The researchers had previously shown that males were capable of making this distinction, and that those males that were the most attuned to females’ pheromones signals were more likely to reproduce.

“This adds to the growing evidence that natural selection has led to perceptive systems that are highly tuned to evaluate aspects of individual fitness,” says Fedina.

From insects to us

Researchers study fruit flies because it’s easy to change their DNA or signaling pathways and see what happens to, for instance, their mating patterns.

And, researchers say, because insulin signaling is the same across most animal speciesincluding humans, new findings may have implications for our understanding of mating and reproduction in many organisms.

“We show that even simple animals have evolved the capability of sensing molecular activities that determine reproduction and aging across many species. These cues may have evolved to influence attractiveness because they accurately predict mate fitness,” Pletcher says.

Taking pheromones out of the equation

Pletcher and his colleagues, including Zachary Harvanek, a student in U-M’s combined M.D./Ph.D. program, published another fruit fly paper earlier this year. They examined what happened when male fruit flies were altered so they couldn’t detect female pheromones, or when females around them did not give off pheromones.

These males lived longer and stored fat for their own survival better than those who could sense pheromones or were raised with pheromone-releasing females.

It was the perception of pheromones alonenot mating itselfthat cost the “normal” males the most, researchers found. But if they successfully mated, that energy cost was largely made up for by repairs to the system that the pheromones harmed, and the males lived longer than those who didn’t mate.

A ‘misguided’ theory

“For a long time, evolutionary biologists and public health officials have wondered why individuals and species that reproduce a lot live shorter lives, and the relationship was thought to be necessarily based on energy, in terms of the amount of food that can go to yourself or to making babies,” says Pletcher. “But our research is suggesting that the supposed link between reproduction and aging is misguided, and that aging may have to do more with expecting a lot of mating but not getting it.”

He adds that no mechanism has ever been found in humans for the supposed life-shortening effect of having large numbers of children. The idea that giving energy to an offspring through pregnancy takes away energy needed for a long life needs revisiting, he suggests, because it’s likely simplistic and outdated.

“In the fruit flies, the neural circuits that drive aging are different from the ones that drive reproduction, and those circuits are present in our own brains too,” he says. “We should be looking at these circuits more closely to see what they’re influencing, including cues that may be influencing our social evaluations of one another but that we don’t understand yet. We need to see if there’s a single underlying cause for many forms of attractiveness cues.”

Explore further: Muscles can ‘ask’ for the energy they need

More information: Fedina TY, Arbuthnott D, Rundle HD, Promislow DEL, Pletcher SD (2017) Tissue-specific insulin signaling mediates female sexual attractiveness. PLoS Genet 13(8): e1006935. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1006935

Journal reference: PLoS Genetics

Provided by: University of Michigan

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The laws of attraction: Pheromones don’t lie, fruit fly research suggests – Phys.Org

Men, Listen Up: Women Like The Smell Of Guys Who Eat A Certain Diet – NPR

Your diet can influence your appearance. You knew that. But did you know that what you eat can also affect your body odor and your attractiveness to the opposite sex? Lilli Carr for NPR hide caption

Your diet can influence your appearance. You knew that. But did you know that what you eat can also affect your body odor and your attractiveness to the opposite sex?

What we eat can influence more than our waistlines. It turns out, our diets also help determine what we smell like.

A recent study found that women preferred the body odor of men who ate a lot of fruits and vegetables, whereas men who ate a lot of refined carbohydrates (think bread, pasta) gave off a smell that was less appealing.

Skeptical? At first, I was, too. I thought this line of inquiry must have been dreamed up by the produce industry. (Makes a good marketing campaign, right?)

But it’s legit. “We’ve known for a while that odor is an important component of attractiveness, especially for women,” says Ian Stephen of Macquarie University in Australia. He studies evolution, genetics and psychology and is an author of the study.

From an evolutionary perspective, scientists say our sweat can help signal our health status and could possibly play a role in helping to attract a mate.

How did scientists evaluate the link between diet and the attractiveness of body odor?

They began by recruiting a bunch of healthy, young men. They assessed the men’s skin using an instrument called a spectrophotometer. When people eat a lot of colorful veggies, their skin takes on the hue of carotenoids, the plant pigments that are responsible for bright red, yellow and orange foods.

“The carotenoids get deposited in our skin,” explains Stephen. The spectrophotometer “flashes a light onto your skin and measures the color reflected back,” says Stephen. The results are “a good indicator of how much fruits and vegetables we’re eating,” he says.

Stephen and his colleagues also had the men in the study complete food frequency questionnaires so they could determine the men’s overall patterns of eating. Then the men were given clean T-shirts and asked to do some exercise.

Afterward, women in the study were asked to sniff the sweat. (Note: The methodology was much more scientific and precise than my breezy explanation, but you get the picture.) “We asked the women to rate how much they liked it, how floral, how fruity,” and a bunch of other descriptors, explains Stephen.

It’s a small study, but the results were pretty consistent. “Women basically found that men who ate more vegetables smelled nicer,” Stephen told us.

Men who ate a lot of meat did not produce a sweat that was any more or less attractive to women. But meat did tend to make men’s odor more intense.

“This is not the first study to show that diet influences body odor,” says George Preti, an adjunct professor in the dermatology department at the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia.

A study published in 2006 found that women preferred the odor of men who ate a non-meat diet, “characterized by increased intakes of eggs, cheese, soy, fruit and vegetables.”

But Preti points out that the relationship between diet and body odor is indirect.

Some people think if they eat a garlic or onion or a piece of meat they will smell like that food. “But that’s not what happens,” Preti says. Your breath might smell like the food you eat, but not your sweat.

Body odor is created when the bacteria on our skin metabolize the compounds that come out of our sweat glands.

“The sweat doesn’t come out smelly,” Preti explains. “It must be metabolized by the bacteria that live on the surface of the skin.”

Now, of course, at a time when good hygiene and deodorant use are commonplace, is the smell of our sweat a big concern?

I put that question to the happy hour crowd at a bar down the street from the NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C.

“I’m pretty OK with my smell,” Stefan Ruffini told me. That evening he was ordering a burger on a bun and a side of fries, along with a beer. When I told him about the findings of the study, he laughed it off.

“I’ve got a girlfriend, so I don’t worry about these things,” he said.

The study did not assess diet and odor attractiveness among same-sex couples.

“As a lesbian, I haven’t smelled a man in several years,” Stacy Carroll, who was also at happy hour, told me. “I eat a lot of produce, I have a girlfriend, so it’s working out.”

Carroll says people who eat a lot of fruits and vegetables are more likely to be interested in their health “feeling good, looking fit” than their smell.

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Men, Listen Up: Women Like The Smell Of Guys Who Eat A Certain Diet – NPR

When mama’s not happy, nobody’s happy – The Capital Journal

Nurture versus nature is a question often bandied about. Is it the environment in which the child is raised, or is it the genetics provided by the biological parents, that most influences what kind of person a child will grow to be?

We have known for a long time that if a parent is depressed, their children are at higher risk for having anxiety, depression, and disruptive behavior. Indeed, the offspring of depressed parents have up to a three-times higher risk of these problems when compared to the children of parents who are not depressed. So, is it because of the environment; or is it genetics?

Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association brings us closer to an answer. It is important to note that the study consisted primarily of mothers with depression, as they are far more likely to report symptoms and come in for treatment than fathers with depression. However, researchers believe that their discovery applies to whichever parent has depression, regardless of whether they are male or female. The results were fascinating: effective treatment of the mother lead to resolution of psychiatric problems in the child.

Study author Myrna Weissman, professor of psychiatry and epidemiology at Columbia University, said while depression may be a genetic disorder, [this study showed that] a parents illness has a very strong environmental

effect on her child. In other words, when mamas not happy, nobodys happy. Weissman also pointed out if you have a depressed mother, you ought to do everything you can to get her better, because theres a double effect that will impact their children.

I think the message from this research is very powerful, and should be taken to heart by any mother or father. If you as a parent are having psychological trouble, get help and your child will be better for it. If you wont do it for yourself, do it for your kids.”

(Holm is a physician specializing in internal medicine at the Avera Health clinic in Brookings.)

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When mama’s not happy, nobody’s happy – The Capital Journal

Friday Night Inc. Announces Dr. Torres Advisor and Genetics Update – Yahoo News

VANCOUVER, BC / ACCESSWIRE / August 11, 2017 / Friday Night Inc. (Friday Night) (CSE:TGIF) (1QF.F) (OTC PINK: VPGDF) is pleased to announce that the Company has appointed Dr. Anthony R. Torres, MD to its board of advisors and would also like to provide an update on the genetics breeding program at the Company’s 91% owned subsidiary, Alternative Medicine Association, LC. (AMA).

NEW GENETIC STRAIN

Over the past several months, AMA has been cross breeding existing strains in hopes of creating an improved cannabis product. This time consuming and laborious process has resulted in a new product offering that only AMA will be able to provide.

One of AMA’s favorite prototype plants from the genetics program is a strain they have created and named ”Naughty Cookies”. Over the last year and thousands of test plants later, AMA created the new strain by crossing the high-THC and popular ‘Girl Scout Cookies’ strain with the high-yielding ‘Juggernaut’ male. The buds are very frosty, aesthetically pleasing and dense with light purple coloration.

This week AMA received the test results for the first lot. The cannabinoid content was higher than any strain AMA had seen in the last 3 years, and the THC content came back as 34.9%. Most fortunately, AMA had the foresight to cultivate over 70 of these plants in anticipation of great results. These will be flowered during the next growing cycle and so far are yielding over 2 pounds per light of dried flower.

The creator of this strain and Director of Operations, Mr. Ben Horner said, ”This gives us a competitive edge in a market which we now control. When new cultivators come on board, we will be the only producer with this strain. I feel it will inevitably become a favorite in Las Vegas.”

NEW ADVISOR TO THE COMPANY

Anthony R. Torres, M.D. with training at the National Institutes of Health, Yale University School of Medicine and the University of Utah, has considerable experience in the separation sciences of biological molecules. Anthony is widely published and has made a career not only in university research, but also in the biotechnology field including protein enrichment and advance separation processes. He is an inventor and owns several patents in the field. He is not new to the world of start-up companies and continues to be a pioneer in biotechnology. He also brings a deep understanding of the cannabis plant and its molecular structure.

Dr. Torres commented, ”I am very interested in applying traditional laboratory processes to the rapidly developing field of molecular cannabis. I believe that there are many positive applications for the natural benefits of this plant in modern medicine and that it has the potential to help hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions of people.”

About Friday Night Inc.

Friday Night Inc. is a Canadian public company, which owns and controls cannabis and hemp based assets in Las Vegas Nevada. The company owns 91% of Alternative Medicine Association, LC (AMA), a licensed medical and adult-use cannabis cultivation and production facility that produces its own line of unique cannabis-based products and manufactures other third-party brands. Infused MFG, also a 91% owned subsidiary, produces hemp-based, CBD products, thoughtfully crafted of high quality organic botanical ingredients. Friday Night Inc. is focused on strengthening and expanding these operations within and outside of the state.

For further information please contact:Joe Bleackley, Corporate Communications604-674-4756Joe@FridayNightInc.com

Notice regarding Forward Looking Statements: This news release contains forward-looking statements. The use of any of the words ”anticipate,” ”continue,” ”estimate,” ”expect,” ”may,” ”will,” ”project,” ”should,” ”believe,” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Although the Company believes that the expectations and assumptions on which the forward-looking statements are based are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on the forward-looking statements because the Company can give no assurance that they will prove to be correct. This news release includes forward-looking statements with respect to the entering into a definitive agreement, the future exercise of the option regarding the vape lounge and the regulatory environment in Canada. Since forward-looking statements address future events and conditions, by their very nature they involve inherent risks and uncertainties. These statements speak only as of the date of this news release. Actual results could differ materially from those currently anticipated due to a number of factors and risks including failure to enter into a definitive agreement, inability to attract new customers in Nevada as a result of the license, the inability of the Company to take advantage of the license arrangement and various risk factors discussed in the Company’s disclosure documents, which can be found under the Company’s profile on http://www.sedar.com. Friday Night undertakes no obligation to update publicly or revise any forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law or the Canadian Securities Exchange.

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SOURCE: Friday Night Inc.

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Friday Night Inc. Announces Dr. Torres Advisor and Genetics Update – Yahoo News

Let’s talk about male infertility – Toronto Star

(Infertility) can be a very painful thing for a lot of people and it was for us, Herbert says. But our pain was short-lived . We were very lucky.

Thats because couples can go through numerous IVF cycles and never have a baby.

The meta-analysis didnt examine the cause for the decline, but the authors say the fact that its occurring in the West suggests chemicals used in commercial products play a role. They warn the decline has implications beyond fertility and reproduction, saying it may be a canary in the coal mine for male health across the lifespan.

In the industrialized world were seeing a very definite and clear decline in sperm counts, in quality, even among fertile men, and as the world becomes more toxic, the effect will be greater, says Dr. Art Leader of The Ottawa Fertility Centre and a board member of Conceivable Dreams, an Ontario-based infertility patient advocacy group.

I think as well as The Handmaids Tale were going to have a sequel to it called The Manservants Tale.

Although men cant change the burden of global pollution there are things they can do to optimize fertility, says the professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine at the University of Ottawa.

He suggests minimizing alcohol, smoking and exposure to smoke, increasing exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, eating organic foods, taking an adequate dose of Vitamin D and not using anabolic steroids. And be mindful of endocrine disruptors, which are chemicals found in everyday products that interfere with the bodys naturally occurring hormones. Examples include bisphenol A (BPA), dioxins, phthalates and fire retardants.

Even medications used by men to stop hair loss finasteride and minoxidil have been shown to lower sperm counts. But once men stop taking these drugs, sperm counts bounce back.

Men should also be wary of reproductive hazards on the job, says Leader. For instance, bakers and chefs who work in hot places; mechanics and industrial workers who handle the metal degreaser Trichloroethylene (TCE), and farmers who work with herbicides and pesticides may be at risk.

If someone is really concerned, they can freeze their sperm before age 40, says Leader, noting: Men have a best-before date of 40.

For Herbert, learning in 2014 that he had a low sperm count was a difficult blow. The normal range is 15 million to 200 million sperm per millilitre of semen he had about one million.

But infertility wasnt something he felt comfortable talking about with his buddies.

There is a taboo attached, he says. Whats the stigma? That youre shooting blanks. It just doesnt feel manly. This is the one thing that should be easy for us to do.

We go through so much of our life trying not to get somebody pregnant … And then you get to this stage and its like, What? I need help? Its not working? I dont have enough?

In hindsight, Herbert says, it would have been a lot more helpful for me to talk about it. But he didnt, except with his wife, who happens to be a psychotherapist.

Jan Silverman, a fertility counsellor who also works at Create Fertility Centre in Toronto, says men dont easily open up about infertility. But when given the chance they will.

We get all kinds of guys coming out with sperm issues, says Silverman, who runs an infertility support group. Wives will say Oh, hell never talk. And you get them in the room, with a couple of other guys there, and before you know it they are talking.

Often what surfaces are feelings of shame, embarrassment and sexual inadequacy. And theres guilt because even though theyre infertile, its their female partners who undergo the invasive and uncomfortable fertility treatments.Ill never forget having this huge police officer a six-foot-five, big, burly guy who found he had a sperm count of zero. He sat in my office weeping, asking Me?

That was so poignant and telling because you never know. Thats the interesting thing about sperm. Just because you ejaculate you dont know whats in there. So for men, there is such a sense of shock.

Even popular culture is tackling the topic. Recently on the HBO hit Ballers, the main character Spencer Strasmore, a retired football player portrayed by Dwayne The Rock Johnson, is worried he may not have swimmers and seeks a referral to a fertility specialist. Its still unclear how that storyline will unfold because moments before he goes into a collection room to ejaculate, he gets called away for work.

Dr. Keith Jarvi, director of the Murray Koffler Urologic Wellness Centre and Head of Urology at the Mount Sinai Hospital, says a sperm test should be the first thing a couple undergoes as part of fertility testing.

Its not any statement about your manhood, says Jarvi, who heads the biggest centre in Canada for male infertility. The frequency with having a lower sperm count is not uncommon.

The test checks to see if there is sperm, how much of it there is, how it moves and if it appears healthy and normal. The test is covered by OHIP, relatively easy to do and may spare the female partner from undergoing treatments.

Guys are often ignored, says Jarvi. But if you ignore the guy you might not find a fertility problem that could be fixed.

Sometimes the fix is simple. Avoiding regular exposure to heat, such as hot baths and saunas, wearing looser underwear and keeping the genital area cool have all been shown to help.

Theres a whole series of new techniques and new treatments that we can now offer men that we couldnt offer them 15 years ago, he says. Were now taking on more and more patients who we thought before had no hope.

For the Herberts, fertility doctors suggested a type of IVF called Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection, which is commonly used to treat severe male factor infertility. Its a laboratory process involving eggs extracted from the female, and semen retrieved from the man. An embryologist takes a single healthy sperm and injects it into the egg to create an embryo that is then transferred to the uterus.

Herbert and his wife also made lifestyle changes. He started taking vitamins, improved his diet, stopped doing hot yoga, started acupuncture and eliminated soaps, shampoos, deodorants, toothpaste and household products with potentially harmful chemicals.

In total, they spent about $30,000 during that first IVF attempt.

Once we said, Were going for this, then we were all in, says Herbert.

But it wasnt enough. In November 2015 they were devastated to learn that first cycle of IVF didnt work. They tried again in 2016. By then the Ontario Fertility Program was up and running and they were eligible for provincial funding, which cut their costs by half. The procedure is covered, but not the drugs. Conceivable Dreams, where Herbert is a member, is trying to persuade insurance companies to add the drug cost to their standard plans.

About 8,200 patients have received government funded IVF treatments since it was introduced in December 2015, says the health ministry. There is a database tracking how many funded IVF cycles are the result of male infertility, but the figures are not yet available.

Doctors warned that IVF was a crap shoot, but the Herberts hit the jackpot on their second attempt.

If it had been unsuccessful, I wouldve spent the rest of my life having to carry that: We spent our lives childless because of me. Thats pretty intense.

But then Ori came along. Herbert now looks forward to a life filled with discovering the joys of fatherhood: Playing with her, teaching her to walk, speaking with her.

Shes like a book that Im anxious to read.

Protecting your Sperm

Source: Environmental Working Group

Originally posted here:
Let’s talk about male infertility – Toronto Star

FRIDAY NIGHT INC. ANNOUNCES DR. TORRES ADVISOR AND GENETICS UPDATE – Stockhouse

VANCOUVER, B.C., CANADA (August 11th, 2017) Friday Night Inc. (Friday Night) (CSE: TGIF) (FWB: 1QF) (OTC: VPGDF) is pleased to announce that the Company has appointed Dr. Anthony R. Torres, MD to its board of advisors and would also like to provide an update on the genetics breeding program at the Companys 91% owned subsidiary, Alternative Medicine Association, LC. (AMA).

NEW GENETIC STRAIN

Over the past several months, AMA has been cross breeding existing strains in hopes of creating an improved cannabis product. This time consuming and laborious process has resulted in a new product offering that only AMA will be able to provide.

One of AMAs favorite prototype plants from the genetics program is a strain they have created and named Naughty Cookies. Over the last year and thousands of test plants later, AMA created the new strain by crossing the high-THC and popular Girl Scout Cookies strain with the high-yielding Juggernaut male. The buds are very frosty, aesthetically pleasing and dense with light purple coloration.

This week AMA received the test results for the first lot. The cannabinoid content was higher than any strain AMA had seen in the last 3 years, and the THC content came back as 34.9%. Most fortunately, AMA had the foresight to cultivate over 70 of these plants in anticipation of great results. These will be flowered during the next growing cycle and so far are yielding over 2 pounds per light of dried flower.

The creator of this strain and Director of Operations, Mr. Ben Horner said, This gives us a competitive edge in a market which we now control. When new cultivators come on board, we will be the only producer with this strain. I feel it will inevitably become a favorite in Las Vegas.

NEW ADVISOR TO THE COMPANY

Anthony R. Torres, M.D. with training at the National Institutes of Health, Yale University School of Medicine and the University of Utah, has considerable experience in the separation sciences of biological molecules. Anthony is widely published and has made a career not only in university research, but also in the biotechnology field including protein enrichment and advance separation processes. He is an inventor and owns several patents in the field. He is not new to the world of start-up companies and continues to be a pioneer in biotechnology. He also brings a deep understanding of the cannabis plant and its molecular structure.

Dr. Torres commented, I am very interested in applying traditional laboratory processes to the rapidly developing field of molecular cannabis. I believe that there are many positive applications for the natural benefits of this plant in modern medicine and that it has the potential to help hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions of people.

About Friday Night Inc.

Friday Night Inc. is a Canadian public company, which owns and controls cannabis and hemp based assets in Las Vegas Nevada. The company owns 91% of Alternative Medicine Association, LC (AMA), a licensed medical and adult-use cannabis cultivation and production facility that produces its own line of unique cannabis-based products and manufactures other third-party brands. Infused MFG, also a 91% owned subsidiary, produces hemp-based, CBD products, thoughtfully crafted of high quality organic botanical ingredients. Friday Night Inc. is focused on strengthening and expanding these operations within and outside of the state.

For further information please contact:

Joe Bleackley, Corporate Communications604-674-4756Joe@FridayNightInc.comNotice regarding Forward Looking Statements: This news release contains forward-looking statements. The use of any of the words “anticipate”, “continue”, “estimate”, “expect”, “may”, “will”, “project”, “should”, “believe” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Although the Company believes that the expectations and assumptions on which the forward-looking statements are based are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on the forward-looking statements because the Company can give no assurance that they will prove to be correct. This news release includes forward-looking statements with respect to the entering into a definitive agreement, the future exercise of the option regarding the vape lounge and the regulatory environment in Canada. Since forward-looking statements address future events and conditions, by their very nature they involve inherent risks and uncertainties. These statements speak only as of the date of this news release. Actual results could differ materially from those currently anticipated due to a number of factors and risks including failure to enter into a definitive agreement, inability to attract new customers in Nevada as a result of the license, the inability of the Company to take advantage of the license arrangement and various risk factors discussed in the Company’s disclosure documents, which can be found under the Company’s profile on http://www.sedar.com. Friday Night undertakes no obligation to update publicly or revise any forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law or the Canadian Securities Exchange

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FRIDAY NIGHT INC. ANNOUNCES DR. TORRES ADVISOR AND GENETICS UPDATE – Stockhouse

A Google employee was fired after blaming biology for tech’s gender gap but the science shows he’s wrong – Yahoo Finance

A Google engineer has been fired after writing a memo asserting that biological differences between men and women are responsible for the tech industrys gender gap.

We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism, James Damore wrote in the manifesto, which was first reported by Vices Motherboard and later released in full by Gizmodo.

The 10-page document criticizesGoogle initiatives aimed at increasing gender and racial diversity, and argues that Google should focus more on “ideological diversity” to make conservatives more comfortable in the companys work environment.

In response, Google CEO Sundar Pichai cut his vacation short and wrote a memo criticizing Damores manifesto for advancing harmful gender stereotypes. “To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK,” Pichai wrote.

Experts have been quick to cite numerous scientific meta-analyses of differences between the sexes, most of which suggest that men and women are alike in terms of personality and cognitive ability. Here are the specific claims Damore made in his manifesto, and the real science behind them.

Although some differences between men and women have been observed by scientists, they are mostly physical ones. Current research generally does not find evidence that variations in preferences, psychology, or personality stem from genetic or biological factors. Rather, theyre primarily attributed to culture and socialization.

In his manifesto, however, Damore suggested the gender differences he lists do have biological components. One justification he gives for this belief is that the differences he mentions are what we would predict from an evolutionary psychology perspective and are universal across human cultures.

Angela Merkel Ivanka Trump

(German Chancellor Angela Merkel listens as Ivanka Trump speaks during a meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, Friday, March 17, 2017.AP Photo/Evan Vucci) Damore didnt cite any sources to back up hisreasoning. However, a 2001 analysis of responses to a prominent personality inventory test found that contrary to predictions from evolutionary theory, the magnitude of gender differences varied across cultures a direct contradiction to his argument.

One of the main biological differences between men and women, according to Damore, is that women are more open to feelings and have a stronger interest in people rather than things.

He went on to suggest: These two differences in part explain why women relatively prefer jobs in social or artistic areas. More men may like coding because it requires systemizing.

Throughout his memo, Damore linked to many Wikipedia pages as justification for his claims but neither news media organizations nor scientists accept Wikipedia as a credible source of information, especially when used in policy recommendations.

To back up the people over things hypothesis, Damore cited a study published in the journal Social and Personality Psychology Compass in 2010; however, that work never suggests that the gender differences it lists have a proven biological basis.

In fact, the study says the opposite: Although most biologic scientists accept that sexual selection has led to sex differences in physical traits such as height, musculature, and fat distributions, many social scientists are skeptical about the role of sexual selection in generating psychological gender differences.

A 2000 review of at 10 studies related to gender differences in empathy also suggests men and women dont have innate differences in this area. The researchers found that such distinctions were only present in situations where the subjects were aware that they are being evaluated on an empathy-relevant dimension or in which empathy-relevant gender-role expectations or obligations are made salient. In other words, differences had to do with how people responded to expectations of them, not any inherent abilities.

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Daenerys Targaryen Tyrion Lannister Game of Thrones Helen Sloan

(Helen Sloan/HBO)

Adam Grant, a professor at University of Pennsylvanias Wharton School, has also highlighted the fact that differences between men and womens professional preferences are not genetically determined.

The data on occupational interests do reveal strong male preferences for working with things and strong female preferences for working with people, Grant wrote in a LinkedIn essay responding to Damores claims. But they also reveal that men and women are equally interested in working with data.

In the memo, Damore suggested that women are biologically prone to express their extraversion as gregariousness instead of assertiveness, and to be more agreeable than men.

That difference, he claims, leads to women generally having a harder time negotiating salary, asking for raises, speaking up, and leading.

Again, Damore didnt cite any evidence for this part of his argument. A 2005 analysis of 46 meta-analyses of gender differences suggests its false.

According to the American Psychological Association, one experiment in that analysis involved participants who were told that they would not be identified as male or female. Under those conditions, none conformed to stereotypes about their sex when given the chance to be aggressive. The researchers found the opposite to be true, in fact: women were more aggressive and men were more passive, they wrote.

And a meta-analysis of leadership effectiveness published in 2014 suggests that when it comes to others evaluations of leaders (as opposed to the leaders own perception), women are rated as significantly more effective than men. When looking at self-ratings, however, men rate themselves as significantly more effective than women rate themselves.

That suggests that context and learned expectations are responsible for some observed gender disparities.

Damore also suggested that women are biologically prone to feel higher levels of stress and anxiety, and posited that difference might contribute to the lower number of women in high stress jobs.

The only source he gave for this information is Wikipedia. However, the misconception might have stemmed from analyses of the Revised NEO Personality inventory (the prominent personality test mentioned above).

On the test, according to a2001 secondary analysis, women reported themselves to be higher in neuroticism. But those responses are based purely on self-perception (which is heavily influenced by social and cultural factors) so itd be problematic to consider that a biological difference.

ron swanson and leslie knope parks and rec

(NBCUniversal)

Women on average look for more work-life balance while men have a higher drive for status on average, Damore wrote.

As evidence for this, he cited a 2006 paper published in the British Journal of Guidance and Counseling.

That article highlights the fact that more women value a balance between their professional and home lives than men. It also suggests that men are more likely to make their careers their first priority. However, nowhere does that paper suggest that these preferences come from biological or evolutionary differences between the sexes.

In fact, it makes this caveat: They are differences of degree, with large overlaps between men and women. They are not fundamental qualitative differences, as often argued in the past in order to entirely exclude women from male occupations such as management, the military and the professions.

Damore does make a couple of valid points about the gender expectations of men, and the way these might contribute to the tech industrys gender gap.

He suggested that because men are often judged based on their status in the professional world, that pushes many men into these higher paying, less satisfying jobs for the status that they entail.

Furthermore, Damore noted that men are still very much tied to the male gender role, and wrote that allowing men to express traits or pursue goals that are traditionally thought of as feminine would help alleviate some of the gender-gap problems.

Although he doesnt cite any sources for these claims either, it seems logical that gender expectations and stereotypes are partially responsible for the types of roles men seek out in the workplace.

Sundar Pichai Google event Pixel 2016

(Reuters/Beck Diefenbach) Pichai also acknowledged the validity of Damores complaints about perceived intolerance of conservative viewpoints among Googles employees.

There are co-workers who are questioning whether they can safely express their views in the workplace (especially those with a minority viewpoint), the CEO wrote in his statement. They too feel under threat, and that is also not OK.

Damores views, however, were not the reason he was fired rather, it was because portions of his manifesto violated Googles code of conduct.

According to Reuters, Damore is now pursuing legal action against Google, though labor law experts suggest his case could be an uphill battle.

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A Google employee was fired after blaming biology for tech’s gender gap but the science shows he’s wrong – Yahoo Finance

Google has fired the engineer whose anti-diversity memo reflects a divided tech culture – Vox

Google has fired the employee who authored a controversial 10-page memo arguing for less emphasis on gender diversity in the workplace, reports Bloomberg. The document was first posted to an internal company forum on Friday, August 4, and immediately went viral among Google employees; it was then leaked to the media over the weekend, setting off a firestorm of outrage and debate while highlighting the companys ongoing struggles to meaningfully diversify its workforce.

Titled Googles Ideological Echo Chamber, the memo argues that the reason women are underrepresented in the tech industry has to do with “biological causes” between men and women. Its author, James Damore, was a senior software engineer at Google (a mid-level position at the company); Damore, who holds a doctorate in systems biology from Harvard and had worked at Google since 2013, has confirmed to multiple outlets that he was terminated for perpetuating gender stereotypes.

Damores memo specifically criticizes the company for its ongoing diversity and inclusion initiatives, which include encouraging its employees to take classes in unconscious bias. He uses primarily stereotyped misconceptions about men and women to argue that gender gaps [do not always] imply sexism, and declares that discriminating just to increase the representation of women in tech is misguided and biased as well as unfair, divisive, and bad for business.

Notably, the memo complicates an already unflattering moment for Google: The company has pledged to improve its recently updated internal diversity metrics which paint an unsympathetic picture of yet another tech company whose employees are predominantly white and male while also facing wage discrimination scrutiny from the US Department of Labor for systematically underpaying its female employees.

Reactions from Google employees and the public at large have been wide-ranging. Many people are utterly appalled, and have expressed outrage not only over the memos dangerous anti-diversity sentiments and faulty logic, but the fact that Damore felt confident posting such a screed to an internal forum for all of his colleagues to see. He even used his own name, which was quickly leaked to the press.

But Damores memo has also generated some support from both inside and outside the company and thus has kicked off a larger discussion about how far free speech should go in workplace environments. Its also highlighted Googles lack of gender parity and the tech industrys ongoing problems with fostering safe spaces for women.

In Damores memo, he states that women are more neurotic and have a lower stress tolerance than men, and that these characteristics not systemic harassment, routinely being passed over for promotions, or other well-documented instances of sexism in tech culture are the reason why women do not succeed as often as men do in the high-pressure industry.

He also argues that men have a higher drive for status than women, and suggests that this factor, rather than well-documented gender biases in the workplace, may be responsible for the lack of women in leadership positions both at Google and in the tech industry as a whole.

Finally, Damore calls for Google to De-empathize empathy, arguing that being emotionally unengaged [with the issue of diversity] helps us better reason about the facts. He decries political correctness, discounting the very concept of unconscious bias and arguing against unconscious bias training for Google employees.

Damore generally attempts to support his arguments by citing individual research papers about two pernicious approaches to classifying human ability: biological essentialism and biological determinism.

Biological essentialism is the belief that people of different genders, race, and sexual orientation are all innately, essentially different due to a set of nebulous predetermined biological factors. Along with all other kinds of essentialist thinking, the scientific establishment routinely warns against biological essentialism as fundamentally unscientific.

Biological essentialism the idea that men and women are programmed to desire certain things has been largely discredited, the Guardian noted last year. Tristan Bridges, a sociology professor at the College at Brockport State University of New York, told the Guardian that this is because [biological essentialism] relies on stereotypes of early humans, and the adaptive problems they faced that are historically inaccurate and fail to account for much of what we know about how early humans lived.

Instead, many scientists agree that stereotypes about how men and women are supposed to act, reinforced by social structures, is a major factor in how people act. Through a rather constructivist approach most studies show that no scientific experiment has proved the existence of systematic and/or significant biological sex differences in most cognitive functions, notes a 2010 Stanford research paper examining stereotypes and gender identity.

Biological determinism is the belief that hereditary genetics determine most factors about individuals. This belief led to the appalling eugenics experiments of the early 20th century, and in the decades since it has been thoroughly debunked by the mainstream scientific establishment.

Scientists have been issuing warnings for nearly two decades that biological essentialism and determinism, with their implied justifications for racism and homophobia, are creeping back into scientific theory. The limitations of womens brains are on the front line in this battle of ideas, wrote a team of researchers in 2005, in response to a piece of gender essentialism which argued that the male brain is the systematizing brain, while the females is the empathizing brain.

Writing for the Guardian in response to Damores memo, Angela Saini, the author of Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong, offered a good summary of why this view of gender is fundamentally flawed. She notes that at this point in the development of neuropsychology, its well-established that differences in individual neurology have virtually nothing to do with gender.

There isnt a neuroscientist alive who can say with confidence which sex any given brain belongs to, she writes. She also explains that Damores use of individual scientific articles to support his arguments is misguided, because science as a whole relies on scientific consensus rather than individual findings in individual papers and scientific consensus does not support Damores biological essentialism or determinism.

Instead, longstanding scientific consensus holds that the way humans develop is fundamentally more complicated than a simple matter of nature versus nurture. But people who believe in essentialism and determinism frequently challenge this view, often in an attempt to lend scientific credence to bigoted belief systems.

Unsurprisingly, the memo has been met with plenty of anger and concern. Many people whove discussed it publicly or in conversations that have since been leaked to the press seem to agree that its arguments are faulty and dangerous. Furthermore, many Google employees find it particularly troubling that Damore felt empowered to widely share such harmful views of gender on the companys internal employee forum.

One engineer reportedly wrote that the memo had caused irreparable harm to 1000s of Googlers, and that going forward, I cannot and I will not work with James Damore. He went on to detail the ways in which he would not engage with or interact with Damore, his code, or his product development.

On Saturday, Danielle Brown, Google’s recently appointed vice president of diversity, responded to Damores memo and the backlash it generated via an internal memo to employees. Brown unequivocally dismissed Damores arguments, noting, Like many of you, I found that it advanced incorrect assumptions about gender. I’m not going to link to it here as it’s not a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages.

Declaring that Google is unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company,” she went on to assert that all employees with alternative views, including different political views, [should] feel safe sharing their opinions. But, she added, that discourse needs to work alongside the principles of equal employment found in our Code of Conduct, policies, and anti-discrimination laws.

When contacted by email, a Google spokesperson also shared a response to Damores memo written by Ari Balogh, Googles VP of engineering:

Id like to respond to the “pc-considered-harmful” post. Questioning our assumptions and sharing different perspectives is an important part of our culture, and we want to continue fostering an environment where its safe to engage in challenging conversations in a thoughtful way. But, in the process of doing that, we cannot allow stereotyping and harmful assumptions to play any part. One of the aspects of the post that troubled me deeply was the bias inherent in suggesting that most women, or men, feel or act a certain way. That is stereotyping, and it is harmful.

Building an open, inclusive environment is core to who we are, and the right thing to do. Nuff said.

But neither Browns nor Baloghs responses did much to allay the outrage and concerns shared by many of Damores fellow Google employees. There are certain alternative views, including different political views, which I do not want people to feel safe to share here, one engineering manager reportedly wrote in response to Browns memo. Several employees openly questioned whether Damore would be fired. One employee reportedly wrote that if Googles human resources department did not discipline Damore, she would seriously consider leaving the company.

On Monday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai sent an email titled Our words matter to Google staff noting that while the company strongly support[s] the right of Googlers to express themselves, and much of what was in that memo is fair to debate, Damores memo had violated parts of the companys Code of Conduct and cross[ed] the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.

Pichai continued:

To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK. … The memo has clearly impacted our co-workers, some of whom are hurting and feel judged based on their gender. Our co-workers shouldnt have to worry that each time they open their mouths to speak in a meeting, they have to prove that they are not like the memo states, being agreeable rather than assertive, showing a lower stress tolerance, or being neurotic.

At the same time, there are co-workers who are questioning whether they can safely express their views in the workplace (especially those with a minority viewpoint). They too feel under threat, and that is also not OK. People must feel free to express dissent. So to be clear again, many points raised in the memo such as the portions criticizing Googles trainings, questioning the role of ideology in the workplace, and debating whether programs for women and underserved groups are sufficiently open to all are important topics. The author had a right to express their views on those topics we encourage an environment in which people can do this and it remains our policy to not take action against anyone for prompting these discussions.

The past few days have been very difficult for many at the company, and we need to find a way to debate issues on which we might disagree while doing so in line with our Code of Conduct.

After Damores memo was made public, many people echoed the appalled feelings of Google employees whod spoken out against it. The faulty logic behind the memo dominated the discussion, as did explanations of why Damores decision to post it was so inherently damaging.

In a lengthy open letter to Damore, Yonatan Zunger, a former Google employee who only recently left the company, shared his views from the perspective of having been a distinguished engineer an extremely high-level position at Google. Zunger noted that, despite speaking very authoritatively, Damore does not appear to understand gender, engineering, or the consequences of what he wrote, either for others or himself.

Zunger, who wrote as is if he were still working at Google and had been tasked with handling the situation internally, addressed Damore directly to explain not only why the beliefs outlined in his memo are so dangerous, but why writing and posting the memo was such a terrible judgment call:

What you just did was incredibly stupid and harmful. You just put out a manifesto inside the company arguing that some large fraction of your colleagues are at root not good enough to do their jobs, and that theyre only being kept in their jobs because of some political ideas. And worse than simply thinking these things or saying them in private, youve said them in a way thats tried to legitimize this kind of thing across the company, causing other people to get up and say wait, is that right?

I need to be very clear here: not only was nearly everything you said in that document wrong, the fact that you did that has caused significant harm to people across this company, and to the companys entire ability to function….

And as for its impact on you: Do you understand that at this point, I could not in good conscience assign anyone to work with you? I certainly couldnt assign any women to deal with this, a good number of the people you might have to work with may simply punch you in the face, and even if there were a group of like-minded individuals I could put you with, nobody would be able to collaborate with them. You have just created a textbook hostile workplace environment.

But not everyone was unified in their opposition to Damores memo. A set of informal polls that reportedly circulated internally among Google employees and were subsequently leaked online show a more divided set of reactions, ranging from strong agreement with its position to strong disapproval:

Its important to note that, as indicated in images above, fewer than 300 of the Googles thousands of employees responded. But the results do hint at deeper underlying ideological differences at Google, and suggest that at least some of the companys employees agree with Damores claims that his views are seen as anathema to a productive workplace and thus should be shamed into silence.

Both inside and outside Google, Damores memo has garnered him open supporters, with one blogger calling him the only set of balls left at Google. Meanwhile, Motherboard spoke to an anonymous Google employee who described the reaction among his fellow employees as a mix of women saying, This is terrible and its been distracting me from my work and it shouldnt be allowed; Men and women saying this is horrible but we need to let him have a voice; and men saying This is so brave, I agree.

The ensuing debate over his memo and subsequent firing has inevitably touched on issues of free speech and whether any workplace should allow such harmful ideas to safely be voiced. And one overarching theme of that debate has been the argument that free speech cannot and should not be an excuse for employees to spread and legitimize harmful ways of thinking or encourage the dehumanization of other people especially when the dehumanizing arguments are linked to bad science.

Had Google been willing to tolerate the posting of the memo in the spirit of supporting free speech, such tolerance would undoubtedly have been a deal breaker for many of the companys employees who were unsettled by the notion that it could embolden more of their co-workers to advocate for sexist or racist views.

Its no secret that Google (to say nothing of the tech industry at large) has a diversity problem. The companys most recent workforce representation data revealed that, despite its various ongoing diversity initiatives, 69 percent of the companys total workforce is male, while 56 percent is white. (At many other leading technology companies, these numbers are far worse.) In turn, Google acknowledged that, While weve made progress in recent years for both women and people of color, there are areas for improvement across the board and insisted that it is actively working to hire more women engineers and people of color.

In her weekend memo to employees, Brown argued that Damores memo is an unfortunate reaction to Googles progressively changing culture. Strong stands elicit strong reactions, she wrote. But the kind of bias and resistance to change implied by the memo seem to fall in line with the endless accounts of harassment and a deeply embedded bro culture thatve been well-documented by women across the tech industry, and indicate that Google might need to take a much stronger stand in order to make a real difference.

By firing Damore, the company has made it clear that such hostility wont be tolerated. But Damores memo, and the support it has received from some, has also made it clear that the tech industrys undercurrent of sexism and resistance to change is deeply embedded. And firing a single employee wont solve that problem anytime soon.

Correction: A previous version of this story stated that Damore has a doctorate in systems biology from Harvard, which he listed on his LinkedIn profile. A representative from Harvard has confirmed to Vox that Damore actually has a masters degree in systems biology, not a PhD.

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Google has fired the engineer whose anti-diversity memo reflects a divided tech culture – Vox

Anthony Mills: Trump’s incidental firestorm – Vallejo Times Herald

Since President Trump announced that transgenders are not allowed to join the United States military, which reverses President Obamas permissive policy, a predictable news media firestorm has taken place. It appears that the Chief Executive gravitates toward that which creates political firestorms. The transgender issue is incidental.

Be that as it may, a basic review of genetics and transgenderism is in order.

Each human has a genetic code: Male XY, female XX. On very rare occasions there a variations to this code, like XXY which would be a female hermaphrodite.

It has now become the fashion for people, especially young people, to question the genetic code that they were born with. This thinking has progressed to confusion and insecurity. Then there older and once successful people like Bruce Jenner who subscribed himself to synthetic hormone therapy and re-assignment surgery to gain the semblance of woman. No matter what surgery any male (or female) takes, not matter how much female hormones Jenner or any other males takes (or male hormones a female takes) the genetic code remains the same.

Jenner along with other transgenders cannot reproduce, hence they are sterile.

The opposition counters what is written above comes from hate, another form of gay-bashing.

The oppositions counters by stating that the genetic code of a person remains the same no matter what surgery, no matter what hormones are taken, that (same-sex marriage) and transgenderism has been accepted by much of the of the world. This is true.

In Israel there are gay pride parades. All of North America and much of South America, along with western European countries, accept transgenderism and same-sex marriage. I met with an Anglican Navy chaplain and made notice to the subject that the Queen of England, who is the ultimate head of the Anglican Church, signed the document that allows same-sex marriage in England. He denied this, he then looked downward and could not contest the fact.

It has been said, it has been written and repeated that there will come a time of the Great Apostasy.

It has been said, it has been written and repeated that some of the elect will be among they who are deceived.

That time is now.

Anthony Mills/USNS Carl Brahsear. Bahrain

Vallejo

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Anthony Mills: Trump’s incidental firestorm – Vallejo Times Herald

Losing My Hair: If I’m Not Bothered, Why Are You? – Yahoo News UK

Going bald was always a foregone conclusion for me. From a young age, I was aware that I had inherited most of my physical traits from my maternal family. Whereas my father’s side was blessed with voluminous mops of thick, black hair and olive skin, all three of my mother’s brothers and my grandfather were (and obviously still are) bald as coots. I grew up being told repeatedly that a similar fate awaited me and, as foretold, my hairline began to recede around the age of 16. To be honest, given the truly hideous ‘curtain’ hairstyle I was rocking in 1995, many might say this was no bad thing.

However, the years passed and somehow, most of my hair remained. In 2006, my hairdresser, who was always very keen to reassure me that I was ‘unlikely to go bald’ given that I hadn’t done so already, suggested a hairstyle which involved sweeping my hair forward over my forehead and spiking the hair around my crown. This was fairly la mode at that time (but then, so were mullets) and I literally thought nothing of it. It’s only with the benefit of hindsight that I can see that actually, my hairdresser was concealing the inevitable truth and helping me to forestall my follicular fate.

I fared quite well. It wasn’t until the age of 32 that the hair loss was of such an extent that I began to shave my head. Given that the aforementioned uncles had, by all accounts, lost their hair by their late teens, I felt fortunate to have held on to mine for so long. What’s more, I was lucky enough to have a partner who reassured me that they found my shaven look attractive. I am, for want of less dramatic terminology, at peace with my premature baldness. Why, then, are so many other people so disappointed on my behalf?

From my mother – who, frankly, should know better given that it’s her contribution to my genetics that has caused it – to random people I barely know, there is never a shortage of people ready and willing to express their sympathy with my ‘plight’. ‘Are you gutted to have lost your hair at such a young age?’. ‘Have you ever considered a hair transplant?’. ‘It’s such a shame as you had such lovely hair’. The comments are numerous and made without a second thought as to how they might make me feel. For some unfathomable reason, unsolicited remarks about this aspect of someone’s appearance seem to be socially acceptable. Conversely, it is rightly considered to be inappropriate or downright offensive to casually mention a person’s weight gain, physical ageing or acne, for example, ‘Are you devastated to have become so wrinkly?’ is certain to offend and understandably so. There is a double standard at play and it could, for some people, be incredibly damaging.

The curiosity, misplaced sympathy and callousness does make me question whether I should be more perturbed about losing my hair than I actually am. Should I, in fact, be spending more time dolefully gazing into the mirror, lamenting the gradual disappearance of my golden locks and frantically researching ways to return to the ‘glory days’ of hairbrushes, combs, shampoo and regular trips to the barber? I think not. After all, for many, hair loss is symptomatic of serious illness, stress and trauma. To self-indulgently bemoan my male pattern baldness as a relatively healthy man headed for 40 with relatively little to complain about would, for me, feel unseemly.

That’s not to say everyone does or should feel the same. Men who seek to regain (see what I did there?) their beautiful barnets should be neither mocked nor castigated – but neither should those who are at ease with the hand dealt to them by genetics, hormones or a mix of the two. Male pattern baldness continues to be open season for uninvited jest, lampooning and commiseration. It’s insensitive, anti-social and wildly inappropriate. Balding, like any other physical change, affects individuals in a variety of ways – a little consideration for the feelings of others costs nothing.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with a certain Mr Remington…

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Losing My Hair: If I’m Not Bothered, Why Are You? – Yahoo News UK

Gene editing for ‘designer babies’? Highly unlikely, scientists say. – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Gene editing for 'designer babies'? Highly unlikely, scientists say.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
After researchers snipped the harmful mutation from the male gene, it copied the healthy sequence from that spot on the female gene. That was a surprise to the scientists, who had inserted a … Allowing any form of human germline modification leaves

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Gene editing for ‘designer babies’? Highly unlikely, scientists say. – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

BGU researchers find genetic defect that causes male infertility – The Jerusalem Post

fertility feat 1 88 298.(photo credit:Illustrative photo)

A previously unknown genetic mutation that causes male infertility has been discovered by researchers from the faculty of health sciences at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the fertility and in-vitro fertilization unit at Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba.

Five percent of men suffer from infertility. About a fifth of them have a lack of sperm production, azoospermia, though the reasons are still a mystery.

The study was made with the participation of five men from a single family treated by a team from Sorokas in vitro fertilization unit, led by Prof. Eitan Lunenfeld, chairman of the obstetrics and gynecology department. The men suffered from lack of sperm in their ejaculate and spermatogenic arrest in their testes, but with no obvious cause.

Profs. Ruti Parvari and Mahmoud Huleihel from the Shraga Segal Department of Microbiology and Immunology and the Fertility Research Center discovered a mutation in a gene that is supposed to protect the full DNA sequence in sperm.

The mutation inactivates the function of the gene, thereby arresting the production of sperm. First author on the article was Maram Arafat from Parvaris research group.

The results link damage to this gene with infertility for the first time. As a result of this study, specific scans in the future will be available to test for mutations in this gene, which are important for prognostic and treatment of the couples, the researchers wrote in the Journal of Medical Genetics

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BGU researchers find genetic defect that causes male infertility – The Jerusalem Post

Breakthrough: Doctors can now ‘edit’ genes in human embryos – Health24

In a first-ever experiment, geneticists have successfully modified a human embryo to remove a mutation that causes a life-threatening heart condition.

This is the first study to demonstrate that a gene-editing technique can be used in human embryos to convert mutant genes back to their normal version, the researchers said.

This new procedure tackled a genetic mutation in human embryos that causes hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, an inherited condition in which the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick.

The mutation was successfully repaired in 72% of 18 embryos that were created in a lab using sperm from a male donor who carries the hereditary heart condition, said team member Dr Paula Amato. She is an adjunct associate professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Portland.

Unlike other parts of the world in which cardiomyopathy is rare, heart muscle disease is endemic in Africa.

Impact on future generations

The procedure also might work in other genetic diseases caused when a person has one good copy and one mutated copy of a gene, Amato said. These include cystic fibrosis and cancers caused by mutated BRCA genes.

“This embryo gene correction method, if proven safe, can potentially be used to prevent transmission of genetic disease to future generations,” Amato said.

But while the procedure is considered to be the first of its kind, human trials are not currently allowed in the United States.

A serious heart condition

Hereditary hypertrophic cardiomyopathy occurs in about one out of every 500 adults, and is passed along when a person winds up with one good copy and one mutated copy of a gene called MYBPC3, the researchers said.

There’s a 50% chance that the children of a parent with the disease will inherit the genetic mutation for the disease, according to a Mayo Clinic estimate.

People with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy are at increased risk of heart failure and sudden heart death. The condition is the most common cause of sudden death in otherwise healthy young athletes, researchers said in background notes.

How the ‘editing’ is done

To repair the problem, the research team “broke” the mutated version of the MYPBC3 gene inside human embryos, using technology that allows scientists to snip a specific target sequence on a mutant gene.

Scientists discovered that when this occurs, a DNA repair process employed within human embryos activates to fix the broken gene, using the normal copy of the gene as a template.

The result: an embryo with two healthy copies of the gene that, if implanted in a woman and allowed to gestate, should result in a baby free from risk of hereditary cardiomyopathy. Further, any children descended from that baby should also be free from this genetic risk.

The researchers found that when they performed this procedure, all the cells in corrected embryos wound up containing two normal copies of the gene, Amato said. The new report was published in the journalNature.

The next step

Researchers will next focus on testing the safety and improving the efficiency of the CRISPR-Cas9 process, possibly by using other genetic tools in combination with it, Mitalipov said. After that, they could proceed to human trials, in which the corrected embryos would be implanted with the goal of establishing pregnancy.

In the United States, the US Food and Drug Administration is prohibited from considering clinical trials related to germline genetic modification, Amato said. In addition, the US National Institutes of Health are not allowed to use federal funds to promote embryo research. It is possible that human trials could occur in another country with laws allowing such procedures, Mitalipov said.

In the area of stem cell research, South Africa allows the derivation of human embryonic stem cells from excess In vitro fertilization (IVF) embryos, and also allows for the creation of human embryos for research.

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Breakthrough: Doctors can now ‘edit’ genes in human embryos – Health24

Israeli Scientists Discover Genetic Mutation That Causes Male Infertility – The Jewish Press – JewishPress.com

Photo Credit: geralt / Pixabay

Researchers from the Faculty of Health Sciences at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the Fertility & In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Unit at Soroka Medical Center have discovered a new genetic mutation that causes a lack of sperm production.

Five percent of men suffer from infertility, and about one percent suffer from azoospermia, a lack of sperm production, although the reasons for this lack of sperm are still a mystery.

The study was made possible as a result of five men from a single family who were treated at Soroka Medical Center for arrest of sperm in their testes with no obvious cause.

The treatment team at the IVF Unit was led by Prof. Eitan Lunenfeld, chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Profs. Ruti Parvari and Mahmoud Huleihel from the Shraga Segal Department of Microbiology & Immunology, and the Fertility Research Center discovered a mutation in a gene that is supposed to protect the full DNA sequence in the sperm.

The mutation inactivates the function of the gene and thus the production of sperm is arrested. These results link damage to this gene and infertility for the first time.

As a result of this study, in future, specific scans will be available to test for mutations in this gene, which are important for prognostic and treatment of the couples, the researchers said.

The results of the study, Mutation in TDRD9 causes non-obstructive azoospermia in infertile men, were published recently in the Journal of Medical Genetics. First author on the article is Maram Arafat from Prof. Parvaris research group.

The study was supported in part by The Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) Israel Science Foundation (ISF) (NSFC-ISF) (1183/14).

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Israeli Scientists Discover Genetic Mutation That Causes Male Infertility – The Jewish Press – JewishPress.com

Homosexuality Partly Rooted In Genetics Rather Than Lifestyle Choice, Says Science – Medical Daily

Many of us have been curious as to why some of us are straight or gay; “Why are some of us attracted to the opposite sex?” “Why are some men attracted to men?” “Why are some women attracted to women?” Currently, we don’t know why we vary in sexual orientation, but science suggests being gay at least is partly genetic, rather than a lifestyle choice.

In AsapSCIENCE’s latest video, “Does Everybody Have A Gay Gene,” Mitchell Moffit and Gregory Brown explain genetics and epigenetic factors the study of how the environment can chemically modify our genes can be used to prove that being gay is not a choice.

Read More: Study Finds Same Sex Couples Make Better Parents

A 2016 study, published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, found linkages in a specific region of the X chromosome labelled Xq28 and in another region of chromosome 8, known as 8q12, in over 400 gay siblings. Traits like hair color, height and intelligence varied between each brothers in a pair and between all groups of brothers. In other words, any single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) differences on a single letter in the genetic code found in the same genetic locations across the group would likely be associated with sexual orientation.

The region on the X chromosome, Xq28, was previously identified in 1993 by Dean Hamer of the US National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. However, there needs to be more work done to determine the specific genes involved and how they work, including if there are equivalent genes in women. The study provides researchers with the potential to narrow down fewer genes linked to sexual preference.

The belief that homosexuality is genetic can create a paradox. For example, homosexuals have 80 percent fewerchildren than heterosexuals, which suggests the genes would not be passed down and would eventually die out.

Enter epigenetics.

A 2015 study published in Science used epigenetics to propose that everyone has a gay gene, but it’s contingent on whether the attachment of a methyl group to specific regions of DNA is triggered and turned on. Upon analyzing gay and straight male twins, researchers found a specific methylation pattern was closely linked to sexual orientation. The model was able to predict the sexuality of men with 70 percent accuracy.

However, a caveat of the study is its small sample size, which means there is not too much power to make such a claim. Evidently, there were certain correlations, but a predicting model may not yet be an actual reality. Larger studies are needed to replicate these findings if valid.

A specific gay gene has not been found, but there’s scientific data that suggests sexual orientation is linked to genetics on a molecular level. Previous research has found giving birth to a son increases the odds of homosexuality in the next son by 33 percent. Scientists believe a woman’s body adjusts the androgen level in her womb as she has more sons, and the androgens interactwith genes to produce homosexuality.

Read More: Kids Of Same-Sex Parents Have Same Emotional, Physical Health As Those With A Mom And Dad

The scientific community still has a long way to go when it comes to studying the causes of homosexuality. Currently, most research only focuses on gay men and neglect other groups, like lesbians. Further research on the genetic and epigenetic factors of homosexuality could help reduce homophobic laws around the world by proving it’s not a lifestyle choice.

Science is working on proving the biology of homosexuality, but it also raises the question, does it matter if someone is straight or gay?

See Also:

Why Discrimination Against Gays Is A Global Health Hazard

Heterosexual Providers Found To Hold Bias On Sexual Orientation

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Homosexuality Partly Rooted In Genetics Rather Than Lifestyle Choice, Says Science – Medical Daily

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