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Nature's GMO: Horizontal Gene Transfer

post #1 of 3
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Read this in Scientific American. The Author is specifically studying the various bacteria in rind ripened cheeses. Since bacteria reproduce asexually, one thing they do to diversify genes is swap random genes across species. 

 

If you object to selected targeted and tested GMO foods, the random chaos of nature should be highly objectionable.

 

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/food-matters/looking-for-horizontal-gene-transfer-in-the-bacteria-that-make-cheese-delicious/

 

Similar results should also be present in other bacteria fermented products like some pickles, sauerkraut, sausages, and so on. 

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #2 of 3

Great article and curiosity.

reminds me of an article that discovered that microbes in the digestive tract of the Japanese can digest algae fibre because they acquired genetic information from microbes living on the seaweed consumed.

a twist on the saying: you are what you eat.

http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100407/full/news.2010.169.html

 

Luc H.

I eat science everyday, do you?
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I eat science everyday, do you?
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post #3 of 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by phatch View Post
 

Since bacteria reproduce asexually, one thing they do to diversify genes is swap random genes across species. 

 

If you object to selected targeted and tested GMO foods, the random chaos of nature should be highly objectionable.

How I am surprise this subject turns up in this forum...

I forgot to comment on your thought link between GMO and the article. True that the gene transfer is indeed random across microbial species but GMOs include gene manipulation across taxonomic domains that otherwise cannot happen by horizontal gene transfer i.e. animal to plants for example which makes it still questionable.

 

another problem with GMO, plants in particular, is genetic pollution, when GMO pollen travels very long distance to fertilize (contaminate) indigenous wild species.  Wild Mexican corn being an example: http://www.scidev.net/global/gm/news/mexico-confirms-gm-maize-contamination.html

 

Horizontal gene transfer however is the root cause of antibiotic resistance.  The biggest culprit and potentially the source of future outbreaks is not only the overuse of medical antibiotics in humans but indiscriminate use of antibiotics in animal meat production where sewage run off is a breeding ground for horizontal antibiotic resistance gene transfer with otherwise inoffensive environmental microbes. 

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/meat/safe/overview.html

there is a suspicion that C. Difficile could have come from meat

http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/15/5/08-1071_article

 

sorry for the rant....

Luc H.

I eat science everyday, do you?
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I eat science everyday, do you?
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