Genetic map of cold virus a step toward cure, scientists say

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    Feb 13, 2009 3:32 AM GMT
    Story Highlights

    •Scientists map entire cold virus for first time

    •Could be a step toward finding a cure, researchers say

    •Colds result in direct and indirect costs of about $60 billion annually in the U.S.

    "Researchers have solved the first step in treating the common cold, by mapping its entire genome, or genetic map, teams from the University of Maryland and the University of Wisconsin-Madison reported Thursday.

    "We have the pieces all in place. .... "

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/02/12/cold.genome/index.html
  • styrgan

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    Feb 13, 2009 5:41 AM GMT
    How cool is that!!!
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    Feb 13, 2009 5:41 AM GMT
    Never getting a cold again? Count me in!
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    Feb 13, 2009 5:44 AM GMT
    Saving $60 billion annually in the U.S. Now how good is that for the economy?
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    Feb 13, 2009 5:57 AM GMT
    In some far-off future generation, a deadly plague will sweep mankind. And it will be discovered to be the virus that was merely a nuisance centuries ago. icon_confused.gif

    I dunno if curing it would be such a good idea. Heh
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    Feb 13, 2009 6:13 AM GMT
    funny pictures
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    Feb 13, 2009 6:17 AM GMT
    Sedative saidIn some far-off future generation, a deadly plague will sweep mankind. And it will be discovered to be the virus that was merely a nuisance centuries ago. icon_confused.gif

    I dunno if curing it would be such a good idea. Heh


    Ditto.
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    Feb 13, 2009 6:52 AM GMT
    Sedative, i tend to lean toward your position. but more so because of the whole realm of genetics research and where it leads to.

    if one studies the history of genetics, which largely emerged after World War II, it didn't come out of dust, it came from a previous movement, a pseudo-scientific movement called eugenics. if you look at the prominent genetics institutions today, most of them used to be eugenics organizations, and they simply changed their name.

    in britain, the British Eugenics Society changed its name to the Galton Institute, named after one of the first progenitors of eugenics ideology, and is today, a prominent genetics research organization. in the US, the Eugenics Records Office, at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, which was compiling, in the first decades of the 20th century, the racial make up of Americans, and was the prime "research" facility for eugenics in the world. America even had eugenic policies such as sterilization imposed in roughly 20 states. today, the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is the location of the primary genetics research organization in the US.

    the main financiers of early American eugenics (the Rockefeller, Carnegie, Mellon Foundations) are today, along with the Ford Foundation, the primary financiers of genetics research.

    Eugenical ideas about race-superiority are still present in genetics today, for example, James Watson, nobel prize winning scientist who was one of the pioneers behind mapping the human DNA genome, who worked at the Coal Spring Harbor Laboratory, said in 2007, that he was "gloomy" about the prospects for Africa's development, becasue "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours – whereas all the testing says not really" and that with the idea of all humans being equal, "people who have to deal with black employees find this not true."

    In regards to homosexuality, Watson stated, "that a woman should have the right to abort her unborn child if tests could determine it would be homosexual. He later insisted he was talking about a "hypothetical" choice which could never be applied. He has also suggested a link between skin colour and sex drive, positing the theory that black people have higher libidos, and argued in favour of genetic screening and engineering on the basis that "stupidity" could one day be cured."
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/fury-at-dna-pioneers-theory-africans-are-less-intelligent-than-westerners-394898.html

    For an excellent and gorundbreaking overview of the history of eugenics and modern eugenics in the form of genetics ("newgenics"), see: "War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race" by Edwin Black, award winning researcher and author of "IBM and the Holocaust".

    Here is a brief article he wrote on how American eugenics research and funding financed and helped create Nazi eugenics (specifically the Rockefeller Foundation):
    http://hnn.us/articles/1796.html

    What scares me about genetics today is the things that it is used for. Everything can be promoted with a great cause, for example, curing the common cold, etc etc.. but the application of this science and technology must be differentiated from the stated purpose of genetic research.

    for example, cross breeding of animals may help find cures to certain ailments, etc, however, it gets abused, such as when the US military mixed the genes of spiders and goats into a hybrid goat, which produces a powerful spider silk, that is used for body armour:
    http://www.carleton.ca/catalyst/2003/s2.html

    This has also been done with cows:
    http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2002/01/49828

    With regards to "curing diseases" through mapping their genomes, there are things other than cures that can result from this. BBC did a report on a brief history of biowarfare in regards to turning the Smallpox virus into a bioweapon:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/coldwar/pox_weapon_01.shtml

    Often through genetic manipulation, viruses can simply emerge unexpectedly, as occurred with Australian geneticists who accidentally created a lethal mouse virus:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/sci_tech/highlights/010117_mousepox.shtml

    Disease as a weapon:
    http://science.howstuffworks.com/bioweapon.htm/printable
    http://www.nature.com/embor/journal/v7/n1s/full/7400689.html

    in case people think that governments should be trusted to act in the moral interest of people, a history lesson is in order. Here are western governments testing biological and chemical weapons out on their OWN populations:
    http://articles.latimes.com/2002/oct/10/nation/na-chemtest10
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/jan/18/uk.military1

    Ever heard of the Tuskegee Experiment? Well, the US government for 40 years was testing the effects of syphillis on hundreds of black men:
    http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0762136.html

    Bioweapons are even able to be "race-specific", or otherwise termed as "smart" in that they can target specific ethnicities based upon the genetic makeup:
    http://www.wired.com/politics/law/news/1998/11/16272
    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4156/is_19990509/ai_n13937769


    My purpose here is to try to place news such as "mapping the genome of a cold can produce cure" into a wider historical-political context. I just think when dealing with something so unbelievably powerful and dangerous as reconstructing and manipulating genes, the discussion should not be so limited and narrow as "save people through stem cell research" versus "sanctity of man", because then it becomes a religious debate.. the debate should not be religious, it should be rational and moral.
  • Delivis

    Posts: 2332

    Feb 13, 2009 7:34 AM GMT
    Well done MeOhMy..icon_smile.gif

    Though i somehow doubt many of those who are not familiar with that history will bother much with it..icon_sad.gif
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    Feb 13, 2009 7:41 AM GMT
    Heh, Delivis, this old guy is completely taken with MeOhMy's post! I'm a little familiar with most of it. I just never thought to see it posted here, and I think that's pretty crass and very dense of me to have assumed that.

    Young Guyz iz smart!! Reeelly smart!

    -Doug

    PS thanks for some of those links MeOhMy



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    Feb 13, 2009 7:56 AM GMT
    Delivis saidWell done MeOhMy..icon_smile.gif

    Though i somehow doubt many of those who are not familiar with that history will bother much with it..icon_sad.gif


    Well thanks, Delivis,

    and i unfortunately agree with your point.

    its a difficult subject and very complex, requires time and effort, too much for many.

    personally, i don't think humanity has evolved enough to be allowed to use this type of technology. only until we mature and develop morally and intellectually could we be responsible enough to properly use it.


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    Feb 13, 2009 7:59 AM GMT
    meninlove said Heh, Delivis, this old guy is completely taken with MeOhMy's post! I'm a little familiar with most of it. I just never thought to see it posted here, and I think that's pretty crass and very dense of me to have assumed that.

    Young Guyz iz smart!! Reeelly smart!

    -Doug

    PS thanks for some of those links MeOhMy





    haha, no problem... i'm full of links, lol

    cheers!
    icon_biggrin.gif
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    Feb 13, 2009 9:20 AM GMT
    Amazing we can cure something that is not technically alive.

    I love the common cold... i want it to stay around! I was always very sick as a young kid... now I am quite healthy. Humans need to be exposed to a wide range of nasty fungi, protists, bacterium, and viruses.

    While I don't think we should "cure" it ... I do think mapping out its genome may be wise and quite helpful in the future for research and/or defeating a possible super bug.

    WE ARE AT WAR, MEN!

    A constant, neverending battle is going on throughout our society.

    But right now... we need them (viruses, bacterium, etc.) as much as they need us.

    Just recently, I was quite sick... for 2.5 weeks I have a horrible cold that would not go away, and i actually lost my voice for 1.5 weeks. I hadn't been that sick in a decade.

    But now I am happy I got it and defeated it! Now I see the funny side of life; now I'm always smiling!

    So next time you get change back at a store... immediatley pop the coins in your mouth and suck on them! And call in sick in a few days if needed! :O)
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    Feb 13, 2009 9:25 AM GMT
    MeOhMy saidEugenical ideas about race-superiority are still present in genetics today, for example, James Watson, nobel prize winning scientist who was one of the pioneers behind mapping the human DNA genome, who worked at the Coal Spring Harbor Laboratory, said in 2007, that he was "gloomy" about the prospects for Africa's development, becasue "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours – whereas all the testing says not really" and that with the idea of all humans being equal, "people who have to deal with black employees find this not true."

    In regards to homosexuality, Watson stated, "that a woman should have the right to abort her unborn child if tests could determine it would be homosexual. He later insisted he was talking about a "hypothetical" choice which could never be applied. He has also suggested a link between skin colour and sex drive, positing the theory that black people have higher libidos, and argued in favour of genetic screening and engineering on the basis that "stupidity" could one day be cured."


    Ya, that wasn't his best moment

    Remember though... genetics can offer A LOT of good to this world as well (i.e. preventing genetic congenital anomalies) Which should keep it away from the politicians though... and in the hands of peer-reviewed scientific boards
  • Delivis

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    Feb 13, 2009 9:54 AM GMT
    Our mastery of genetics, especially in regard to food/crops, has done more good for us than any other scientific discipline.
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    Feb 13, 2009 9:57 AM GMT
    cjcscuba1984 said
    MeOhMy saidEugenical ideas about race-superiority are still present in genetics today, for example, James Watson, nobel prize winning scientist who was one of the pioneers behind mapping the human DNA genome, who worked at the Coal Spring Harbor Laboratory, said in 2007, that he was "gloomy" about the prospects for Africa's development, becasue "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours – whereas all the testing says not really" and that with the idea of all humans being equal, "people who have to deal with black employees find this not true."

    In regards to homosexuality, Watson stated, "that a woman should have the right to abort her unborn child if tests could determine it would be homosexual. He later insisted he was talking about a "hypothetical" choice which could never be applied. He has also suggested a link between skin colour and sex drive, positing the theory that black people have higher libidos, and argued in favour of genetic screening and engineering on the basis that "stupidity" could one day be cured."


    Ya, that wasn't his best moment

    Remember though... genetics can offer A LOT of good to this world as well (i.e. preventing genetic congenital anomalies) Which should keep it away from the politicians though... and in the hands of peer-reviewed scientific boards



    Yes, i agree, there is much good that can come of it. but i dont think we are developed enough as a species to be messing around with genetics and manipulating them. i think we have some social evolution to undertake before humans can be trusted with this kind of power.

    and it isnt just about politicians having their dirty hands all over it, science can be, and often is, corrupted... although, this is largely due to science mixing with politics, but also economics and a variety of other things.

    the problem is with power... power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. right now, i see too much power being held in the research and projects of genetics, and i see how other powers (business, government, military, academia, philanthropic foundations, etc,) seek to shape and control that power, and it terrifies me.

    i think we have serious issues to deal with as a species, socially, economically, politically, culturally... before we should be able to even consider using this technology. otherwise, it will get severely abused.
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    Feb 14, 2009 2:30 AM GMT
    MeOhMy said
    Yes, i agree, there is much good that can come of it. but i dont think we are developed enough as a species to be messing around with genetics and manipulating them. i think we have some social evolution to undertake before humans can be trusted with this kind of power.

    and it isnt just about politicians having their dirty hands all over it, science can be, and often is, corrupted... although, this is largely due to science mixing with politics, but also economics and a variety of other things.

    the problem is with power... power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. right now, i see too much power being held in the research and projects of genetics, and i see how other powers (business, government, military, academia, philanthropic foundations, etc,) seek to shape and control that power, and it terrifies me.

    i think we have serious issues to deal with as a species, socially, economically, politically, culturally... before we should be able to even consider using this technology. otherwise, it will get severely abused.


    Honestly, I do not think we, the human race, will ever reach that point: The point where social evolution has enabled humans to use genetics ethically.
    Over the past 6,000 years there have been good people and bad people--righteous ones and evil ones. I believe that will never change.

    Human nature gravitates toward power.

    Yes, scientists can be corrupt... they are human as well after all. But, I have faith in the checks-and-balences of the peer-review process. Much debate is going on between various scientists concerning various topics as we speak. This debate between intelligent thinkers is very healthy. In the end, the answer(s) come(s) forth, and most of the time, these new sets of data are generally accepted (provided the evidence is clear and relatively unbiased).

    By solely questioning this issue, we are helping out in this process.

    I see this process all the time at my university. The walls are lined with experiemental-layout posters... the professor's ulitmate goal is to get their conclusion(s) accepted, approved and published

    Genetics can follow that same path--having checks and balences of power. Besides, there are other areas of science which can be just as dangerous if exploited, not just Genetics... just use you imagination

    Humanity will never rid itself of corruption... nor will it rid itself of the righteous. We must have faith that scientific answers will come forth in an ethical way--though not always as soon as expected or planned.

    What happens if we continue to wait for a more socially evolved society? Is that even possible? What needs to happen so that society does not abuse this technology? A lot has changed in 6,000 years.... human nature, I fear, has not.