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Bio-Engineered Rice Uses Human Genes

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the tuning-i/o-performance dept.

417

gliph writes "Yahoo news has a piece about a small biogenetics firm that is using genetically engineered rice containing human genes to help fight diarrhea. From the article: 'Ventria's rice produces two human proteins found in mother's milk, saliva and tears, which help people hydrate and lessen the severity and duration of diarrhea attacks, a top killer of children in developing countries.'"

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417 comments

Oh my. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15348895)

First post. Yay. And neat story.

Nothing to see here, move along.

Re:Oh my. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15349082)

Damn, I *REALLY* could have used this stuff about an hour ago. Ugh. :(

Condoleeza? (5, Funny)

mbaudis (585035) | more than 7 years ago | (#15348900)

Reading the headline, I was sure this is fake news. Come on, Condoleeza and human?

Re:Condoleeza? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15349283)

Come on, Condoleeza and human?

That's Racist!

Horray! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15348903)

Now I don't need to worry about dirrhea when I eat rice!

Madness (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15348907)

Scientists need to learn that just because you can do something doesn't mean that you SHOULD do it. However much it might help the PR of the administration, reengineering Condoleeza Rice to give her human genes is going way too far. This madness has to stop.

Old recipe for stopping diarrhea (4, Insightful)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 7 years ago | (#15348910)

Eat uncooked flour dissolved in a little water.

Eating cooked rice also helps stopping diarrhea. Normal rice, non genetic modifications whatsoever.

These simple old tricks come all the way from my grandmother, and i've used them often enough to know that they work (either that or it's the placebo effect in action).

So why exactly do we need frankein-rice for?

Re:Old recipe for stopping diarrhea (3, Informative)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 7 years ago | (#15348951)

Did you read the article? This genetically modified rice is destined for the developing world. Many of them have meager means. Allowing them to just grow rice that can save lives (children die of dehydration there) is pretty worthwhile.

Re:Old recipe for stopping diarrhea (1, Insightful)

shawb (16347) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349038)

Problem is, this won't hit the developing countries. I'd guess this will be sold in drugstores next to pedialyte at a pretty hefty premium. Very few lives of poor children will be saved by this product (barring subsidies, rescue workers, donations etc.) This will just be used to reduce the uncomfort and risks associated with diarrhea in children whose parents are wealthy enough to afford the healthcare that would keep the children alive through the bout anyways.

I am not disputing that diarrhea kills a large number of children (I recall hearing that it is the leading cause of death in the world.) But families that can not afford clean water won't be able to afford this stuff. Not that offering the product to those who can afford it is evil, but they will use the fact that children do die of diarrhea as a scare tactic in advertising as well as gaining political leverage.

Re:Old recipe for stopping diarrhea (5, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349132)

The article mentions specifically it is being developed for developing nations. Whether or not it will be donated, purchased by charities, or sold in more exploitative fashion I don't know.

But where does it grow? (1)

slashmojo (818930) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349193)

Since rice is typically grown in said developing countries there's a fair chance that they will have access to it.

Re:But where does it grow? (2, Informative)

slashmojo (818930) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349209)

Or not..

"The company says the chance of its genetically engineered rice ending up in the food supply is remote.."

Re:Old recipe for stopping diarrhea (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15349049)

Enderandrew, you are wrong!
All they do, is lock the poor farmers in to a GM contract.
And now, the poor farmer has to buy this GM crap, he has 5 times more kids than he ever can feed and as you can see, there will be even more people suffering.

You can NOT take the statistics from developed country and say: "Oh my, "too many" children are dying in poor country. Lets save them! Huraaa!"
This is absolute bull shit and causes more harm than good.

Re:Worthwhile? (1)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349326)

So if I decided to have bunches of children without any means of supporting them, would someone please bail the little tykes out? Thanks! Gee, if we were having children at the rate of the ones needing help, we'd be a lot closer to the fix they are in instead of being in a position to render them aid. And once they are slightly better off, they'll be in a position to upturn the apple cart for everyone!

they should insert this technology up their... (2, Interesting)

Falcon040 (915278) | more than 7 years ago | (#15348989)

Yeah, why produce GM food to produce proteins that we need, when instead they can go and insert these genetic modifications into humans and then we won't need to turn to certain foods to get the benefits. The benefits can be directly enjoyed without doing anything.

The necessity to eat certain foods could be overcome if this technology could be inserted directly into the human body, in addition to genetic modifications to help those with nut allergies etc. to overcome their problem. (Or at least in the next generation of children that they have...).

Re:Old recipe for stopping diarrhea (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15349008)

Because we're not talking about normal American kids getting the sort of mild diarrhea your grandmother's folksy anecdotal remedies help, but rather life-threatening ones? Dildo.

Re:Old recipe for stopping diarrhea (2, Insightful)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349188)

This fits neatly into existing therapies. My doctor used to practice in a poor country and did the boiled-rice-and-water routine. BTW it's not to stop diarrhea, it's to keep the kids from dying of dehydration before they can recover. Being able to add human-specific chemicals like the factors in breast milk, without have to buy anything, could make it a lot more effective for people who desperately need it.

Re:Old recipe for stopping diarrhea (1)

vmahrra (55934) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349222)

Yes, this frankenrice thing is so scary.

Am I the only one who is sh*tting myself over this latest development?

Ethics? (0, Flamebait)

mahangu (576268) | more than 7 years ago | (#15348911)

What about the ethical aspect of putting human genes in rice? Wouldn't people who eat that rice be eating a part of a human? That's kind of freaky to think about.

Re:Ethics? (-1, Troll)

kanzels (975208) | more than 7 years ago | (#15348941)

That is exactly what I'm afraid of :( In near future everything will be genetically modified ... this planet will die.

This just in: You're a giant, blubbery, weepy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15348979)

...fag.

THINK OF THE PLANET!!1! =
"THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!2!" =
"THINK OF THE TERRORISTS!!3!" =
you're a tool.

Tool.

Re:Ethics? (1)

ocelotbob (173602) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349339)

Explain, oh great sagely prophet, how all life on earth will end if we perform genetic engineering. Be sure to cite examples as how our engineering is different from natural genetic engineering, ie, mutation.

Re:Ethics? (4, Insightful)

Compuser (14899) | more than 7 years ago | (#15348944)

And when you do an insulin shot, is that
also injecting yourself with a part of a
human? Many drugs are made in e.g. e.coli
where a human or modified human gene is
expressed to make a protein, then purified
and sold. This new approach is just
packaging the relevant drug/protein in a
capsule which happens to be a rice grain.
No ethics problems here.

Re:Ethics? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15348953)

Not really: we share many genes with other animals that we eat.

Re:Ethics? (5, Insightful)

BigWhale (152820) | more than 7 years ago | (#15348957)

Ethics - Schmetics! ;)

  You obviously never had a little child with severe diarrhea. Which is sometimes accompanied by a lot of vomiting. So everything you feed to your child goes out. If not in first few minutes upwards than in next few minutes downwards.

  Eating human? Please. There are many genes that are common to many speices. So, 'eating genes' that are present in pig/cow/horse/chicken... and human... Well, you cannibal!

Re:Ethics? (2, Funny)

barefootgenius (926803) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349163)

"What about the ethical aspect of putting human genes in rice? Wouldn't people who eat that rice be eating a part of a human? That's kind of freaky to think about."


I dunno, ask Paris. Opps, sorry, she doesn't swallow.


Re:Ethics? (1)

grungy hamster (970187) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349315)

It's a sequence of nucleotides. Just because we share that same sequence or pattern doesn't mean that we're eating humans. We are just eating a protein that's esoterically produced within human cells. No big deal. But I must commend you for giving into the spin of the /. headline. When I say commend, I mean, make fun of.

These symptoms are caused by poverty (0, Redundant)

mr_don't (311416) | more than 7 years ago | (#15348925)

The symptoms here are caused by things like inadequate access to clean water and lack of means to purchase food that gives proper nutrition. Hmmm, why don't people who live in places with clean water supplies (i.e., Northern California, Most of Western Europe) eat bioengineered rice? Could we solve the actual problem (working on issues of economic equality and proper utilities and civil infastructures) instead of feeding poor people? A very bigoted solution to our global problems.

Re:These symptoms are caused by poverty (1)

mr_don't (311416) | more than 7 years ago | (#15348949)

Oops, I meant to say "feeding poor people bio engineered rice?" Wow, it's late I should sleep.

Re:These symptoms are caused by poverty (2, Informative)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 7 years ago | (#15348980)

I know that plenty of the people here locally in the University of Nebraska work on developing crops that grow in developing nations and help these people to cultivate the land and become more self-sustaining. I imagine that the intent here isn't to try and sell rice to Africa, but rather find a type of rice to grow in Africa. And dehydration may not seem like much to you, but in Africa believe it or not infant mortality from dehydration is very serious. They use cheap formula watered down with bad water to begin with, and then they get sick on top of that, which causes worse dehydration. If this saves lives of babies, then I'm for it.

Re:These symptoms are caused by poverty (1)

beeblebrox (16781) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349057)

Could we solve the actual problem (working on issues of economic equality and proper utilities and civil infastructures) instead of feeding poor people?

My sarcasm detector doesn't know what to do with that one.

If it's for real (and not some sort of typo), you just distilled the anti-globalization fanbois' (and -girls') greatest bait-and-switch down to one sentence. Let's work on the real problems instead of feeding people. Well done, sir.

If you were indeed sarcastic, please accept my apologies.

The existing solution to poverty (0, Troll)

Falcon040 (915278) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349064)

For most of human history there has been destitute poverty for a large number of people.

With the gradual discovery and transformation to Competitive Free-Market Capitalism, initially in the UK starting several hundred years ago and then in her allied and close countries followed by the rest of the world, the problem partially solved.

Many attempts at eradicating poverty have existed... Technology, communism, etc. But only Capitalism has been so successful by requiring equality and justice in trade and society as a whole, and making slight over production the norm, instead of under production. Thus leading to the solution of poverty for the masses.

However, Most haters of Capitalism ignore the fact that no other system has eradicated poverty as much as a Just, Equal, Competitive Free-market Capitalist Society, where people are free to invent and solve problems and go about their own business of creating wealth from their hard work, and keeping their wealth.

This is the solution to most of poverty. And it seems that the solution to the rest of poverty has not yet been found.

See links:
The Morality of Self-Interest and the Facts that Support It: Part 1 [capmag.com], Part 2 [capmag.com], Part 3 [capmag.com]
The Historic, Economic and Philosophic Case for Laissez-Faire [capmag.com]
What is Capitalism? [capmag.com]
The Destitution of Pre-Capitalist Europe [capmag.com]

Poverty is caused by; war; lack of equal justice; barriers to free trade; very high tax (stopping from people keeping the wealth that they themselves have created); subsidies (causing those competing with the subsidised or those forced to give the subsidy to become poorer); and many more reasons.

Re:These symptoms are caused by poverty (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15349212)

Could we solve the actual problem (working on issues of economic equality and proper utilities and civil infastructures) instead of feeding poor people?

Hm. This reminds me of Sam Kinison's take on how to end world hunger:

"Stop sending these people food. Send them U-Hauls! Nah! Send me. Everybody on board! We'll make one trip. See this stuff! It's SAND! Nothing grows in this shit! Nothing's gonna grow in this shit! Get your kids, get everyone aboard! I'll take you where the FOOD IS!!!! You live in a fucking Desert!"

So easy to solve a problem from afar. All the proper utilities and civil infrastructure isn't going to help impoverished people in the middle of a desert or a long-running draught. In that situation, where does the water come from? Oh, that's right - the tap.

Next Logical Step? (0, Troll)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 7 years ago | (#15348927)

We genetically alter plants all the time. Placing genetic code into plants to create a favorable result is very common practice. Is there truly a line being crossed if the genetic material belonged to humans?

I'm not entirely sure. However, crapping my pants sucks and if they can make rice to help with that, I'm not sure I mind in the least bit.

Re:Next Logical Step? (1)

mahangu (576268) | more than 7 years ago | (#15348966)

Is there truly a line being crossed if the genetic material belonged to humans?

IMHO there is. Scientifically this may be wonderful, and productive. Ethically though, we're giving people in the third world food with human genes in them. Will the recipients of this miracle rice be told what they're ingesting? Since much of the third world is in fact vegetarian, how would this affect their system of ethics / beliefs?

Re:Next Logical Step? (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 7 years ago | (#15348995)

Can I ask you a question? Are you a parent? Have you ever held a young child in your arms? Have you ever dealt with poverty?

I see where there might be ethical questions worth asking, but I have been homeless. And I have a small baby. If I had to choose between eating rice with human genes or not, I might first consider what I consider to be a greater issue. Will this help save the life of my child?

In developing countries, the answer may be yes.

Re:Next Logical Step? (1)

mahangu (576268) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349014)

OK, let's leave the ethics aside for the moment and discuss what you have said.

Have you ever dealt with poverty?

Look at my homepage, and see where I live. :)

I'm sick of unproven and untested methods like this being touted as the project that's going to save that unnamed dying third world child. Give me a break. If half of this funding was given to a country in the developing world, the root causes of many of these diseases could be dealt with.

The key to addressing health care in the developing world is not miracle crops. It's improved infrastructure. Whenever a sensational topic like this comes up I just laugh quietly to myself. As I've said in other places on this thread, this may be wonderful in terms of scientific breakthrough, but in terms of helping the third world, it's still a long way off.

Make roads, provide clean water, find new methods of sanitation. These have been proven time and time again as the most effective ways to combat the spread of disease.

Re:Next Logical Step? (1)

shawb (16347) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349069)

Here's a bigger question: do you really think that families who are faced with their children dying of dehydration will be able to afford this product? Sure, there will be a small number treated with it due to volunteer hospitals, peace corps, red cross, religious organizations, etc. But the great majority of this will be sold at profit to families who are not at a significant risk of dying from diarrhea related dehydration.

Not that I'm saying that, if the product is effective, parents who can afford it should forego it simply because there are children out there whose family can not afford it. But using the fact that children die of diarrhea as the tool to allow the company to be allowed to make it is misleading. Yes, there is a chance that the company as a whole intends to offer this at extremely discounted rates to poor children throughout the world. But I've been too jaded by pharm companies to realistically think that is on their agenda except as a couple high profile publicity maneuvers which don't put a dent in the problem (although it will be a good thing for those children lucky enough to be saved by the PR move, that's not why the investors and board of directors decided to go ahead with this concept.)

Re:Next Logical Step? (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349146)

I see various possibilities.
  • The product is donated as is.
  • The product is purchased by charity organizations in place of their usual food purchases.
  • The product is sold directly to developing nations in somewhat exploitative fashion.
  • Any of the above three options, however instead of purchasing said product over and over again, it is a one time purchase and then the people are given the means to grow the rice themselves.
Some companies are in fact using US dollars to help Africa become self-sufficient, because not only is it humane, but in the end, it is cheaper for us to help them become self-sufficient than to give them money every year.

Shut the fuck up. (5, Insightful)

nugneant (553683) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349105)

Seriously.

Shut. The. Fuck. Up.

It's easy for you to bitch and moan and fear-monger about the ethics of human DNA in some rice, from your computer chair in your air-conditioned first-world home or office. Meanwhile there are people - real, live people - people with thoughts, and feelings, and whose well-being you'd place at first-priority, whose well-being would be your tantamount concern, whose well-being would trump these silly goddamn over-analytical beardo quack ideas and "what ifs" -- that is, if you weren't such a fucking unthinking monster -- and these people are shitting themselves to death. And even though you and I both laughed as kids when we played Oregon Trail and learned what "dysentary" meant, one of us has managed to grow up, and figures it'd be best if we could put a stop to this horrible pain and suffering in the real world. Meanwhile, the other one is playing Armchair Philosopher, talking about lines being crossed and the ethics of eliminating suffering , without knowing the first thing about what he's talking about. Jesus Christ.

Have you heard about a little invention from the very late 1700s called "vaccinations"? Is this "ethical" in your eyes? Was it "ethical" for Louis Pasteur to inject human beings with (residual amounts of) COW DNA? Or should we have put a stop to this and let smallpox continue to ravage the globe? What about blood transfusions? That's OMG human DNA as well. Or, wait, are you one of those fucking quacker-flappers, like that lady who made an entire campaign out of "HIV does not cause AIDS", then gave AIDS to her daughter (by not taking any preventative measures during pregnancy)?

Look. I'm trying not to be too much of a -1 Flamebait -1 Troll -1 Confrontational Asshole, but what is your deal? If someone you loved (assuming you are actually capable of feeling empathy, or anything beyond Moral Sense [c.f. Twain, "The Mysterious Stranger" [gutenberg.org]]) was locked in a room, in a hotel you did not own, which was currently on fire, would you worry about the ethics of breaking the door down? Would you tap the fireman on the back as he was about to take an axe to the door, and oh-so-wisely, intellectually bleat^H^H^H^H^H state that it was a violation of ethics to be destroying property that wasn't yours? Would you then put on your Humble Pious Face, with your head solemnly cast down, and proclaim your grief for the impending loss of your wife / child / mother / father? Or does this garbage only spew forth from your mouth when it's other people's children whose lives are at risk?

So much idiotic diarrhea dribbling out of your mouth - I'm sure this isn't the only completely moronic thing you've managed to come up with in your blessedly short existance. Maybe you could use a DNA injection. I know I'd gladly sodomize you. I mean "innoculate" you - I get those two words confused =)!



MODS: -1, Whatever me all you want. I prefer not to intellectualize idiocy (such as the Parent post), so if you're going to mod me down for calling bullshit when I see it, mod me down, for calling bullshit, when, I, see... it. </Shatner>

Re:Shut the fuck up. (1)

bertok (226922) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349216)

Finally!

I've been waiting for someone to make this point on Slashdot eloquently and be modded up.

Re:Shut the fuck up. (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349234)

I find it odd that I made the same point that while we debate the ethics, the reality is that this isn't very different from what we do already, and how this might save the lives of real children dying all over the world. Every time I made that post, I did so without yelling and not a single time did it get modded up. You insult the poster above you, act like a troll and get modded to a 5.

The lesson here is that the tactic will get you heard, and then you will get modded up or down depending on whether or not the mod agrees with you in the end.

Re:Shut the fuck up. (4, Insightful)

value_added (719364) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349262)

It's easy for you to bitch and moan and fear-monger about the ethics of human DNA in some rice ... Meanwhile there are people whose well-being would trump these silly goddamn over-analytical beardo quack ideas and "what ifs"

What ifs? Is that meant to be imply some negative connotation to perfectly reasonable and serious concerns?

Here's a whatif, for you. What if we give hard working salt-of-the-earth farmers the chance to save some money and allow them to feed their cows animal protein instead of corn? Never mind the overly analytical issue of feeding herbivores other herbivores, there's livelihoods at risk, economies at stake, and benefits to go around for everyone.

Sorry, but the history of technological progress is littered with Really Bad Ideas that sounded really good at one time. Mad cow is just the latest, and a Google search will turn up as many as you want. Any radical idea deserves serious vetting, whether it takes the form of catcalls from the /. audience, or academic studies really isn't so important.

Re:Shut the fuck up. (1)

bhima (46039) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349277)

Actually I'd prefer this:
How about *both* of you shut the fuck up before you're read the fucking article. Then when the sanctimonious asshat above states his moral objections to using this to produce a drug which is intended to limit the recovery time of children suffering from diarrhea, and does not mention attempting to feed the suffering and unwashed masses of the world on a crop not intended to be a food stock...
*Then* you all can call point out his failures as a human being.

Re:Shut the fuck up. (1)

giafly (926567) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349328)

  1. These real live people are most often ill because they can't get clean water.
    So helping them get clean water is one solution.
  2. You actually mention "vaccination" in your post, but have missed the point.
    This is another solution - vaccinate against the organisms that most often cause dysentary.

This biogenics firm has chosen to treat the symptoms of diarrhea only, rather than solving the real live people's problems, presumably because preventing the disease would be less profitable. No repeat business. Look at your own examples and reconsider whether you still think they are behaving ethically.

Re:Next Logical Step? (1)

STDOUBT (913577) | more than 7 years ago | (#15348985)

There's a very big difference between hybridization and genetic engineering.

"Is there truly a line being crossed if the genetic material belonged to humans?"

Last time I pollinated a plant was never so... yeah.

Re:Next Logical Step? (2, Interesting)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349021)

Why is there a distinction? We feel that humans should be separated from other critters. Perhaps we should. However, taking one particular gene makes me question what it is we are discussing. Does one gene make a human? Does one gene define what separates a human from a primate for instance? If we used genetic material from frogs, would anyone care?

If we're worried about robbing the thunder of the heavens of what makes humans special, then I don't think we've infringed on that. Perhaps we are walking in that direction, but I'm not sure this actually infringes there.

Re:Next Logical Step? (1)

mahangu (576268) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349039)

Perhaps we are walking in that direction, but I'm not sure this actually infringes there.

Maybe so, but it is this walking in that direction that bothers me. Why set a precedent? I mean, especially when this is not something critical like finding the cure for a fatal disease. This is stopping diarrhea, and there are many other tested methods for doing so, many of which are far more practical than genetically engineering crops.

Product's name: (5, Funny)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 7 years ago | (#15348930)

Soylent Green.

Re:Product's name: (1)

CityZen (464761) | more than 7 years ago | (#15348962)

Hey, that's what I thought of too, when I considered where this could lead to...
(would require quite a bit more genetic modification, though).

Re:Product's name: (4, Interesting)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349020)

On a slightly more serious note, I remember a while ago some mutterings about the suitability (or lack thereof) of GM foods for people on Halal / Kosher diets (I think pig genes in tomatos was the particular exanmple used)

Are there any moslem or jewish /. readers who would be able to answer whether or not products like this rice could interfere with a religious diet?

Re:Product's name: (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15349141)

I've never understood why people let some book of fairy tales determine what they eat and don't eat. People should catch up with the Enlightenment and give up their stupid dietary rules. No pork... what a load of shit.

Re:Product's name: (1)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349169)

I've never understood why people let some book of fairy tales determine what they eat and don't eat. People should catch up with the Enlightenment and give up their stupid dietary rules. No pork... what a load of shit.

And I've never understood why people mock what they don't understand.

Re:Product's name: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15349219)

"Whiney Mac Fanboy" eh?

So since you are so freely defending random, pointless aspects of organized religion for no logical reason, I assume you are a "religion fanboy" as well as a "Mac fanboy." Thus, I arrive at the pseudo-logical conclusion that Macs are your religion. In this light I must ask: What food does Apple not allow you to eat?

(I'm not the same guy as the other AC by the way)

Ob. Reference. (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349286)

In this light I must ask: What food does Apple not allow you to eat?


What does Jobs tell his follower not to eat ?
Anything comming out of Microsoft Cuisine [davar.net], of course, because it's pure eeevviill !

(Sorry, I couldn't resist)

Re:Product's name: (2, Interesting)

Splab (574204) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349232)

You know, it's in the book for good reasons, back then (and still are) were some killer diseases you could get off pork.

I don't eat pork, not because of the "risks" (just clean up the stuff you use and cook everything through) nor because of some book, but because it tastes bad.

Just try to remember when you eat sausage: Theres nothing like minceing up an animal and stuff it into it's own intestines.

Re:Product's name: (4, Funny)

mgabrys_sf (951552) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349310)

Damn - was scrolling and thought I could make this bad joke first...

Well, how about the manditory Futurama gag:

Fry: My god! What if the secret ingredient is... people?!!

Leela: No, there's already food like that -- Soylent Rice.

Fry: "How does it taste?"

Leela: "...It varies from person to person."

Shouldn't the headline read... (3, Insightful)

draxbear (735156) | more than 7 years ago | (#15348956)

U.S company avoids human trial testing in states, instead using children in Peru.

FTA
>"Earlier this month, a Peruvian scientist sponsored by Ventria presented data at the Pediatric Academics Societies meeting in San Francisco. It showed children hospitalized in Peru with serious diarrhea attacks recovered quicker -- 3.67 days versus 5.21 days -- if the dehydration solution they were fed contained the powder."

Re:Shouldn't the headline read... (2, Insightful)

mrjb (547783) | more than 7 years ago | (#15348983)

This difference in time of recovery can well mean the difference between life and death.

Ethics vs survival (2, Insightful)

mrjb (547783) | more than 7 years ago | (#15348959)

So far I've only seen posts in the line of "what for?" "it's not needed" and complaints about the ethical aspect. It's very easy to complain about the ethical side of things when you have your business well settled, but in developing countries, mere survival may be more important than that.

When clean water is not always at hand, diseases such as dysentery are easy to catch. Although this rice is no cure, it can help prevent the loss of fluids associated with this disease and help save lives.

So, what are these ethical issues you were referring to again?

Re:Ethics vs survival (5, Informative)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349002)

When clean water is not always at hand, diseases such as dysentery are easy to catch. Although this rice is no cure, it can help prevent the loss of fluids associated with this disease and help save lives.

It's not like they're going to ship the rice for the local farmers to grow - from tfa:
The company says the chance of its genetically engineered rice ending up in the food supply is remote because the company grinds the rice and extracts the protein before shipping.
And its not like they're going to give it away for free [ventriabio.com]:
Ventria owns product and enabling technology rights from its internal development effort and by license, assignment, or exclusive option agreements as follows:

        * 5 issued United States patents relating to protein expression and products
        * 4 foreign patents relating to protein expression and products
        * Over 10 filings relating to ExpressTec
        * Over 10 filings for the products, their formulations,
So, we've got a new method of manufacturing proteins by extracting them from GM rice. US rice farmers are worried that it will affect trade with anti-GM nations. Environmentalists are worried about it for the usual GM worries (cross pollination with wild rices, unknown future side affects, species jumping, etc).

I think the way to cure dysentry is like many other posters have said, to fix infrastructure.

$ick $cience (5, Insightful)

STDOUBT (913577) | more than 7 years ago | (#15348963)

"...which help people hydrate and lessen the severity and duration of diarrhea attacks, a top killer of children in developing countries" (think of the children!)

You know what helps people hydrate? Water. Clean water and food can prevent diarrhea. All that money going into genetically engineered crops. Why not fix the socio-political problems of these regions so the infrastructures -> people can become healthy?

Oh yeah... no profit in that. Hell's gonna be standing room only.

Re:$ick $cience (1)

mahangu (576268) | more than 7 years ago | (#15348987)

+1 to that.

We're looking at these complicated cures when it would be much simpler to strengthen existing infrastructure and provide these kids with clean water, and functional sanitation. We're engineering crops that might lessen the severity and duration of diarrhea attacks instead of actually doing something that is practical (and proven) in the long term.

R & D is good and all, but when there are existing solutions, why not use them?

Re:$ick $cience (1)

colganc (581174) | more than 7 years ago | (#15348999)

There is plenty of money to be made if those people were healthy and able. If they are healthy and able they will be able to make more money and buy more goods.

Re:$ick $cience (1)

STDOUBT (913577) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349058)

Yeah, and when they are healthy and productive, they'll re-invest in their own communities. Not in some faceless bio-corp.

/cluestick

Re:$ick $cience (3, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349074)

"...which help people hydrate and lessen the severity and duration of diarrhea attacks, a top killer of children in developing countries"(think of the children!)

You know what helps people hydrate? Water. Clean water and food can prevent diarrhea. All that money going into genetically engineered crops.

Oh yeah... no profit in that.

Actually, there's considerable profit in providing infrastructure (I.E. water, and power for food preservation). But, unsurprisingly - a bioengineering firm is promoting bioengineering methods rather than infrastructure.
Why not fix the socio-political problems of these regions so the infrastructures -> people can become healthy?
In many areas the West has tried to do exactly that - but then they are pilloried for meddling where they aren't wanted.

Re:$ick $cience (1)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349099)

In many areas the West has tried to do exactly that - but then they are pilloried for meddling where they aren't wanted.

Oh bollocks. (Do you mean like the US's attempt to free the Iraqi people from enslavement?)

The west is pilloried for supporting authoritarian & repressive regimes all over the world. They are rarely criticized for genuine attempts to help.

Fertile or unfertile, patented or free (5, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#15348970)

That's the questions. Not whether that rice has super-human powers. Is it fertile? Can the farmer put away some of his harvest for next year to plant a new crop or is the outcome of the rice sterile?

If it does, is he allowed to? May he actually plant that rice without a new license for next year? No kidding, some (very popular) sorts cannot be used anymore because the company holding the rights (yes, there is rights and patents on food. Go figure) doesn't allow using it anymore.

This malpractice is getting more and more common to make farmers dependent on industrial seeds.

So that's the questions I'd prefer to have answered. Not what the wonder-rice could be. I'd be interested in the question what it IS.

Re:Fertile or unfertile, patented or free (1)

arrrrg (902404) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349040)

(Playing devil's advocate) Hey, you're always free to use the old, "natural" rice for free, planting it year after year. Shouldn't the biotech companies be able to get return on their investment? Otherwise, they'd sell one year's worth of crops, and that'd be it. Not to mention that "terminator" crops (should) prevent potential issues with GE crops contaminating the natural food supply. (/devil's advocate)

That being said, I heard a story where a guy's crops got pollinated naturally by a neighbor's GE crops, he planted the seeds next year, and then got SUED by the biotech companies for infringement. That's clearly fucked up.

Re:Fertile or unfertile, patented or free (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349068)

It's, as with copyrights, the equilibrium that's out of whack.

Sure, the biogens should have their share. The way it's now, though, farmers become absolutely dependent on them. This is no better than it was in medieval times when peasants were completely dependent on their landlord. Back then, they didn't own the land, today they don't own the seed. The outcome is the same, they don't have full right over their crops, they don't have the rights on what they reap.

And that's fucked up, if you ask me.

Re:Fertile or unfertile, patented or free (1)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349079)

Can the farmer put away some of his harvest for next year to plant a new crop or is the outcome of the rice sterile?

The farmer can't even grow the rice - read the article, the rice is grown in the US, ground up & the protein extracted.

This medicine is destined for rich first worlders, the whole 'think of the 3rd world children' is just to try & get public sympathy for their GM crop.

Re:Fertile or unfertile, patented or free (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349080)

That's the questions. Not whether that rice has super-human powers. Is it fertile? Can the farmer put away some of his harvest for next year to plant a new crop or is the outcome of the rice sterile?

If it does, is he allowed to? May he actually plant that rice without a new license for next year? No kidding, some (very popular) sorts cannot be used anymore because the company holding the rights (yes, there is rights and patents on food. Go figure) doesn't allow using it anymore.

Try actually reading the TFA - this isn't a crop for human cultivation and consumption in the third world. The rice is merely the growth media for medical drugs. The rice is ground up and the proteins extracted and further processed.

Re:Fertile or unfertile, patented or free (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349126)

Sorry, leaping to conclusions myself while leaving out the steps in between. I'll try to cover that now.

The point is that someone has to grow that rice. I doubt the scientists will do it themselves. So some farmer has to plant that stuff. I'm not refering to third world countries (I took it as given that nobody who'd actually need that stuff would ever get his hands on it), I am talking about our farmers, here, in our perfect little high tech world.

Rice, now, by its very nature, is not an "easy" crop. It's very, very labour intensive. Unlike wheat, that you simply sprinkle on the ground and let it grow (more or less...), rice wants to be planted, replanted, most of this done by hand, one plant at a time.

Now, why should I do that, as a farmer, if I don't have the rights to it? The money I could make that way, even if the plant can be sold for a fortune, is minimal compared to the work.

And the price for the medicine would be incredibly high. The question stands, who has the rights to the plants? With this question the question whether it will be affordable to the average person is answered.

It's nice that it's been tested on some kids in Peru. But after the test, they won't ever see that medicine again, ever.

Speaking of rice... (1)

brogdon (65526) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349012)

Does this remind anyone of the Steven Wright line about rice?

"I'm going to court next week. I've been selected for jury duty. It's kind of an insane case -- 6000 ants dressed up as rice and robbed a Chinese restaurant. I don't think they did it."

No ants involved this time around, but still...

I, for one, welcome our sentient grain overlords.

Long Pole in the Tent: Celliac Disease (5, Interesting)

ElitistWhiner (79961) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349030)

1:133 people in the US have Celliac Disease - inability of the gut to absorb nutrient. #1 symptom = Diarhea. Diarhea wipes out the villi in the intestines, which is your body's system for up-taking nutrients from foods as they pass through the gut. No villi - no nutrients:: You Die.

I've seen no study to verify mammary colostrum and human tears have any propolactic effect on villi, but paired with rice its a good starter. Celliac Disease causes the body's immune system to adversely react to a protein found in wheat products - gluten. Celliac's are able eat rice without the toxic effects of other grains.

There is no cure, no treatment, no therapy for Celliac Disease. The only thing that can be done is remove gluten from the diet. The damage to the villi can be reversed in most cases and health maintained with a disciplined gluten-free diet for Life.

The GM rice/human DNA engineered grain could only reverse the death rate in developing countries if the GM DNA provide an immunity. The villi are delicate structures which regenerate all the time in health people. They are wiped out when anyone gets diarhea. That's what diarhea is, loss of villi, medically.

If the GM rice passes immunity to the villi, they have a treatment for every 1:133 American's living with the disease. Not bad market.

diarrhea attacks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15349047)

No wonder Microsoft and Google have stopped advertising here.

GM Rice Bubbles: Snap, Crackle and Mom! (4, Funny)

ian_mackereth (889101) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349065)

But you have to admire a breakfast cereal that comes complete with its own milk.

And if you repeatedly harvest grains with human genes in them, does that make you a cereal killer?

My Philosophy (1)

distantbody (852269) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349136)

It is my philosophy that one positive, fulfilling life is better than ten poor, miserable lives. I, Distantbody, wish sincerely that organizations would STOP prolonging peoples lives if those lives are not likely to utter "contentment" on their deathbed.

This is great !!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15349229)

What we need next is a rice plant that can generate some caffeine in rice.

Yeah, and Starbucks is going to sushi when it does.

Corporate Ethics (1)

nakedforjesus (73005) | more than 7 years ago | (#15349246)

Wow, this totally reminds of that company [wikipedia.org] which markets it's baby formula to the poorest of the poor. Oh wait, what did that article say?

"Ventria hopes to add its protein powder to existing infant products."

I'll grant that their intentions are good but they sure as shit are misplaced. People whose children are dying from diarrhea don't need to go out and buy products that contain protiens to lessen the effects of it. Especially if the use of that product was in some way responsible for their condition.
Despite what the article says I'm sure that the firms selling infant products are very interested in this as it could possibly extend the life of the "consumers", allowing them to consume more. It has already been shown [10thnpc.org.cn] that these companies don't care if some GMO ingredients get mixed in with their products. Especially if this product is to be sold where there are few laws regulating such things and the target market is inadequately educated on basic nutrition let alone GMOs.

Shi7. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15349271)

THINKING ABOUT IT.
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