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Creating Prion-Free Cows

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the un-mad-cows dept.

Biotech 340

Science Daily is reporting that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is reporting positive results from a recent study designed to create genetically engineered prion-free cattle. From the article: "ARS studied eight Holstein males that were developed by Hematech Inc., a pharmaceutical research company based in Sioux Falls, S.D. The evaluation of the prion-free cattle was led by veterinary medical officer Juergen Richt of ARS' National Animal Disease Center (NADC) in Ames, Iowa. The evaluation revealed no apparent developmental abnormalities in the prion-free cattle."

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Dead sheeps (5, Insightful)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430186)

This is great! Now we can go back to feeding the cows a healthy diet of dead sheep, which was how the whole "mad cow" thing started.

Re:Dead sheeps (4, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430208)

Actually, that is not proven. It it THOGUGHT that scrapies is the same as Madcow ( and MC CWD CJD), but they are not certain. But even with that, I want to know how accurate is the test these days? It is great that they did not have any positive in what was suppose to be negative cattle. But will they get a good positive in an infected animal?

Dead cows as well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17430268)

Not only dead sheep, but also dead cows! Another hypothesis was the spontaneous appearance of the new variant in a cow that went into the food chain of the cattle. Actually cattle was just doing cannibalism...

Re:Dead sheeps (2, Informative)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430462)

Well, Chronic Wasting Disease [wikipedia.org] has managed to do a number on deer without anyone feeding sheep to deer - so don't be so certain about the origin of mad cow. It might have spontaneously occurred in cattle populations, or there might be some other vector.

For what it's worth, soybean meal is the primary protein source for cattle in the US, and it has been for a long time. IIRC, Europe was the only place where they had to grind up sheep and cows for protein because soybeans don't grow very well there in general.

Or dead people (4, Interesting)

giafly (926567) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430486)

In 2005 a controversial paper in The Lancet introduced a theory that BSE might have originated in British cattle when they ate imported animal feed that included infected human remains from Hindu funeral ceremonies in India.
Bovine spongiform encephalopathy [wikipedia.org]

This theory has some merit because scrapie from sheep does not appear to infect people, whereas BSE from cattle does.

Soylent Green... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17430624)

...is tasty!

In all seriousness, you make a good point. BSE was first spotted among the cannibals of Papua New Guinea (where eating of the dead was a sign of respect).

http://www.gwinnettdailyonline.com/GDP/archive/art icleEEF238D9C90E4B2989F5E473D3145A16.asp [gwinnettdailyonline.com]

Here are a ton of articles on BSE & vCJD:

http://www.newscientist.com/channel/health/bse [newscientist.com]

Re:Or dead people (1)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | more than 7 years ago | (#17431142)

n 2005 a controversial paper in The Lancet introduced a theory that BSE might have originated in British cattle when they ate imported animal feed that included infected human remains from Hindu funeral ceremonies in India.

This is true but somewhat misleading. If people follow your link (thanks for that), they'll see that the Wikipedia article politely calls this "conjecture" and says that it needs follow up research. I'd say there's a heavy emphasis on the word might here.

Re:Dead sheeps (4, Funny)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430662)

Why yes, they should have been feeding live sheep to cows...

Re:Dead sheeps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17430848)

Either that, or someone disliked india and made up a story.

That is one solution... (4, Insightful)

abscissa (136568) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430188)

... or you could just not feed them parts of their dead relatives?

Re:That is one solution... (4, Insightful)

Oswald (235719) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430252)

Isn't it encouraging to know that, while your solution works in theory, it's not good enough in practice because you can't trust people not to do that.

Doesn't seem that hard, really, but people are pretty stupid.

It would be easy to fix (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17430360)

The farmers feed the cows RENDERED cow feed made in big factories. It's very easy to stop the factories rendering down cows and sheep into protein supplements.

Even a break of feeding rendered meat for 1 complete cow generation would clear the contamination out.

The problem is the renderers have a strong lobby group and want to continue the practice, however unsafe, so they got a compromise. Instead they promise to only feed dead cows and sheep that were healthy. So they continue to feed infected meat to cows, just as long as the prion infection was at a too early stage to be detected. The US executive branch has gone along with this 'voluntary' code and practically no inspections are made to check it's being done.

It's why I don't eat US beef, because the US views the problem as something to fix in the PR dept., not something to fix on the farm.

Yet it's so trivial to fix, switch to vegetation based protein supplements for 1 generation of cattle, and poof the problems gone.

Re:It would be easy to fix (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430452)

Yet it's so trivial to fix, switch to vegetation based protein supplements for 1 generation of cattle, and poof the problems gone.


The fix you propose cannot be patented; too much prior art and too obvious.

. . . or can it?

Re:It would be easy to fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17430618)

Patented??

I'm not sure what you mean, cows have always eaten grass for protein. This problem was caused by supplementing their feed with rendered protein supplement from sheep and cow. The disease crossed from sheep to cow and to man. There's almost nothing to suggest cow to baby cow contamination occurs, and if it does waiting a generation to see if the baby cow has it is enough. So it's enough to switch back to vegetable protein for 1 generation to clear it out.

WHOOOOOOSH! (1)

Aurisor (932566) | more than 7 years ago | (#17431172)

Dear AC parent:

WHOOOOOOSH!

Re:That is one solution... (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430782)


it's not good enough in practice because you can't trust people not to do that.

Farmers don't just cut up some cow and feed it to another cow. They buy feed from the local distributor, and often times don't even know what's in the feed. The distributor gets it from a large manufacturer. It's pretty hard for the large manufacturers to hide it if they're putting cow into cow feed.

The current small number of mad cow incidents results from old feed fed to cows years ago (or at least it can be traced to old feed). Manufacturers were too cheap and probbably weren't required to destroy all the old potentially contaminated feed. The point is that bans DO work, they just should have been more complete and might even now have some holes in them. (I seem to remember someone complaining about not enough restrictions).

There is good news though. It's quite hard to get the human form of BSE from eating infected cow meat. In the UK during the 80s there were hundreds of thousands of infected cattle, and only 160 recorded cases of vJCD (the human form of mad cow).

That is one solution...Namecalling. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17430902)

"Doesn't seem that hard, really, but people are pretty stupid."

Do you exclude yourself from that statement, as a matter of habit?

Re:That is one solution... (5, Informative)

Miksu77 (768588) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430296)

Or you could take the road us Finns have taken: Nowadays each and every cow that dies here is tested and not a single piece of a particular animal may be used to produce food unless that animal has been tested.

Re:That is one solution... (2, Insightful)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430354)

Yes, but the Finns have a government that serves the people.

Re:That is one solution... (1)

RvLeshrac (67653) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430890)

IT'S A COOKBOOK!!!

Re:That is one solution... (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430710)

>... or you could just not feed them parts of their dead relatives?

Yep, that would be pretty logical, considering that cows are vegetarians and should never be eating other animals, anyway. You could come up with some interesting sayings:

"People don't let cows eat people"
"Cows don't let cows eat cows"
"People don't let cows eat cows"
"Cows don't let people let cows eat people or cows"

It is kinda humorous- cows eating people! My solution is that I just don't eat cows or pigs :)

Re:That is one solution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17430806)

...or you could just not feed them parts of their dead relatives?

I see your point... Eating cows does seem rather vile.

It might be in better taste to let the material go to waste, even if a protien is just a protien. Cows ought to go vegetarian: A healthy diet of fresh vegetation and soy meat-substitutes. Yeah.. That should keep costs down.

Re:That is one solution... (1)

poser101 (982233) | more than 7 years ago | (#17431104)

Good point. So, when your mother dies, maybe you can just eat her remains after the funeral. After all, a protein is just a protein. Better not let her go to waste. ;-)

--
Vegetarian

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=d (2, Informative)

M0b1u5 (569472) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430192)

I confess; I had to look up what a prion is.
I'm so embarrassed.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=define%3A +prions%3F&btnG=Search [google.com]

Re:http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=& (4, Funny)

wantobe (626056) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430206)

Oh, that was "prion"? I was trying to figure out how cows were getting "pron", and why we'd want to take it away from them anyway.

Re:http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=& (2, Funny)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430596)

A google search will tell you, but so will the fucking article.

*sigh*

Its posts like these that make me consider moving to digg.

Re:http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=& (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17431136)

A google search will tell you, but so will the fucking article.
Take one your pills to calm down. That's why the nice doctor prescribed them.

*sigh*
Now, isn't that better?

Its posts like these that make me consider moving to digg.
You will be missed.

Prions & Scientologist (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17431156)

Prions are those things Scientologist have been warning us about.

If we flush them all out, we are much healthier.

Had to look it up (2, Informative)

antic (29198) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430200)

From Wikipedia: "a type of infectious agent made only of protein."

"Mad cow disease" is a prion disease.

Re:Had to look it up (1)

Rosyna (80334) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430318)

A "common" form of prion disease in humans is due to Cannibalism. I can't wait until they do an episode of House where that's the cause. I so nailed the Chimerism [wikipedia.org] in that one episode as soon as the bleeding disorder had completely different results.

Re:Had to look it up (1)

cliffski (65094) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430602)

That sounds very certain. I was told that BSE is 'probably' a prion disease. I thought they aren't 100% certain about that yet. This is what my missus told me, and she is doing research into BSE in the UK. Interestingly, she said she wouldn't eat these animals (with the prions removed). I wouldn't either. Until a scientist can explain with 100% certainty and accuracy exactly what something does, I'm not happy with them artificially adding it or removing it from stuff I eat. By all means research the stuff more, and by all means use some cutting edge science for stuff like laptops, mp3 players and cars, but I'd rather *not* be an 'early adopter' tech-wise, when it relates to stuff I actually put inside my body and absorb.

Abnormal prions cause BSE (4, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430214)

or Mad Cow Disease for those of you like myself who had no idea what the headline was about.

The actual article headline "Mad Cow Breakthrough?" really should have been followed by a story about mad cow scientists were developing a doomsday weapon to destroy humanity, or that mad cow armies were breaking through our outer defense perimeter or some such. Would have been much more interesting.

I, for one... (0, Redundant)

MaineCoon (12585) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430228)

... welcome our not-so-mad cow overlords.

Re:I, for one... (0, Redundant)

erlehmann (1045500) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430284)

... am waiting for stories on slashdot about genetically altered humans, who cannot get a common cold or something like that.

"I for one, welcome our human immune-to-common-cold overlords."

[x] Downright scary.
[ ] Funny.

Mooooo (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17430236)

Mooooooooo!

New cows? (2, Funny)

jackharrer (972403) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430244)

What is so new in those cows? Two heads? Fallout style?

Re:New cows? (1)

Simon Garlick (104721) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430272)

Wouldn't it be better to just, y'know, get to work on creating prion-free PEOPLE?

Re:New cows? (2, Insightful)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430606)

Not until we know the full effects it has in animals.

What about the positive effects of the prions? (5, Interesting)

tade (156618) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430270)

Wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prion [wikipedia.org] mentions this article http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=p ubmed&cmd=Retrieve&dopt=AbstractPlus&list_uids=159 31169&query_hl=6&itool=pubmed_DocSum [nih.gov] that mentions the prions in relation with long term memory. I wonder how well they tested the cows without the prions. (Abstract below)

Changes in protein conformation drive most biological processes, but none have seized the imagination of scientists and the public alike as have the self-replicating conformations of prions. Prions transmit lethal neurodegenerative diseases by means of the food chain. However, self-replicating protein conformations can also constitute molecular memories that transmit genetic information. Here, we showcase definitive evidence for the prion hypothesis and discuss examples in which prion-encoded heritable information has been harnessed during evolution to confer selective advantages. We then describe situations in which prion-enciphered events might have essential roles in long-term memory formation, transcriptional memory and genome-wide expression patterns.

You've been eating too much beef (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17430708)

That's the PRIONs 'memory' you're talking about. It has a good memory that replicates whether its Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) prion or a Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). Not our memory!

I think you've been eating too much beef.

Re:What about the positive effects of the prions? (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430740)

It's not clear from the abstract (and you don't seem to be able to access the paper itself, not that I'd really understand it), but I assume that they're not talking about transmitting genetic information via the food chain, or that prion ingestion (or lack thereof) affects human long-term memory.

Assuming it's the memory of the animal itself, why would food producers care? These animals don't need to remember much more than how to mill around in a field for a while eating before being lead off to slaughter.

(Note that I don't necessarily condone that sort of an attitude; we may be breeding them specifically to eat them, but that's no reason not to make the animal's lives as comfortable as practicable)

And the C O W G O E S (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17430364)

.

Moooooooooooooooooooooo

.

Use the Preview Button! Check those URLs!

Think about the superheroes! (1)

prionic6 (858109) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430378)

Me and my fellow group, the PRIONIC SIX, strongly oppose this development.

-- prionic6

Mad? (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430400)

ARS, with assistance from researchers at Hematech and the University of Texas, evaluated the cattle using careful observation, post-mortem examination of two of the animals ...I'd be livid!

Cow, are you mad? (1)

CapitalT (987101) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430410)

Answer [rmcclain.com]

Re:Cow, are you mad? (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430892)

Cow, are you mad?
Cow: Of course not. I'm a chicken.

A better idea (0, Offtopic)

OriginalArlen (726444) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430432)

Prion-free cows have already been invented; they're called vegetables. I've been veggie for about 10 years now (since reading a study in the Lancet or BMJ - I forget which - reporting a massive 40-year longitudinal study of a very large sample, 100,000 or so IIRC, showing vegetarians lived 10-15% longer (controlling for other factors like smoking, alcohol, social-economic status etc.)

Since then I've found other reasons not to eat meat, namely a feeling that the animals would probably prefer not to be eaten, the environmental stuff, yadda yadda. But I'm basically selfish :)

Re:A better idea (2, Funny)

Cederic (9623) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430454)


I'd rather eat meat and die young. Pigs taste good.

As for environmental factors, the planet will do just fine all by itself. Until the sun explodes and destroys it, so I guess we'd better build some big engines.

Re:A better idea (0)

Mr. Capris (839522) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430756)

Pigs taste good.

Shamelessly lifted from imdb: a Pulp Fiction quote.

Vincent: Want some bacon?
Jules: No man, I don't eat pork.
Vincent: Are you Jewish?
Jules: Nah, I ain't Jewish, I just don't dig on swine, that's all.
Vincent: Why not?
Jules: Pigs are filthy animals. I don't eat filthy animals.
Vincent: Bacon tastes gooood. Pork chops taste gooood.
Jules: Hey, sewer rat may taste like pumpkin pie, but I'd never know 'cause I wouldn't eat the filthy motherfucker. Pigs sleep and root in shit. That's a filthy animal. I ain't eat nothin' that ain't got enough sense enough to disregard its own feces.
Vincent: How about a dog? Dogs eats its own feces.
Jules: I don't eat dog either.
Vincent: Yeah, but do you consider a dog to be a filthy animal?
Jules: I wouldn't go so far as to call a dog filthy but they're definitely dirty. But, a dog's got personality. Personality goes a long way.
Vincent: Ah, so by that rationale, if a pig had a better personality, he would cease to be a filthy animal. Is that true?
Jules: Well we'd have to be talkin' about one charmin' motherfuckin' pig. I mean he'd have to be ten times more charmin' than that Arnold on Green Acres, you know what I'm sayin'?

Re:A better idea (0, Troll)

nurmr (773394) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430544)

I've been veggie for about 5 years now. I feel healthier, better, less sick, etc, etc, etc... whatever the reason. As far as I'm concerned there are more reasons to not eat meat, than there are reasons to be vegetarian.
Those meatarians out there should give life a long good look as decide how do I want to enjoy life: quick and painfull (and ignorant), or slow and healthy.

Re:A better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17430700)

Those meatarians out there should give life a long good look as decide how do I want to enjoy life: quick and painfull (and ignorant), or slow and healthy.

Perhaps it is you who are "ignorant" of the fact that the human body is built around an omnivorous diet.

Oh, I don't know about that... (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430886)

I can't help but think it's more than a coincidence that most of the vegetarians and all of the vegans I know always look skinny and underfed, and seem to be allergic to lots of things. They also seem to be ill with something nearly all the time. I don't know if anyone else has noticed, but vegans tend to have a particularly unhealthy pallor, a kind of pale shiny skin thing going on.

Re:Oh, I don't know about that... (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430956)


I don't know if anyone else has noticed, but vegans tend to have a particularly unhealthy pallor, a kind of pale shiny skin thing going on.

They probbably aren't getting all the amino acids their body requires. If you don't eat meat it's a bit more difficult to make sure you're getting all the essential amino acids your body can't manufacture on it's own. Most vegetarians or vegans are ignorant when it comes to understanding nutrition, they just up and decide that they're not going to eat meat but don't change their diets to make sure they're getting the right nutrition to replace what they're missing in their diet.

Re:Oh, I don't know about that... (1)

ElleyKitten (715519) | more than 7 years ago | (#17431106)

They probbably aren't getting all the amino acids their body requires. If you don't eat meat it's a bit more difficult to make sure you're getting all the essential amino acids your body can't manufacture on it's own.
Flaxseed has several times the amino acids of any animal product. Soy foods are also usually fortified with any nuitrients a vegan can't get from fresh vegetables. It's not all that difficult to find what you need without eating meat.

Most vegetarians or vegans are ignorant when it comes to understanding nutrition, they just up and decide that they're not going to eat meat but don't change their diets to make sure they're getting the right nutrition to replace what they're missing in their diet.
Change that to most people are ignorant when it comes to understanding nutrition, they just up and eat whatever's in front of them without thinking. As for vegetarians, unless their idea of going vegetarian is going from hamburger and fries and soda to more fries and soda, it's not hard for them to eat healthier than their omnivore peers.

Re:Oh, I don't know about that... (1)

Mike89 (1006497) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430958)

I can't help but think it's more than a coincidence that most of the vegetarians and all of the vegans I know always look skinny and underfed, and seem to be allergic to lots of things. They also seem to be ill with something nearly all the time. I don't know if anyone else has noticed, but vegans tend to have a particularly unhealthy pallor, a kind of pale shiny skin thing going on.
It could also be that they chose to be vegan because they were already sick quite a lot and found that meat didn't help their situation. I mean, I eat meat (I could REALLY go some bacon right now ;)), but I also have a strange digestive system that so far has failed to be fixed. If eating no meat would help, I'd probably give it a shot too. But, for now *goes to find some bacon*.

Re:Oh, I don't know about that... (1)

ElleyKitten (715519) | more than 7 years ago | (#17431048)

I can't help but think it's more than a coincidence that most of the vegetarians and all of the vegans I know always look skinny and underfed, and seem to be allergic to lots of things.
I wish vegetarianism made me skinny. I've been a vegetarian since I was 13, and I've had to fight with my weight ever since I graduated high school (same with every woman in my family, damn genetics). Everyone always thinks of vegetarians/vegans as being really skinny, but I've meet a lot of vegetarians and vegans and we're no skinnier than anyone else.

Ever thought of changing diet? (1)

cheros (223479) | more than 7 years ago | (#17431192)

Logically it appears changing diet is the one thing you haven't tried. Maybe you're the one to discover your family is genetically of a blood group A, protein dependent stock..

Alternatively, you may be like me. I've spent the last few weeks working away at the a project, nil exercise. The result is that I'll have to work quite hard as soon as this is over, before there's no difference in width between my shoulders and my gut :-). I need exercise, even if it's just walking outside for an hour..

Happy New Year ..

Re:Oh, I don't know about that... (1)

benzapp (464105) | more than 7 years ago | (#17431160)

In the case of vegans, this is almost always due to zinc deficiency. They actually given injections of zinc to cattle to make their skin shine and the meat have a healthier glow. Does the same thing to people.

Zinc is only really abundant in certain nuts - hazelnuts and brazil nuts in particular.

So if you're a vegan, eat them nuts.

Re:A better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17430610)

Just try some mad cow infected meat and you too can become a vegetable!!

Was vegan but got tied of green piss (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17430694)

Green piss.That ain't right.I always say,if god didn't want me to eat meat,he wouldn't have made it taste so good.

That's great, but... (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430858)

... it doesn't work everywhere. I'd rather eat a certain amount of meat which I can produce locally, than buy in lots of vegetables that I can't. Not all farmland is arable.

Re:A better idea (1)

arkhan_jg (618674) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430930)

It's somewhat of a self-selecting group though; in order to sustain being a vegetarian, you need a better overall knowledge of nutrition that your average person. It's perfectly possible to eat a balanced proper diet including meat, in fact it's probably easier to get the right amount of protein that way - but it's also a lot easier to have a fat-filled life of lard, burger and sausages than as a vegetarian. Bad nutrition does indeed lead to a shorter lifespan.

Still, as you say, there's other good reasons to be a vegetarian and i've no doubt that veggies do have much better nutrition than average.

Re:A better idea (1)

aXis100 (690904) | more than 7 years ago | (#17431166)

"i've no doubt that veggies do have much better nutrition than average."

I'm not trying to be unhelpfull, but nearly every vegetarian I've known looks like death warmed over.

Sort-of a wash... (2, Funny)

Civil_Disobedient (261825) | more than 7 years ago | (#17431012)

showing vegetarians lived 10-15% longer

Yeah, but smug self-satisfaction knocks about 10% off the lifespan, provided you're not punched by an offended meat-eater beforehand. So it's basically a wash.

Re:A better idea (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 7 years ago | (#17431046)

Many plants are full of "natural" toxins and pesticides. I just bought some dried beans and my cookbook warned that they would make me very sick if they were not cooked properly, which destroys the toxins.

A challenge to you (1)

Aero (98829) | more than 7 years ago | (#17431096)

My fiancee and I would like to reduce the amount of meat in our diet. However, she has a severe allergy to nutritionally significant amounts of soy protein (especially tofu), and a serious (but not as severe) allergy to most other legumes (peanuts being least serious, but even then, she could not subsist on peanut protein alone). How would she go about getting the proper amounts and kinds of protein into her diet without soy or legumes?

She has asked this question of vegans and vegetarians in the past. The usual response has been on the lines of "go away, troll", as they think that she's just presenting them with an impossible situation in order to justify her eating of meat. If there is a reasonable answer, we would genuinely love to hear it.

Yes! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17430450)

Now I can eat cow-brain again!

What is a prion-free cow? (1)

riker1384 (735780) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430474)

Don't they usually start out without prions? You have to infect them. I went cow-shopping and I remember prions were strictly an option. They should call these "prion-proof cattle."

Let the Luddite outburst begin! (1)

Lurker2288 (995635) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430528)

"Oh nos! Genetically modified aminals! What if they get into the food supply?! DO YOU WANT TO HAVE A BABY WITH TWO HEADS?!?!?! You can't predict what might happen so don't let the evil government/corporations/boogeymen use us as their GM guinea pigs!"

Let the patent outburst begin! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17430810)

A bigger worry is the fact that a company (read capitalism) will be holding the patents on our food supply. Much like what big agra has on corn, soybeans, etc.

Re:Let the Luddite outburst begin! (1)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 7 years ago | (#17431206)

Foolish person. The way to fix babies with two heads is by genetically modifying them. (Which probably IS the next step after you have playing around with fruits and veggies and then moved up to animals.)

New study! (2, Interesting)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430562)

So how long until we get a new study that says Prions were indeed good things, and should have been left in our meat.

From TFA: "Prions are proteins that are naturally produced in animals."

Hmm... Removing natural things... Nope, doesn't sound like a good idea to me. I just can't wait until they find out that Prions actually helped prevent cancer or something and everyone on the planet now has a timebomb in their body.

Seriously, they'd better do some SERIOUS studies on this before feeding this crap to me.

Re:New study! (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430626)

Hmm... Removing natural things... Nope, doesn't sound like a good idea to me.
You do realise tumors are natural, right?

Seriously, they'd better do some SERIOUS studies on this before feeding this crap to me.
Why not simply enforce strict guidelines for packaging and informing customers (for butchers who don't package it in anything except free bags and brown paper bags)?

Re:New study! (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430844)

The common cold is natural, too. In fact, everything is 'natural' if you want to define it that way.

Tumors are the body destroying itself. It may be 'natural', but it's not helpful at all to the organism.

Prions... Well, we dunno wtf they are, except that they are a protein. Proteins were good things, last I checked, and your body needs many, many different ones to function. Until they know what it does and doesn't do, they'd be fools to release prion-free beef onto the market.

Re:New study! (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430910)


Prions... Well, we dunno wtf they are, except that they are a protein.

So you don't know what they are, but you're suddenly making predictions about how we shouldn't "mess with them" because they might be important?

Prions are miss-folded proteins. Your body doesn't need miss-folded proteins. In fact your body doesn't need proteins directly at all, it needs certain amino acids that it can't make on it's own. Proteins are constructed from amino acids.

Re:New study! (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430936)

Read it again, troll. I said we need to determine what they do first. I didn't predict anything. I simply stated that they'd be fools to mess with things they don't know anything about yet. That's pretty much 'common sense'.

Re:New study! (2, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430994)


I simply stated that they'd be fools to mess with things they don't know anything about yet.

See, the thing is we actually DO know a lot about nutrition and proteins. At the very least we know that prions provides us nothing we need in our diet. It sounds like you're the one that knows nothing about it. In the future I'd suggest not talking about things you know nothing about.

Re:New study! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17430920)

Actually, we know what prions do. Prions are a class of protiens that are technically enzymes or catalysts: contact with them "breaks" other proteins and twists them into a new shape.

We have a pretty good idea that the human body kind of needed the protein that BSE prions break.

Re:New study! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17430814)

To whomever modded parent up: You are an idiot.

Natural things can be bad. Shit is natural, but I'm not going to eat it.

Prions do help prevent cancer. Because if you eat infected cow you'll die before you get the chance. Posting like a moron is one thing--but getting modded up? Please!

Re:New study! (1, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430832)


Hmm... Removing natural things... Nope, doesn't sound like a good idea to me.

If you believe natural==good, I'd suggest a nice big bowl of anthrax this morning. It's 100% natural, so it must be in some way good for you, right? You could also eat some nice castor beans, which contain one of the most toxic poisons known as ricin. The feces in cows is also 100% natural, so you'll probbably get some disease from not eating that, right?

If you think that "messing with nature" is a bad thing, you should probbably stop eating entirely. We've been using selective breeding techniques on basically our entire food supply for thousands of years.

*Puts on tin-foil hat* (1)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430620)

As some other posters noted, these prions improve/allow memory. One must wonder, if they can do this with cattle, how long it is until they figure out how to do it to humans...

/tinfoilhat

Re:*Puts on tin-foil hat* (0)

_Shorty-dammit (555739) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430712)

figure out how to do what? And what's the tin-foil hat for?

Re:*Puts on tin-foil hat* (1)

Mike89 (1006497) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430968)

figure out how to do what?
Remove our prions, I think he means.
and what's the tin-foil hat for?
We MIGHT be without memory! Wait, there's already alcohol for that. Happy New Years

Re:*Puts on tin-foil hat* (0, Offtopic)

_Shorty-dammit (555739) | more than 7 years ago | (#17431026)

yes, my post was a bad joke about losing memory :P

Re:*Puts on tin-foil hat* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17430758)

The 04 US presidential elections prove they already have developed this.

Mmmm, Mmmmm. The General's Fried Chicken! (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430762)

Didn't they make a movie about that?

No, I guess that was mind control. Black power, Brother!

Re:*Puts on tin-foil hat* (2, Informative)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#17431086)

That means data encoded in the prions, not the memory of the organism containing them. PrPSc is not conductive to your long-term memory since it causes brain death.

mmm, prions (0, Offtopic)

_Shorty-dammit (555739) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430660)

erggggghlglghgallgglhgggl

Tube Steak Precursor (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17430754)

An important point is that a lot of work on artificial/cultured muscle research is dependent on using fluids derived from cows as a growth medium, both from a compatibility and cost standpoint. However, a large barrier to commercial artificial meat research/production is keeping that fluid free of prions both in a small lab setting as well as in industrial quantities. This is the reason why when those scientists cultured meat and cooked it, they weren't allowed to eat it due to prion safety.

If they can sucessfully remove prion issues, then commercial artificial meat is a real possibility (though those issues dissappear once the culture medium fluid can be reliably and cost effectively made through wholely artificial means).

I for one welcome our vat-grown meat progenitors.

Re:Tube Steak Precursor (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#17431098)

Wouldn't cooking at sufficient temperatures denature the prions and thereby render them harmless? Just don't eat your steak rare.

No more mad cow disease! (1)

blankoboy (719577) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430760)

....but in it's place will despressed and miserable cow disease.

Beautiful! (0, Offtopic)

superswede (729509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430804)

Beautiful!

Two reactions - 1 cynical, 1 wistful (3, Insightful)

punterjoe (743063) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430818)

I too wondered why "big science" would try to come up with a way to create cattle that can still be fed 'cannibal chow' without getting sick, instead of just changing the feed to something healthy, when I realised there are no IP licensing rights for natural, healthy cattle. This 'super cow' is surely patentable :(
    My other disappointment is that so much time & resourcefulness was spent on this rather than a way to prevent prion diease from taking it's toll on the untold people who have eaten infected 'industrial-beef' through fast food & other sources but won't show symptoms for many years.

CJD a friend (1)

zakeria (1031430) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430934)

my friend died a few years ago with this terrible disease, did it stop me from eating beef ... only until i reliesed i cant avoid the stuff..

"no apparent developmental abnormalities" (2, Interesting)

gweihir (88907) | more than 7 years ago | (#17430978)

If that does not sound like wishful thinking, I don't know what does. Also keep in mind that they have a really strong interest in not finding anything....

The end result? (1)

callistra.moonshadow (956717) | more than 7 years ago | (#17431004)

What is concerning is that it's great that they have removed the coding for the cows to create Prions. It's even amazing that thus far they are healthy and alive. What is a bit worrisome is that we do not know what potential for other diseases or impacts may result from modifying the genetic code of a creature that evolved that code over tens of thousands of years. We cannot see this as a panacea. Prions may have been there at some point for a reason. Perhaps not. I'm not trying to be a Luddite, but I would be cautious before jumping for joy.

Cally

More MPG? (2, Funny)

Kennon (683628) | more than 7 years ago | (#17431076)

Isn't Prion the name of that hybrid fuel car from Toyota? I didn't think it was big enough to drive cows around in anyway...

to ensure a creature has no prions... (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#17431080)

wouldn't you have to ensure it has no proteins of any type.

Now, if the article title/blurb said "no mad-cow prions", I wouldn't be so picky, but this said no prions, without qualifier.

"Aye, the cow aint got no prions! 'course 'ees dead, but thar be no prions in that thar cow!"

(yes, I read TFA, I know they meant mad-cow prions, not prions in general).

All prions are proteins .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17431170)

but not all proteins are prions.

So no, you would not have to eliminate all proteins to eliminate all priors. New prions are very very rarely created, there are only a few known ones.

Re:All prions are proteins .... (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#17431214)

only a few /known/.

That's the key factor here. With out current knowledge/tech, prions are still a challange to verify. Additionally, we are not sure which proteins would have stable conformations that would make them prions. Therefore, with our tech as it is now, we would have to eliminate all proteins.
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