Short Science, April 20, 2014

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 April, 2014, 5:53am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 April, 2014, 5:53am

Brazilian goat produces disease-fighting milk

Scientists in Brazil have genetically modified a goat to produce milk with an enzyme to treat a rare genetic disorder, the newspaper O Estado de Sao Paulo reported. The goat, named Gluca, is the first of its kind in South America. It has been genetically modified to produce the enzyme glucocerebrosidase. Gaucher's disease is a rare human genetic condition caused by hereditary deficiency of that enzyme. People with Gaucher's - which can manifest itself with fatigue, bruising, anemia, low blood platelets and an enlarged liver and spleen - often are treated with drugs and bone marrow transplants but still face pain and often poor long-range health prospects. AFP


Less salt, fewer stroke and heart deaths

A 15 per cent reduction in salt consumption was probably "an important contributor" to a 40 per cent reduction in stroke and heart disease deaths in the last decade in England. The "single largest" contribution to the decline in deaths was a decrease in blood pressure, researchers said. Smoking and blood cholesterol also declined over the 2003 to 2011 period. Produce consumption and body mass index rose. At the same time, there were improvements in treatment for high blood pressure and heart disease, according to the online British Medical Journal Open. The British government in 2003 began a programme to get companies gradually to reduce the salt levels in processed foods. Since the start of that programne, salt intake had fallen by 1.4 grams a day. MCT


France bans all GM maize cultivation

France's lower house of parliament last week adopted a law prohibiting the cultivation of any variety of genetically modified maize, saying it posed a risk to the environment. France last month decreed a halt to planting Monsanto's insect-resistant MON810 maize, the only GM crop allowed for cultivation in the European Union. The law also applies to any strain adopted at the EU level in future, including Pioneer 1507, developed by DuPont and Dow Chemical. Reuters