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Science and mutant anti-diabetes snuff plants

Now, please do not misread that headline. Its well-stocked humidor is, to put it mildly, no help to you in reducing your risk of diabetes. (Nor it is the full red meat fiber and vitamin C, or a glass of good for concentration stout.) And you will not be able to buy diabetes cigars struggle through their online store favorite cigar in the short term.

However, in some fun weird science news, some European researchers have created in the laboratory, a plant genetically modified snuff containing chemicals that fight the major diabetes.

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To be specific, a study led by researchers at the University of Verona (yes, that’s the same Italian city that Shakespeare used as the setting for Romeo and Juliet) has resulted in the growth of a plant snuff full of interleukin-10. This protein reduces inflammation, and therefore may be useful for writing-1 diabetes patients, and victims of other autoimmune diseases that attack the system.

But wait. Since scientists can presumably already synthesize interleukin-10 (and all sorts of other things) in their test tubes, why on earth they are growing plants snuff, full of matter?

Response is the question has to do with molecular farming, a new strategy for drug production that may promise to reduce costs of drug companies. And with the world economy in the form found, strategies for cost reduction look good with any company with an eye on the bottom line – and that means more research dollars for scientists who pursue this interesting line investigation. 2.220 The fact is that complex proteins are expensive to do in a laboratory.


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It costs money to finance energy all day is required to keep lab conditions under control, to pay for stainless steel fermenters in which lab-synthesized proteins must be grown, et cetera. After all, imagine that you were trying to produce, at home, a common, vitamin or mineral nutrient – for example, the chemical lycopene, which makes tomatoes so uniquely healthy. (Waiter, more ketchup, please!) Would it be cheaper to maintain a lab setting-all day in your garage, or just grow a tomato plant in your garden? Nature maintains its own lab, which evolved over millions of years to produce the optimum conditions for each plant. Pharmaceutical companies can save millions, then, if they can beat together a genetically modified mutant plant that once synthesized, grow naturally in the fields, requiring nothing more than sunlight, water, and some loving care (corporate mega-farm style). Even if the resulting plants were grown in a greenhouse, it remains infinitely cheaper than growing proteins in a laboratory.

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But why the snuff? Well, the beloved of cigar smokers also plant is a big favorite with gene scientists. Of all the plants that are commonly -, it is the one that is easier to genetically manipulate and, when a desired mutation is created in a plant, which is also easy to regrow a new plant of snuff from a single cell from the first. For genetic manipulators looking to give evolution a helping hand, these are very convenient features. Tobacco and has played an essential role in crop science, gene science and related fields since their modern creation.

Speaking of snuff, Philip Morris, among others, is encouraging these research results. The company, perhaps sensing that genetically modified medicinal plants could be a profitable new line of band for the child who already has everything, plans to help support a conference on the topic this June in Verona.

But we do not expect to see special smoke, disease-fighting herbal snuff diabetes for sale at your favorite cigar store anytime soon. First, the team’s results are only provisional Verona. The next step will reportedly be experiments to see if consuming the plant helps reduce symptoms of autoimmune diseases in mice. (Who knew that mice receiving autoimmune diseases?) If those results look good, trials with humans are still a long way down the road. Besides that, genetically modified organisms are always patented, so any use of this plant snuff-fighting special disease is limited to companies that contract with companies that have funded this research and (thus) secured its patent. It is this feature of genetically modified foods-which has led to some of the controversies that may remember reading about:

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