Is there a reason why Universities would want to “do a little cheatin’” on the research they run to “confirm” a genetic test? Is there a reason why they might “spin” the information to make it look a little more enticing than it actually is?
The title will lead you to believe that I’m talking about the “illegal” kind of drug. Not so! I’m talkin’ about the kind you go to the pharmacy to have a prescription filled that was signed by a doctor who took years and years of education to be able to fill out that little piece of paper. And then, is that medication you are giving to your dog safe? It’s made by some of the same manufacturers.
For the sake of argument (not to be confused with approval), let’s say that marijuana is legal. For those “illegal” drug users, do you think your marijuana is safe? No official poll has been taken here but I’d but at least 9 out of 10 people would say they think their “pot” is safe, at least right now while it’s an illegal drug. Those that have ever used the “recreational” drug can tell by the smell whether or not it’s the good stuff. There may be a little regular old grass in there to add as filler but generally you can bet that the marijuana that someone risked their life to get to your door is plain old marijuana, naturally grown right in the ground along with those tomatoes and green beans out in the Backyard. I guess these would be known as the Backyard Drug Breeders. Side effects? Well, you’ll probably laugh a lot. BTW: I’m not laughing.
Prescription drug use is most prevalent in people over the age of 50, especially those that are on health insurance. Would you or could you please tell me what is in those little red, green and blue pills? And what about those birth control pills? Do you really know what is in them? I seriously doubt that even 1 in 10 would be able to give me the ingredient list let alone the dangerous side effects that occur by using these Legal drugs.
And so what’s the point?
“Phyllis Frosst, Ph.D.: Interestingly, drugs can alter DNA. It’s part of what makes some environmental toxins so damaging to our bodies. Some drugs can bind to DNA and alter its ability to be translated into mRNA and then into proteins, changing and in many cases damaging, its function.” National Institutes of Health, Human Genome Research website.
Dr. Frosst mentioned environmental toxins capable of damaging our bodies. I’d have to agree. In January of 2010, John Cloud wrote an article title “Why your DNA is not your Destiny”. Very interesting article about epigenetics; the study of changes in gene expression or cellular phenotype, caused by mechanisms other than changes in the underlying DNA sequence. Fancy way of saying changes in your body by your environment, those items around you and those items that are taken into your body.
An example in John Cloud’s article of epigenetics was a mouse experiment: “they conducted an elegant experiment on mice with a uniquely regulated agouti gene a gene that gives mice yellow coats and a propensity for obesity and diabetes when expressed continuously……..without altering the genomic structure of mouse DNA, simply by furnishing B vitamins, Jirtle and Waterland got agouti mothers to produce healthy brown pups that were of normal weight and not prone to diabetes.” And the opposite: “For instance, fruit flies exposed to a drug called geldanamycin show unusual outgrowths on their eyes that can last through at least 13 generations of offspring even though no change in DNA has occurred (and generations 2 through 13 were not directly exposed to the drug).”
Perhaps the cause of certain diseases is a lack of a nutrient in the diet or an environmental toxin through the use of pharmaceuticals (drugs). So if a “disease” can be solved or caused without changing the DNA structure, how can one say that DNA mutations are the cause of disease? The word mutuation automatically brings to mind hands with extra fingers or feet that only have three toes. Completely WRONG! DNA Mutations can be good!
“ALL” Humans, Apes, and Dalmatians have higher uric acid levels than other animals. The benefit? “Oxidative stress can be considered as one of the symptoms of low uric acid leading to atherosclerosis and strokes wherein the oxidants are converted to peroxides as the uric acid levels are low.” So why would the University of California Davis want to eliminate the mutation that enhances uric acid levels in Humans, Apes, and Dalmatians? The spin in the article link to UC Davis that I provided sounds wonderful, but the spin is nothing but that, spin! The gene referred to does not cause urate stones. A high uric acid level can contribute to, not cause, a urate stone. Otherwise, ALL men would experience the pain of child birth by passing urate stones.
Money! Is the reason. Universities make their money by funding and government funding of genetic testing is Huge! A minimum of $8.1 Billion dollars was spent on genetics through the NIH in 2012 alone. This doesn’t even include charities that are formed by the government, corporations (pharmaceutical companies), and private individuals who grant money to private Universities to conduct genetic research.
And why would Universities really want that funding? It’s free money on top of money. The Bayh–Dole Act or Patent and Trademark Law Amendments Act. The key change made by Bayh-Dole was in ownership of inventions made with federal funding. Before the Bayh–Dole Act, federal research funding contracts and grants obligated inventors (where ever they worked) to assign inventions they made using federal funding to the federal government. Bayh-Dole permits a university, small business, or non-profit institution to elect to pursue ownership of an invention in preference to the government.
Universities/Non-Profits not only receive the “free” government funding ($$$$$) to conduct the experiments through “free” labor ($$$$$) by students that pay the University to attend, the University then files for patent or trademark rights ($$$$$$$) and is continually paid for the invention through the public ($$$$$$), again. THIS INCLUDES GENETIC TESTS and TESTS ON DRUGS!
Students that are capable of accomplishing the University’s goal are generally hired as professors. The more “successes” the professor has, the more their pay increases.
Is there a reason why Universities/Professors would want to “do a little cheatin’” on the research they run to “confirm” a genetic test? Is there a reason why they might “spin” the information to make it look a little more enticing than it actually is? Indiana University has over TWO BILLION dollars in its foundation.
Think this doesn’t affect your every life? Think again. This subject is not limited to medical research. Universities make money on every invention a student accomplishes. So would a University have a reason to work with employers to insist that employees have a college education? You can bet your last pill!
Employers/Corporations and Universities work together to get the biggest bang for their buck. Corporations hire Universities to research their ideas and in return, Corporations only hire those that have a college degree in high paying positions. It’s a win-win for them but is it a win for the tax-payer (employee) that has 5-10-20 years of knowledge, no ulterior motive, and no college education? If it is, would someone point that out to me?
“the U.S. Census Bureau report that earnings for people with degrees are three or four times that of people without degrees”. So much for the hands on approach!