NY Man Who Snapped Dog's Spine Gets Year In Prison

A New York man who killed his girlfriend’s dog by snapping its spine has been sentenced to a year behind bars.
Twenty-one-year-old Jonathan King, of Yorktown, was sentenced Tuesday. King has admitted that he killed Libra, a Yorkshire terrier-Maltese mix, in April 2009 by yanking its collar hard enough to dislocate its head from its spine.

Prosecutors say King went to his girlfriend’s house at a time when he knew no one would be home and killed the dog “with no justifiable purpose.”
The dog’s body was found behind a clothes dryer. King was identified when DNA analysis determined that blood found beneath the dog’s claws was his.

Steven Levine, the father of the dog’s owner, says the family considers King “a danger to our family, our community and our society.”

(source)

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Gianni The Gender-Bending Cockerill Starts To Lay Eggs, Baffling Scientists

Gianni started life as a red-blooded rooster and would often wake his Italian owners up crowing on his farm in Tuscany.But when a fox raided Gianni’s enclosure and killed all of the hens inside, Gianni felt it was time for a change.Within days the bird was laying eggs and trying to hatch them as he began his new life as a hen.The sex-change chicken has baffled scientists at the UN’s Farm and Agriculture Organisation, who are now planning to study Gianni’s DNA to see what made him change.

An expert at the centre said: ‘It may be a primitive species survival gene. With all the females gone he could only ensure the future of his line by becoming female.’

Professor Donato Matassino, who will be leading tests on Gianni, said: ‘This rooster-hen will be taken to the laboratories of Consdabi for a series of behavioural and genetic tests.’This will allow us to decipher this bizarre DNA mix up that appears to have literally given what looks like two chickens in one.’Professor Donato said the rooster-hen was transported by train to Naples where the laboratories are based.

(source)

Genetically Modified Super Trout Have 20% More Muscle

Okay, we made up the last bit, but these fish have been altered to grow far more muscular than normal trout:

The bodybuilder stature of the trout comes from turning off myostatin, a protein that normally slows muscle growth. Researchers had known of a natural myostatin mutation that allowed for 20 to 25 percent more muscle growth in Belgian blue cattle, but did not know if the same would apply to the different mechanism of muscle growth in fish.

Terry Bradley, a fisheries and aquaculture expert at the University of Rhode Island, worked with a group of grad students for 500 hours to inject 20,000 rainbow trout eggs with different DNA snippets designed to block myostatin.

About 300 eggs ended up carrying the gene for more muscle growth, and eventually produced fish that mostly have the six-pack ab appearance — even though the fish don’t have standard abdominal muscles. A big dorsal hump adds the appearance of muscular shoulders.

(source)

Pig Lungs Could Soon Be Transplanted Into Humans

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Pig lungs could be transplanted into humans to overcome a shortage of donor organs after a medical breakthrough.Australian scientists have paved the way for animal-human transplants in as little as five years, after keeping pig lungs alive and functioning with human blood.The breakthrough came after scientists at Melbourne’s St Vincent’s Hospital were able to remove a section of pig DNA called the Gal gene, which made the pig organs incompatible with human blood.

Prof Tony D’Apice – who has been breeding pigs for possible transplants since 1989 – said human DNA was added to the engineered animals to control blood clotting and rejection in humans.Dr Glenn Westall, from the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, said the world-first discovery meant pig-human lung transplants were a real prospect.

He said: ‘Five to six hours into the experiment they seemed to be working as well as they were at the start.’The blood went into the lungs without oxygen and came out with oxygen, which is the exact function of the lungs.’It showed that these lungs were working perfectly well and doing as we were expecting them to do.”This is a significant advance compared to experiments that have been performed over the past 20 years.’
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DNA Mechanism That Prevents Two Species From Reproducing Discovered

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When two populations of a species become geographically isolated from each other, their genes
diverge from one another over time.

Cornell researchers have discovered a genetic mechanism in fruit flies that prevents two closely related species from reproducing, a finding that offers clues to how species evolve.
Eventually, when a male from one group mates with a female from the other group, the offspring will die or be born sterile, as crosses between horses and donkeys produce sterile mules. At this point, they have become two distinct species.
Now, Cornell researchers report in the October issue of Public Library of Science Biology (Vol. 7, No. 10) that rapidly evolving “junk” DNA may create incompatibilities between two related species, preventing them from reproducing. In this case, the researchers studied crosses between closely related fruit flies, Drosophila melanogaster and D. simulans. Nearly 100 years ago, scientists discovered that when male D. melanogasters mate with female D. simulans, normal males survive, but the female embryos die.
“It has remained an unsolved problem,” said Patrick Ferree, the paper’s lead author and a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of co-author Daniel Barbash, an assistant professor of molecular biology and genetics. “The question is, what are the elements that are killing these female hybrids and how are they doing that?”
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First DNA Barcodes Of Commonly Traded Bushmeat: New Tool For Tracking Global Trade In Wildlife

wildlife trade pic

Leather handbags and chunks of red meat: when wildlife specialists find these items in shipping containers, luggage, or local markets, they can now use newly published genetic sequences known as “DNA barcodes” to pinpoint the species of origin. Experts hope that this simple technique will track the harvesting of bushmeat (or wildlife hunted largely in Asia, South and Central America, and Africa) and will ultimately crack down on the widespread and growing international trade in bushmeat, a market estimated to be worth as much as $15 billion in 2008.

According to a paper published in the early online edition of Conservation Genetics (DOI 10.1007/s10592-009-9967-0), barcodes can ably and quickly distinguish among a large number of commercially traded species, so that a handbag is identified as caiman or Nile crocodile, and the meat as duiker or mangabey.
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From Woof To Warhol! Turn Your Pet's DNA Into Modern Art

DNA ART

First it was diamonds made from pet DNA. Then 3-D paintings fashioned from pet remains. And now, one company is offering to display your pet’s DNA in the form of modern art.

It all started when Nazim Ahmed, a salesman for a biotech firm, offered to show pal Adrian Salamunovic what his DNA looked like on paper. After taking a quick cheek swab, several weeks later Ahmed brought him the image — and an idea was born. “We both thought, ‘This is pretty cool,’ ” Salamunovic tells PEOPLE Pets. “To me, the DNA on paper looked like modern art.”

The inspired pair then created the company DNA 11 (representing the two spiraling strands of DNA) as friends and family members began requesting portraits of their DNA. But an unlikely client base began forming. “People started coming to us asking for portraits of their pet’s DNA, which we never expected,” says Salamunovic, a former web consultant. “We’ve done so many now: dogs, cats, horses and even a Bengal tiger.” And despite only beginning to advertise pet portraits recently — “That’s my dog Bosley on the site!” Salamunovic gushes — they’ve been a huge portion of DNA 11’s business since its inception in 2005.
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