Saturday, September 8, 2012

Our Vulnerable Genome

Chris Busby's latest interview can be viewed here

I agree with Busby and I disagree with him.

I agree that we are destroying our DNA with many types of radiological assaults and we may have already compromised our future beyond repair. 

Atmospheric testing, medical imaging, tritium from nuclear power plants, radiological weapons and DU deployed by the US in the Middle East, Chernobyl, and all the electronic devices we are surrounded by are, I'm convinced with Busby, compromising our genetic code.

I disagree with Busby on US fallout. I believe that Fukushima fallout in the US has been significant enough to cause ecological changes and to affect human health.

The evidence for my belief is based in the empirical studies of xenon-levels in the Pacific Northwest at 400,000 background, the EPA radnet charts, and the anomalies I've cataloged and documented on this blog.

I'm not implying that Fukushima has produced as much fallout as the entirety of atmospheric testing. Recall that Alvarez stated:
"The total spent reactor fuel inventory at the Fukushima-Daichi site contains nearly half of the total amount of Cs-137 estimated by the NCRP to have been released by all atmospheric nuclear weapons testing, Chernobyl, and world-wide reprocessing plants (~270 million curies or ~9.9 E+18 Becquerel)." (cited at Akio Matsumura

But Fukushima doesn't have to exceed atmospheric testing to cause more obvious health problems than the myriad problems and deaths caused by those tests.

In the 1950s geneticists warned that damaged genes could essentially sneak up on a population because recessive genes were more likely to be damaged by radiation than dominant ones. They noted that the recessive mutations would eventually cause major health issues and even infertility

What extent of damage have we already inflicted upon our genome and its epigenetic operations?

How does Fukushima add to that?

Who knows when the tipping point will occur when recessive mutations manifest overtly in deteriorating health and longevity?

Did anyone see the New York Times article about sensitive "on-off switches" in substances previously regarded as "junk DNA"?

We may be a lot more vulnerable than we previously suspected….

The New York Times was covering the Encode genomics project, which addresses how epigenetic processes, such as methylation, impact how genes produce proteins without changing the structure of the DNA.

Great visual on epigenetics and the specific process of methylation

Here are some excerpts from the New York Times article. The original research is linked at the bottom of this post. The introduction is very accessible.

Bits of Mystery DNA, Far From ‘Junk,’ Play Crucial Role By GINA KOLATA. The New York Times

[Excerpted] "The human genome is packed with at least four million gene switches that reside in bits of DNA that once were dismissed as “junk” but that turn out to play critical roles in controlling how cells, organs and other tissues behave. The discovery, considered a major medical and scientific breakthrough, has enormous implications for human health because many complex diseases appear to be caused by tiny changes in hundreds of gene switches.

The findings, which are the fruit of an immense federal project involving 440 scientists from 32 laboratories around the world, will have immediate applications for understanding how alterations in the non-gene parts of DNA contribute to human diseases, which may in turn lead to new drugs. They can also help explain how the environment can affect disease risk. In the case of identical twins, small changes in environmental exposure can slightly alter gene switches, with the result that one twin gets a disease and the other does not.

As scientists delved into the “junk” — parts of the DNA that are not actual genes containing instructions for proteins — they discovered a complex system that controls genes. At least 80 percent of this DNA is active and needed. The result of the work is an annotated road map of much of this DNA, noting what it is doing and how. It includes the system of switches that, acting like dimmer switches for lights, control which genes are used in a cell and when they are used, and determine, for instance, whether a cell becomes a liver cell or a neuron....

Majia here: I recommend reading the entire article at the New York Times. The NYT article was written by Joseph R. Ecker, who also contributed to this introduction to the project available at Nature:

Genomics: ENCODE explained. Nature 489, (2012, Sep)

[Excerpt] The project examines “functional genomic elements that orchestrate the development and function of a human. The project contains data about the degree of DNA methylation and chemical modifications to histones that can influence the rate of transcription of DNA into RNA molecules (histones are the proteins around which DNA is wound to form chromatin interactions such as looping…"

Majia here: This is very exciting research. It is also rather alarming.

What it demonstrates is that our genetic processes can be damaged even when there are no detectable changes to our genetic code. 

Previous research has demonstrated that viruses can impact adversely epigenetic processes and that epigenetic changes can be inherited.

Scientists are beginning to look at how environment and genetic processes are co-constituted in development of diseases such as autism:

Epigenetics research takes aim at cancer, Alzheimer's, autism, other illnesses. The Washington Post

If viruses can damage epigenetic processes than radiation surely can.

Unfortunately, it will be too late for us when we can prove empirically and without doubt that we have damaged our genome.

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  1. I'm too pissed to post about this.

    Busby brought up buzzwords like "radon" and "panic". I was expecting him to bring up "bananas". Maybe he did, I couldn't stomach listening to the whole thing.

  2. I am becoming more concerned with Dr Busbys reporting of this catastrophie with each video he produces.

  3. I could not believe the interview either.

    He was directly contradicting earlier remarks.

    I wonder what is going on.

  4. Why do you think almost all of the decent folks in Japan have been silenced? Is it because they discovered the dangers of bananas?


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