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January 14, 2007

Anti-Cancer Chicken Eggs

Anti-cancer chicken eggs produced

The egg whites contain the anti-cancer protein

UK scientists have developed a breed of genetically-modified chickens capable of laying eggs containing proteins needed to make cancer-fighting drugs.

The breakthrough has been announced by the same team that created the cloned Dolly the Sheep.

The Roslin Institute, near Edinburgh, says it has created five generations of birds that can produce high levels of potentially life-saving proteins.

It means a range of drugs in greater volume could be produced much cheaper.

Professor Harry Griffin, director of the institute, said: "One of the characteristics of lots of medical treatments these days is that they're very expensive.

"The idea of producing the proteins involved in treatments of flocks of laying hens means they can produce in bulk, they can produce cheaply and indeed the raw material for this production system is quite literally chicken feed."

BBC medical correspondent Fergus Walsh told BBC News 24 that the scientists, who have bred 500 birds, had been working on the project for seven years.

'10-year wait'

But it could be another five years before patient trials get the go-ahead and 10 years until a medicine is fully developed, he said.

Although proteins have been developed in the egg whites, researchers do not yet know whether the resulting drugs would work in practice.

In June 2005 the scientists announced that designer chickens whose eggs contain large amounts of cancer-fighting proteins could become a commercial reality.

At the time, researchers at Roslin - where Dolly the Sheep - the first mammal cloned from an adult cell was created - said they had produced a version of an antibody designed to treat malignant skin cancer.

Egg production of three other protein drugs had also been studied.

Source: BBC

N.S. Power To Test New Tidal Power Generator

N.S. Power to test new tidal power generator
Last Updated: Friday, January 12, 2007 | 5:27 PM ET

CBC News

Nova Scotia Power is looking at introducing in-stream tidal power, an alternative to placing dams across inlets or rivers to capture the energy of huge volumes of moving water.

The company has a deal with an Irish partner, which will build a test model of an in-stream tidal turbine in the Bay of Fundy, the Canadian Press reported Friday.

The one-megawatt installation, to be built by OpenHydro of Dublin, uses a different system than Nova Scotia Power's current 20-megawatt plant at Annapolis.

The existing plant harnesses the tidal action of the Bay of Fundy, site of the world’s highest tides, where a dam funnels the water into generators as it flows in and out with the tide.

In contrast, OpenHydro's turbines resemble giant fans with the blades connected to a rotor which spins slowly inside the structure as water flows through. Electricity is generated as the rotor turns past a magnet generator on the outer rim of the structure.

The whole "fan" is anchored to the ocean floor, and no dam is required.

The installation probably won't be operational before 2009, a NSP spokeswoman told CP, and it will require a turbine "farm" to produce significant amounts of power.

OpenHydro's website said the speed and volume of water passing through the area, depth and geology of the seabed and distance to a grid connection determine the cost and output of its turbines.

The turbines, with just one moving part, lubricant-free construction and no seals, give the design simplicity and strength, it said.

The turbine could cost up to $12 million to develop and build, but Nova Scotia Power said in December it had asked Sustainable Development Technology Canada to share the cost.
Source: Canadian Press

Monster Bunnies Feed the Poor

Monster Bunnies For North Korea
By David Crossland

An east German pensioner who breeds rabbits the size of dogs has been asked by North Korea to help set up a big bunny farm to alleviate food shortages in the communist country. Now journalists and rabbit gourmets from around the world are thumping at his door.

It all started when Karl Szmolinsky won a prize for breeding Germany's largest rabbit, a friendly-looking 10.5 kilogram "German Gray Giant" called Robert, in February 2006.

Images of the chubby monster went around the world and reached the reclusive communist state of North Korea, a country of 23 million which according to the United Nations Food Programme suffers widespread food shortages and where many people "struggle to feed themselves on a diet critically deficient in protein, fats and micronutrients."

Photo Gallery: Giant Bunnies to Help Feed North Korea
Click for picture to launch the image gallery (4 Photos)
Szmolinsky, 67, from the eastern town of Eberswalde near Berlin, recalls how the North Korean embassy approached his regional breeding federation and enquired whether it might be willing to sell some rabbits to set up a breeding farm in North Korea. He was the natural choice for the job.

Each of his rabbits produces around seven kilograms of meat, says Szmolinsky, who was so keen to help alleviate hunger in the impoverished country that he made the North Koreans a special price -- €80 per rabbit instead of the usual €200 to €250.

"They'll be used to help feed the population," Szmolinsky told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "I've sent them 12 rabbits so far, they're in a petting zoo for now. I'll be travelling to North Korea in April to advise them on how to set up a breeding farm. A delegation was here and I've already given them a book of tips."

Greedy Rabbits

Szmolinsky knows what he's talking about. He has been breeding rabbits for 47 years. The 12 bunnies he sent can produce 60 babies a year -- if the North Koreans find enough food to feed them properly. "I feed them everything -- grain, carrots, a lot of vegetables. At the moment they're getting kale," said Szmolinsky.

"One rabbit provides a filling meal for eight people. There are a variety of recipes such as rabbit leg or rabbit roulade. No one buys rabbit fur anymore though, I just throw that in the bin," says Szmolinsky with chilling dispassion.

He breeds between 60 and 80 rabbits per year and manages to stay emotionally detached enough to send the furry, innocent-looking, huge-eared creatures to slaughter. Asked if he has any pet bunnies he could never part with, he said: "You can't hang on to them, if you did you wouldn't be able to breed them."

Szmolinsky's North Korean connection has attracted media attention from around the world, and he seems to be getting tired of it. "I'm getting ambushed by camera crews," he said, adding that he was booked up with interview appointments for days. "There's a Japanese crew flying in from Paris later."

Potential Chinese buyers have also expressed an interest. Szmolinsky doesn't know how many more rabbits he will be sending to North Korea and said he definitely wouldn't be increasing his own production to satisfy growing demand from Asia.

"I'm not increasing production and I'm not taking any more orders after this. They cost a lot to feed," he said.

Source: spiegel.de