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Science Idle

The Genome of Your Thanksgiving Supper 84

Posted by samzenpus
from the ACGT-good dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Here's a fact you can distract your family with over the Thanksgiving table: many of the major ingredients in Thanksgiving foods have had their genomes sequenced. Biomedical researchers are interested in the turkey genome due to the animal's susceptibility to cancer; botanists are studying the genome of the Chinese chestnut to search for the root of its resistance to chestnut blight; and corn — well, corn's genome is just cool."
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The Genome of Your Thanksgiving Supper

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  • 1. not american, don't get thanksgiving (turkey at christmas instead)
    2. wtf is caner? i hope those poor turkeys are alright!

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Caner is a Turkish name.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caner

      Turkey.. Turkish.. You don't need genomes to see that connection!

    • by Surt (22457)

      http://www.thefreedictionary.com/caner [thefreedictionary.com]

      It's definition 8 or 9 I think, down toward the bottom, a disease where birds get cane-like sprouts at their follicles instead of feathers.

    • I had assumed it was a typo for cancer, but my punny definition is, the genocide of an indigenousness people.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by interkin3tic (1469267)

      2. wtf is caner? i hope those poor turkeys are alright!

      Caner is cancer for domesticated turkeys. Domesticated turkeys, being unearthly stupid, don't know how to spell "cancer" properly.

      Sadly, they're not alright, their goose is cooked so to speak. And by goose, I mean themselves.

  • ...interested in the turkey genome due to the animal's susceptibility to caner...

    So, what part of the turkey gets "A slender, strong but often flexible stem, as of certain bamboos, reeds, or rattans."? [thefreedictionary.com]

    • by Surt (22457)

      The follicles where the feathers are supposed to come out. It's actually a pretty hideous disease. The microbe that causes it interferes with the proteins that construct the feather, so all you get is the central rod coming out of the follicle.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by SheeEttin (899897)

      So, what part of the turkey gets "A slender, strong but often flexible stem, as of certain bamboos, reeds, or rattans"?

      The rears of the disobedient ones.
      Or the ones into S&M, I guess...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "Biomedical researchers are interested in the turkey genome due to the animal's susceptibility to caner".

    Would the Slashdot editors please sober UP ?

    Yours In An Airport Screening Line [youtube.com],
    K. Trout

  • by Grapplebeam (1892878) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @04:56PM (#34336580)
    Corn is probably the biggest example of bullshit monopolies in action ever. Monsanto has all the corn. All of it. And they try to get corn to be used in everything, even though it's a waste and irresponsible to have any industry depend on one crop, much less plastics and foodstuffs, which are huge industries in and of themselves. So no, corn is not awesome. Also, corn syrup is worse for you than cane sugar, but those idiotic attack ads against people that dare state that implies we're all idiots for even daring to THINK about how corn could be worse than sugar. Seriously, if you haven't seen those commercials, they go like this: Party 1: Corn syrup is bad for you! Party 2: Well how do you know that? Corn comes out of the ground, it MUST be natural! Party 1: Uh, I think I read it in a book... Party 2 then begs the question that things that come out of the ground it must be natural and therefore better, AGAIN, and then implies anyone against corn syrup is a retard. Seriously, go look it up. It's actually offensive.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by grub (11606)

      There's some lobbying underway in the US to change the name of "high fructose corn syrup" to "corn sugar".

      That's how bad a rap HFCS has, calling it "sugar" is an improvement.
    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      You sound like my ex-wife. There's a reason for that. Some people have a knack at delivering an informative message. Guess who does not? Seriously, do you think the average person is as stupid as the industry that made the "corn 'sugar'" commercials? Give us some credit before you bash us over the head with a bag of non-GMO corn!? Thanks.

      How about this? Just buy less of the kind of corn(and other products) you don't like, and give the stupid public the benefit of the doubt on whether they can choose

      • I see why she divorced you.
      • Seriously, do you think the average person is as stupid as the industry that made the "corn 'sugar'" commercials?

        Yep.

        However I am with you on buying corn I like and not corn I don't like. I like corn meal, corn chips, corn on the cob. None of these have much to do with the corn lobby that tries to force feed hfcs to our kids.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        A group of people that actually believe the Corn Sugar is some who worse the sugar IS a bunch of morons.

        • A group of people that actually believe the Corn Sugar is some who worse the sugar IS a bunch of morons.

          What do you mean, a worse group of people that actually believe the Corn Sugar? Who is this Corn Sugar fellow, and how did he get morons in his sugar?

        • Precisely my sentiment - it all ends up as glucose and fructose in the bloodstream. Nothing to see here - move along.
      • by jonwil (467024)

        Not always possible to "just buy less corn" because its in so many things including things that you wouldn't necessarily think of having corn.

        Also, if you buy corn-on-the-cob, corn chips, popcorn or any other kind of corn, you are supporting the giant greedy agribusiness companies that produce most of the corn (including the bad kind of corn that ends up in so many foods)

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Amorymeltzer (1213818)

      None of which has any impact on the fact that the corn genome is indeed rather cool.
      Seriously, go look it up. It's actually awesome.

    • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @05:29PM (#34336938) Journal

      Corn is probably the biggest example of bullshit monopolies in action ever. Monsanto has all the corn. All of it.

      That's odd. My grandparents grow corn. How does Monsanto have that corn?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Do your grandparents spray anhydrous ammonia all over their little garden? That stuff they grow is something called "Sweet Delicious Corn", which can probably be eaten on the cob and isn't real, honest, Monsanto corn.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by geekoid (135745)

      1) No they don't.

      2) Considering Corn one crop shows your completely ignorant of the industry
      3) No, corn syrup is not worse the can sugar. Please stop spreading that lie. You do know that when you say that you're in the same category as people who don't think we went to the moon, right? Yeah, I've seen those commercial, and base on the HFCS conspiracy nuts, it's well deserved.

      4) Yes, the natural fallacy is offensive. I wish they hadn't done that. However, the people who are spreading that lie are often the

      • by Ihmhi (1206036) <i_have_mental_health_issues@yahoo.com> on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @07:04PM (#34337744)

        I wouldn't really call it a lie. The jury's still out [wikipedia.org] on that one. Yes, I'm linking to Wikipedia. There are sources cited, look them up if you feel so inclined.

        More thorough studies need to be done with larger sample sizes but from what I've read I do believe that the prevalence of HFCS over sugar in our food supply is one of the many contributing factors to our modern obesity epidemic.

        Part of it is that, pound-for-pound, HFCS has a higher fructose content that normal table sugar. It's not much, but that little bit adds up. Moreover, HFCS is really, really cheap and so it's put in goddamned near everything. Remember when mum said too many sweets are bad for you? Well now everything is a damn sweet.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by geekoid (135745)

          I'm familiar with the wikipedia article, and it's links. I have also read many studies, analysis and meta studies. It's become the classic 'You can't prove it's not true, there fore more study is needed' gambit. As used by Homeopaths, Moon landing hoaxers, and ghost hunters.

          Th reason we have an obesity issue(not epidemic) is due to the availability of easy calories, and being inundated with ads telling use to eat. Nothing more. Corn Sugar isn't magic. You eat 1000 calories of HFCS* you have 1000 calories.

          • by breeze95 (880714)

            I'm familiar with the wikipedia article, and it's links. I have also read many studies, analysis and meta studies. It's become the classic 'You can't prove it's not true, there fore more study is needed' gambit. As used by Homeopaths, Moon landing hoaxers, and ghost hunters.

            Th reason we have an obesity issue(not epidemic) is due to the availability of easy calories, and being inundated with ads telling use to eat. Nothing more. Corn Sugar isn't magic. You eat 1000 calories of HFCS* you have 1000 calories. You exercise and burn 1000 calories, you loose a 1000 calories.

            In fact, you get LESS calories using Corn Sugar because less is required to achieve the same sweetness. It would be a more rational argument to say it's healthier for that reason alone. the difference is pretty slight.

            Yes, it's easy to use, store, and manufacture the sugar so it gets used a lot. Used to replace sugar.

            And I am not arguing it's good for you, only that it's not different the sugar. So like sugar, eat it wisely.

            "It's the dose that makes the poison." - Paracelsus

            Actually, recent studies have shown that HFCS causes the liver to go into fat storing mode. Also in animal studies, HFCS has shown to cause liver scarring and liver diseases that are very similar to liver diseases that alcoholics suffer from. I am sorry but HFCS is bad stuff. Heck, even the European Union has banned HFCS.

          • If it were just to replace sugar, that would be better. It's used in places sugar should never be used, to make things needlessly sweet. I recently saw a canned "New England Clam Chowder" with HFCS added. Clam chowder does not need sugar. It needs clams, water, salt, pork, onion, potatoes, butter, some seasonings and possibly other vegetables.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by mibe (1778804)

        http://www.foodpolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/HFCS_Rats_10.pdf

        Rats with 12-h access to HFCS gained significantly more body weight than animals given equal access to 10% sucrose, even though they consumed the same number of total calories, but fewer calories from HFCS than sucrose.

        So there's some evidence that it's worse for you than an equivalent caloric amount of sucrose (table sugar), rather than being "all the same" as we've been hearing for quite some time. You can sort of justify these results biochemically if you like (the authors do it in their discussion), since sucrose needs one more metabolic step to be broken down than does HFCS, but there are lots of other factors I'm not entirely educated about. Anyway, read

      • by HBI (604924) <kparadine@gma i l . c om> on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @07:12PM (#34337848) Homepage Journal

        You are being mildly inaccurate. The problem isn't with corn syrup per se, it is with high fructose corn syrup - HFCS.

        Normal corn syrup is laden with dextrose - glucose. HFCS has a portion of that dextrose converted to fructose. HFCS 42 - 42% fructose - is close to table sugar/sucrose sweetness so it is frequently used. Fructose has some interesting qualities compared to glucose or dextrose:

        1) It is metabolized in the liver, rather than delivered to the individual cells, unlike glucose.
        2) Its fructolysis metabolic pathway ends up producing either glycogen or palmitate, ie, either 'stored energy' up to the ~ 3000 calorie limit, or fat deposits.
        3) Its metabolism is not regulated by insulin, unlike glucose.

        Fructose metabolism has more resemblance to the uptake of starches, rather than monosaccharide glucose. Increasing the monosaccharide fructose intake of humans was a grand experiment in making people fat, in other words.

        For that matter, the reputation of Americans as flatulent could easily have something to do with fructose malabsorption [wikipedia.org], since nearly every food has free fructose in it nowadays.

        That said, sucrose isn't a winner either as it is a disaccharide of glucose and fructose which is (partially) cloven apart in the stomach and then absorbed as separate monosaccharides. The glucose is fine as far as that goes, as it is insulin regulated, but the fructose within has the same problem as HFCS. For that matter, might as well call sucrose HFCS 50, with the slight caveat that a portion of the sucrose will not be metabolized, possibly reducing uptake of fructose in comparison to HFCS, which has its fructose already in monosaccharide form.

        • Sorry, I'm not too much informed in the HFCS debate, but something caught my eye: You say corn syrup has HFCS 42, i.e. 42% fructose. OTOH, regular sugar (AKA sucrose) is actually HFCS 50 (50% fructose). So in fact it has more fructose than HFCS!
          As far as I remember from my physiology classes, virtually all the sucrose we digest is broken down and absorbed in the GI tract It would seem that all the arguments about the cons of fructose would suggest that sucrose is worse than HFCS.

          Please enlighten me.

          • by HBI (604924)

            The disaccharide sucrose metabolism is incomplete in the upper GI. Fructose is only absorbed in the small intestine. Therefore, the quantity of fructose absorbed into the bloodstream from sucrose consumption will be less than 100%. HFCS has monosaccharide fructose as its fructose component, so is potentially more available for absorption than disaccharide sucrose.

      • 3) No, corn syrup is not worse the can sugar. Please stop spreading that lie. You do know that when you say that you're in the same category as people who don't think we went to the moon, right? Yeah, I've seen those commercial, and base on the HFCS conspiracy nuts, it's well deserved.

        The modern obesity epidemic may be caused by highly preserved foods. I recently realized that none of my foods go bad. But if environmental bacteria can't eat them, how can human gut bacteria, which are essential to digesti

      • by earlymon (1116185)

        No, corn syrup is not worse the can sugar.

        Remember that wonderful New Coke?

    • by jestill (656510) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @06:23PM (#34337420) Journal
      Wow dude. You need to get on your meds. The corn genome is quite cool.
    • by bluestar (17362)

      My wife is a geneticist (PhD) and she insists that corn is very cool. Did you know that corn has about the same number of genes as a human (in the 25000 - 35000 range)?

      So the next time you think you're smart, just remember that you're about as complex as corn.

      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The newest gene annotations for corn came out yesterday, and there are many more high confidence genes that the previous set (maybe 45,000?). Has your wife seen the recent paper that found close to 10% of corn genes are missing from some inbreds and/or wild relatives of domesticated corn? Source: http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/gr.109165.110

        I totally agree it's an awesome genome!

  • by lunchlady55 (471982) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @04:59PM (#34336612)

    Corn's genome is not cool IT'S COPYRIGHT MONSANTO!
    tl;dr google it...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by proxima (165692)

      I think you mean patent, not copyright.

    • by Amorymeltzer (1213818) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @05:29PM (#34336946)

      First of, Monsanto owns patents, not copyrights. Second of all, that makes IP law and Monsanto uncool, not corn and certainly not the corn genome.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by interkin3tic (1469267)

      Monsanto doesn't own the corn genome. That being said, they were trying to steal some of the credit for sequencing the genome, despite doing nothing to help. I can't find a source on that right now though, of the lead scientist opening up a paper an being surprised it read "Monsanto sequences corn genome."

      Anyway, no, the corn genome is not currently owned by monsanto, though if we're not careful I'm positive their lobbyists will find a way to steal it.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      No it's no. Stop being a hippie tool.

      Some corn is patents. in fact, just those specific strains only.

      Moron.

      • by djdanlib (732853)

        This corn is patents! All who try to use it without Monsanto's permission shall taste of its litigious goodness!

    • by jestill (656510) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @06:32PM (#34337508) Journal
      It is really strange that you would think that Monsanto had IP rights to the corn genome. You are quite wrong. The corn genome project was funded by public dollars.
      http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2004/nsf04614/nsf04614.pdf [nsf.gov]
      You can browse the maize genome or even download the data yourself:
      http://www.maizesequence.org/index.html [maizesequence.org]
      I have multiple copies of this data on my hard drive now.
      You can also check out the Idiot's guide to corn at
      http://weedtowonder.org/ [weedtowonder.org]
      Much of what we know about plant genetics and breeding is due to what we learned from corn. The corn genome is not just cool, but a fundamental model system. It provides insights into the genomes for the cereal plants that contribute most of the calories you eat every day.
    • Funny, apparently some people think you have to sequence the genome before you can patent it. Which you don't have to, in pretty much any case. Just patent it now, then figure out what it does later. Standard practice, really.
  • I was wondering; if a turkey got a tumor, it would be edible, would it not?

    Turkey tumor casserole?

    • by Surt (22457)

      Almost certainly edible. After all, turkeys are very susceptible to cancer. The odds that you have not already eaten turkey cancer (small ones) are quite low.

    • by fbarajas (261145)

      Isn't foie gras a kind of geese/duck liver cancer?

      • No, it's a kind of psychosis-causing brain cancer on part of the producer.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by h4rr4r (612664)

          Have you ever kept water fowl?

          They love to eat, they will fight their way to the human to be fed. The production of foie gras may not be the healthiest thing for the creature, but they are not going to be living very long anyway nor does the feeding method cause them any real harm.

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        No it is just an enlarged liver from over feeding.

  • Gene Pool (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by DaMattster (977781)
    I will be dining with some members of my family that, more often than not, seem to represent the shallower end of the Gene Pool! I came from the deep end (I think.)
  • Pass the GC-AT-AT-GC...?

    No thanks, I'll have the turkey!

    (Well how about the cranberries? They don't have much AT...)

    So - do we sing the genome to the tune of Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam?

  • Time to remind your entire family that you are a hopelessly anti-social bore.
    But hey, at least you took a shower this week. So you got that going for ya.

  • by jameskojiro (705701) on Wednesday November 24, 2010 @05:27PM (#34336916) Journal

    Sweet delicious turkey basted in it's own cancerous giblets sauce.

    Mmmmm Mmmmm Gobble-licious.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Don't baste turkey. It's pointless and make the turkey much longer to cook to the proper temperature; which mean ti will be dry.

  • I'm poor and have no friends or family. :(

    • by f8l_0e (775982)
      NaCl and lots of it. :) Good job integrated the Flying Spaghetti Monster into Thanksgiving.
  • Forgive me if I'm reading this wrong, but is this 'story' just a link to photos of some Thanksgiving food?

  • I had my Thanksgiving dinner in October, you insensitive clod!

    - A Proud Canadian
  • Who eats Chinese chestnuts? The biggest disappointment of my parents' lives - other than me - was buying a house with a chestnut tree, only to find out it was Chinese chestnut, not tasty American chestnut. Much to my joy I have a neighbor with an American chestnut! Take that mom and dad! Lousy traumatic childhood...
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Llamalarity (806413)
      "Who eats Chinese chestnuts?" Me for one, but yes true American chestnuts are noticeably sweeter. Though sadly much smaller... You neighbor should contact the American Chestnut Foundation and see if they might want to add his trees genome to their program. Which is to produce a blight resistant 15/16 American chestnut to restore back into the eastern forests. These folks have been quietly working on this for over 25 years and are very close to achieving their primary goal.
    • Dude, why would you be a disappointment - what happened?
  • Corn has been sequenced so the bio-tech companies can find out where to insert the gene for resistance to Roundup and the gene that makes it infertile after one generation. (forcing farmers to buy new seed every year)

    • Which again, was Monsanto's doing. They were stopped from doing this outright, however, and somehow got farmers to agree to buy new seeds each year because... uh... y'know, I dunno why they agreed to it.
    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by tlhIngan (30335)

      Corn has been sequenced so the bio-tech companies can find out where to insert the gene for resistance to Roundup and the gene that makes it infertile after one generation. (forcing farmers to buy new seed every year)

      And when those terminator genes don't work, Monsanto sues the farmer next door for patent infringement because his corn cross-bred with Monsanto corn. It's the perfect scam - get one farm using your corn, and it infects every farm around it, so you sue to get more license agreements.

  • Unless you find out it's related to you because your great-great-great grandpa was the infamous "Turkey-Fucker Jones." Perhaps you should wait until after the gene sequencing results come back before you kill it...
  • appetite just from reading the /. submission? Really kinda sick if you think about it. I just think abou tit and I feel better.

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