The transformations which food products undergo generally destroy GMO presence indicators. That is why European legislation has laid down that ingredients rather than final foodstuffs are to be analysed.
Although no potentially harmful effect on human health from transgenic plants has been established, European public opinion is far from being convinced that they should be used in the food chain. The authorities of the Union mean to respect consumers' fundamental right to information by imposing labelling on foodstuffs containing more than 1% of any genetically modified organism (GMO). This requirement calls for new methods, whose reliability has been scientifically established to analyse, detect and trace GMOs .
These methods are evaluated and validated at the Joint Research Centre in Ispra (Italy), making it possible to ensure their adoption in all the countries of the Union.
After 24 hours' incubation, the Hepatocyte Growth Factor (HGF) provokes a 'scattering' of the epithelial cells (right).
It is relatively easy to treat an isolated tumour, but the task becomes more complicated once metastases have formed. This proliferation process is linked to the presence of the MET gene, which plays a major role in encoding the growth factor receptors for cancer cells. A European network is combining biochemical, molecular and cellular approaches to develop molecules capable of misleading the receptor and thereby preventing the spread of the cancer.
The blood from a single umbilical cord (80 to 120 ml) contains as many hematopoietic stem cells as a normal sample of 800 to 1200 ml of bone marrow from a donor. Amplified in vitro, it can produce enough for a graft on an adult without a complex operation..
Can cell cultures be used to rebuild a human being? Biologists can already grow cartilage or produce skin in vitro to graft onto serious burn victims. Now European researchers have risen to the challenge of growing blood stem cells, which then develop into red or white corpuscles or platelets. This success opens the door for big improvements in transplant technology, which currently demands great sacrifices from donors, and will considerably shorten the wait for patients. At the same time it paves the way for stem cell cultures for other human tissues.
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