Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Food DNA screening kit

All the common allergens. And other stuff too.
  [vote for,

Moneyed person who eats! Got allergies? Food sensitivities? Politically opposed to dairy? Hate saying "nut butter"? BUNGCO wants to help you eat without any of those worries!

Puree up a little bit of those eats in our proprietary buffer solution. Then our DNA test kit can detect DNA from the 10 common allergens including various nuts, dairy, wheat, soy and so on. And you will receive our catalog of other fine BUNGCO products and services targeting the food conscious.

"But wait!" you cry, in a thick accent. "I'm not allergic to anything, but I'm British! And I'm tired of being fed horse kidneys and getting told its beef kidneys!" We at BUNGCO will eat most anything, but like the British we enjoy it more if we know what it is. For you, an addtional kit to detect the 10 common food adulterants: rat, roach, fly, horse, human and so on.

And for the French and their sympathizers: the GMO detector kit. GMO can be detected by the presence of plasmids and other tools used to introduce the various foreign DNA sequences that make GMO foods delicious and easy to grow. Now if you suspect GMOedness in your caper flambee, simply check - and if found, refuse to pay and stomp off in a huff to collect mushrooms in the woods.

No BUNGCO kits use magic. Kits contain one or more short DNA sequences characteristic of target organism. Hybridization of DNA from food will produce color change noting detection of DNA from target organism.

bungston, May 14 2014

SmartStax Corn product info sheet http://www.dow.com/...-00616.pdf&pdf=true
many genes, introduced with either agrobacterium vector or microparticle bombardment [bungston, May 16 2014]

Golden Rice project http://www.goldenri...t2-How/how1_sci.php
Agrobacterium vector [bungston, May 16 2014]

Bollgard II safety information https://www.google....E-SearchBox&ie=&oe=
Particle acceleration method [bungston, May 16 2014]

Monsanto product safety info http://www.monsanto...fety-summaries.aspx
[bungston, May 16 2014]


       Nice. A "royal food taster" for the 21rst century.   

       But some foods are great because they are not pureed. Nice layers of different ingredients. So, the user would have to take enough samples of those layers, with a skinny pincher to put in the BUNGCO DNA-analyzer.   

       BONUS: Could you use the same device to take a small sample of a person to detect if they are full of BS?
sophocles, May 14 2014

       Sort of baked. Food is often DNA tested (to see if your tuna is legal, if your halibut is halibut, or if your burgers are horses), but it's done by PCR rather than by hybridisation.   

       One of the problems is that food contains a lot of crap (often metaphorically) which interferes with assays. With PCR, you can detect much less DNA, so you can dilute the sample to the point where the crap isn't such an issue. Of course you can also purify the DNA from the food first, but that adds another level of hassle.   

       You might do better to develop an ELISA-type assay to detect specific proteins. You'd have to mush the food up in water, then dip the testing pen into it - like a pregnancy test. More expensive to produce, but probably easier to implement.   

       (By the way, GM organisms shouldn't contain any vector sequences. Given the regulatory hurdles, GMers try to avoid introducing any uneccessary DNA nowadays, even if it's inert or benign.)
MaxwellBuchanan, May 14 2014

       I am very skeptical that GMO do not contain vector. I cannot imagine any practicable way to get the vector back out.   

       Max if you can link me something besides this idea and your text that states vectors are somehow extracted from GMO after ferrying their cargo into the gene, I will compose you a tasteful and laudatory paen. And if you find nothing, I will accept an ode to my various halfbakings and their remedial effects on your own moral fiber.
bungston, May 14 2014

       I don't know how they avoid vectors, because I don't actually do GM in plants. My guess would be that they use homologous recombination rather than old-style plasmid or viral systems.   

       Given that there are now tailorable DNA cleaving agents (such as CRISPA or zinc-finger-derived agents), I'm pretty sure they'd use homologous recombination. That's what they use to make most transgenic mice, I believe, and it would be an obvious thing to do in plants.   

       There are a range of other technologies and, given the desirability of not inserting vector sequences (from a regulatory perspective), I'm pretty sure they'll be using one or the other of them.   

       [EDIT - if you just Google "vectorless GM plants" (no quotes), you'll get a ragbag of hits which will point you in the right direction. I could dig out some papers for you if (a) I could be bothered and (b) you have access.]
MaxwellBuchanan, May 14 2014

       Darn. I was really hoping to see an example of " a tasteful and laudatory paen ". Do you have a template or an example we could see ?
normzone, May 14 2014

       For anyone who didn't know what I was wittering on about: <begin lecture mode>   

       Foreign DNA is commonly introduced into cells by splicing it into small circular DNA molecules called plasmids (which can be gotten into cells in various ways), or by splicing it into a "dead" virus (in which case it can be packaged up like a virus, and gets into the cell in the same way the virus normally does it).   

       If you're modifying bacterial cells, you might just leave things at that - the plasmid gets replicated alongside the normal genome, and propagated from cell to cell. However, the cells will eventually lose their plasmids unless they carry genes the bacteria need. It's common to put an antibiotic resistance gene on the plasmid along with the gene you're interested in; then the bacteria are grown in the presence of the antibiotic, and are obliged to hang on to their plasmids.   

       In most eukaryotic cells (like crop plants), you normally want your foreign DNA to be incorporated into the genome, rather than floating around on a plasmid, so that it remains stable in the absence of selection. A common way to do this is to include, on either side of your gene in the plasmid, stretches of DNA identical to the cell's own DNA. By various cunning means, you can persuade the gene on your plasmid to recombine - that is, it splices itself into the host genome between the bits of matching DNA.   

       If this is done right, then only the gene of interest is introduced into the host cell. Newer techniques aim not to leave any other bits of the plasmid in the host genome. So, you should end up with a rice genome (say), with only a cauliflower gene (say) added to it.   

       To get a new GM foodplant approved costs something like $50M and, as far as I know, it's now virtually impossible to do this if you've got various unnecessary bits of DNA (such as vector sequences or selection markers) left behind.   

       <end lecture mode>
MaxwellBuchanan, May 14 2014

       No, because people use lab strains which are crippled in multiple ways. Sydney Brenner (one of the dinosaurs of genetic manipulation) once demonstrated the relative safety of this by drinking some.   

       By strange coincidence, I've spent yesterday and today making kanamycin and chloramphenicol- resistant E. coli - (that is, I'm actually putting in something else, but Kan and Chl are the selectable markers on the plasmids).   

       The protocols for bacterial GM were developed some time in the 1970s, and have been revisited multiple times since then.   

       As a point of reference, all the sequencing of the human genome (and a lot of sequencing since then) was done by cloning random fragments of human DNA into bacteria. For the whole genome, probably a million or more such clones were made - a million GM bacteria, if you want to think of it that way, each carrying an antibiotic resistance as a selectable marker, and some random bit of human DNA.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 15 2014

       Nut butter? Nut butter. Hmmm. Nutbutter.
calum, May 15 2014

       //then sees the word 'relative'.//   

       [bigs], it's very sweet of you to be concerned for all the scientists working on genomic and other healthcare-related projects. And it's true that, handling these things day in, day out in fairly relaxed ways, they would probably be the first to fall victim to some killer bug. Fortunately, as far as I know, nobody's died of handling routine E. coli or yeast clones, so this sort of stuff is probably no more dangerous than, oh, say, coal mining or knitting.   

       //inject spider leg DNA and some pavlovian response// I'll assume here that only a deep knowledge of the subject and long hours spent in thought can give rise to such a profound apparent misunderstanding of virtually the whole of biology in a mere eight words.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 16 2014

       // profound apparent misunderstanding of virtually the whole of biology in a mere eight words.//   

       [marked-for-promotion-to- vice-president]
8th of 7, May 16 2014

       ////Would it not be possible to inject spider leg DNA and some pavlovian response into wheat ? It would then march into a thresher when the dinner bell sounds. That would be terrifid.////   

       :://inject spider leg DNA and some pavlovian response// I'll assume here that only a deep knowledge of the subject and long hours spent in thought can give rise to such a profound apparent misunderstanding of virtually the whole of biology in a mere eight words.::   

       Max, I think the end of that second sentence isn't the typo you assumed.
Loris, May 16 2014

       Yes, I spotted that. Give [bigs] the opportunity to wind people up, and he'll wyndham.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 16 2014

       Yeah, that's all pretty basic stuff. We're working on goldfish with extra wings.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 16 2014

       Re. the "Golden Rice" project, for which the link is annotated "Agrobacterium vector":   

       I don't know the ins and outs of the Golden Rice project specifically, but the transferred DNA (genes responsible for vitamin A synthesis, taken [I think] from maize) will have been put into a plasmid, and the agrobacterium will have been used to get that plasmid into the plant cells. The plasmid (which parts, I don't know) will then have intergrated into the rice genome to produce a stable transformant. In other words, the use of agrobacterium to transfer the DNA is not relevant, any more than the use of welding to build your car means that you'll get burnt by driving it.   

       Incidentally (and perhaps pertinent to another thread currently running here), vitamin A deficiency is believed to kill over 500,000 children per year, mostly in developing countries. Golden Rice contains enough vitamin A (and precursors thereof) to provide the minimum necessary level by eating a few ounces per day. The seed is available free to farmers where it's most needed (ie, in poor places), and Monsanto was the first company to grant free licences.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 16 2014

       //Electric eel power cell - check//   

       Oddly enough, I popped into the lab once over a weekend and witnessed the arrival of a dozen or so large polystyrene boxes containing metre-long electric eels.   

       They're actually being used to study the ATPase that pumps electrons (because they have shedloads of it in their electric organs), but a little sideline in eelasers wouldn't be a bad idea.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 16 2014

       Too often to notice.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 16 2014

       Though I prefer the spoon feeding of knowledge, larded with equations and witty prose.   

       Second best is a gentle intimation of my own ignorance, followed by a nudge in the right direction.   

       Perhaps with the knowledge that my own righteous indigation would fuel further reading.   

       Which it did, and my fund has enlarged.   

       I know that in addition to vector transformation, microparticle bombardment is indeed used to genetically engineer crops, and sometimes both with the results bred together. It is amazing on many levels.   

       As promised, I honor Max, with his magnet in one hand and gold sovereign in the other.   

       And thank him for helping keep the Halfbakery a place where one can learn.   

       And obviously, I lack any sort of template for production of paens like this.
bungston, May 16 2014

       Aww, shucks, [bung].   

       Incidentally, horizontal gene transfer (ie, splicing of genes from one species into another) is probably fairly common in nature. Agrobacterium occurs naturally, and can do this, as can many plant viruses.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 16 2014


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