3 de diciembre de 2018

Biodistritos frente a municipios



Biodistrito: Área geográfica donde los agricultores, los ciudadanos, los operadores turísticos, las asociaciones y las administraciones públicas establecen un acuerdo para la gestión sostenible de los recursos locales, adoptando un modelo biológico de producción y consumo (cadena corta comercial, grupos de compra, comedores públicos bio). En un Biodistrito, la promoción de los productos biológicos se articula estrechamente con la promoción del territorio y de sus peculiaridades, para lograr el pleno desarrollo de sus potencialidades económicas, sociales y culturales.
El primer Biodistrito ha sido creado en Italia en 2009, por la Asociación Italiana de Agricultura Biológica, en un territorio que es parte del Parque Nacional del Cilento, Vallo di Diano y Alburni. En 2012, después de 3 años de actividad, participan al Bio-distrito 30 municipios, 400 empresas, 20 restaurantes y 10 establecimientos turísticos, que utilizan los productos orgánicos del territorio. Hoy en día el Biodistrito es un verdadero laboratorio permanente de impacto nacional e internacional, de ideas e iniciativas con un alto perfil cultural, que apuntan a un desarrollo justo y solidario del territorio, basado en un modelo biológico.

Los retos que los Biodistritos permiten enfrentar se pueden resumir en seis temáticas principales:

  • Mix Farming, o sea una agricultura que integre la producción vegetal con la cría de animales y las nuevas fronteras de la sostenibilidad (energía, agua, biodiversidad, calidad de vida y de trabajo). Este desafío no siempre se puede enfrentar a nivel de una empresa, especialmente donde las granjas se caracterizan por una extensión reducida. Por esto es conveniente promover proyectos territoriales y asociativos como los Bio-distritos.
  • Acceso a la tierra, cada vez más difícil para aquellos que no cuentan con considerables recursos económicos y, en particular, para los jóvenes que deseen convertirse en agricultores. En los Bio-distritos se promueve un verdadero renacimiento agrícola que marca una ruptura con el pasado, que identifica el biológico como un modelo de referencia para el conjunto de la agricultura, capaz de revitalizar, por ejemplo, las tierras públicas y las tierras sin cultivo, restituyendo dignidad y rentabilidad al trabajo agrícola.
  • Relaciones más equitativas en la cadena, creando nuevas relaciones directas entre productores y consumidores, adoptando modelos alternativos de distribución como la cadena corta y los grupos de comercio solidario, e instando a la administración pública a incrementar las compras verdes para comedores escolares, hospitales y otros servicios públicos del territorio.
  • Soberanía alimentaria, reconociendo a las comunidades locales el derecho a decidir qué y cómo producir. En los Biodistritos se promueven periódicamente foros públicos donde los agricultores, los otros operadores económicos, los administradores públicos y la población comparten, con la misma dignidad y poder de decisión, la forma de satisfacer sus necesidades alimentarias.
  • La simplificación del sistema de control y certificación de productos biológicos, para volverlo menos burocrático, más eficaz y que contemple procesos inclusivos, como la certificación de grupo y los sistemas de garantía participativos. En los Biodistritos la alta concentración de granjas orgánicas hace que el control sea más ágil, y con frecuencia toda la comunidad ayuda a controlar y garantizar la correcta aplicación del método de producción por parte del operador agrícola. El operador de la finca a su vez es mucho más capacitado, y sobre todo motivado por el reconocimiento público de la importante función social que desempeña en la comunidad.
  • La comunicación sobre el biológico, también tiene que ser a cadena corta, acercando autores y destinatarios del mensaje, para poder transmitir con mayor eficacia los valores del bio: alimentar, ético, social y ambiental. La agricultura biológica es buena para los productores, para los consumidores, para la sociedad y para el medio ambiente.


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1 de diciembre de 2018

El portal de los obeliscos

Segunda parte de 'La quinta estación' y como ya os dije en su momento, doblete en el premio Hugo y he de decir que muy merecido.

Con un estilo de narración muy personal, Jemisin profundiza en la historia de los portales, desarrollando más los personajes, cómo se enlazan, qué piensan, cómo sienten, consiguiendo que el lector empatice con ellos y se enganche a la historia, esperando más. 

La trilogía de la tierra fragmentada ya está terminada, el último título es 'El cielo de piedra' que saldrá a la venta en enero de 2019 y que ya está disponible en inglés.

Si estáis pensando en iniciar una saga de fantasía, no lo dudéis. Esta es una de las que no decepciona.

Autor: N.K. Jemisin
Nºpags.: 380





29 de noviembre de 2018

Mutaciones genéticas :: Camino de una nueva especie




La línea que delimita cuándo es ético aplicar avances biogenéticos, es fina y sutil. ¿No vacunamos para prevenir virus? La mutación genética crispr es LA vacuna definitiva al SIDA, pero cambia el ADN humano y se transmite a descencientes ¿Se abre la vía a una nueva especie?

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We said “don’t freak out,” when scientists first used Crispr to edit DNA in non-viable human embryos. When they tried it in embryos that could theoretically produce babies, we said “don’t panic.” Many years and years of boring bench science remain before anyone could even think about putting it near a woman’s uterus. Well, we might have been wrong. Permission to push the panic button granted.

Late Sunday night, a Chinese researcher stunned the world by claiming to have created the first human babies, a set of twins, with Crispr-edited DNA. “Two beautiful little Chinese girls, Lulu and Nana, came crying into the world as healthy as any other babies a few weeks ago,” the scientist, He Jiankui, said in the first of five promotional videos posted to YouTube hours after MIT Technology Review broke the news.

Lulu and Nana are reported to have a genetic mutation, courtesy of Crispr, that makes it harder for HIV to invade and infect their white blood cells. The claim, which has yet to be independently verified or backed up by published data, has ignited furious criticism, international outrage, and multiple investigations. The scientific outcry has been so swift because He’s purported work, conducted in secret, bulldozes past existing ethical guidance on so-called “germline editing,” in which alterations to an embryo’s DNA will be passed down to subsequent generations.

What’s perhaps most strange is not that He ignored global recommendations on conducting responsible Crispr research in humans. He also ignored his own advice to the world—guidelines that were published within hours of his transgression becoming public.

On Monday, He and his colleagues at Southern University of Science and Technology, in Shenzhen, published a set of draft ethical principles “to frame, guide, and restrict clinical applications that communities around the world can share and localize based on religious beliefs, culture, and public-health challenges.” Those principles included transparency and only performing the procedure when the risks are outweighed by serious medical need.

The piece appeared in the The Crispr Journal, a young publication dedicated to Crispr research, commentary, and debate. Rodolphe Barrangou, the journal’s editor in chief, where the peer-reviewed perspective appeared, says that the article was one of two that it had published recently addressing the ethical concerns of human germline editing, the other by a bioethicist at the University of North Carolina. Both papers’ authors had requested that their writing come out ahead of a major gene editing summit taking place this week in Hong Kong. When half-rumors of He’s covert work reached Barrangou over the weekend, his team discussed pulling the paper, but ultimately decided that there was nothing too solid to discredit it, based on the information available at the time.

Now Barrangou and his team are rethinking that decision. For one thing, He did not disclose any conflicts of interest, which is standard practice among respectable journals. It’s since become clear that not only is He at the helm of several genetics companies in China, He was actively pursuing controversial human research long before writing up a scientific and moral code to guide it.“We’re currently assessing whether the omission was a matter of ill-management or ill-intent,” says Barrangou, who added that the journal is now conducting an audit to see if a retraction might be warranted. “It’s perplexing to see authors submit an ethical framework under which work should be done on the one hand, and then concurrently do something that directly contravenes at least two of five of their stated principles.”

One is transparency. Reporting by Tech Review and The Associated Press has raised questions about whether He misled trial participants and Chinese regulators in his ambitions to make the first Crispr’d baby. Two is medical necessity.

Take the gene He’s group chose to edit: CCR5. It codes for a receptor that HIV uses to infiltrate white blood cells, like a key to a locked door. No key, no access. Other controversial Crispr firsts have attempted to correct faulty versions of genes responsible for inherited, often incurable disorders, reverting them back to the healthy version. In contrast, He’s group crippled normal copies of CCR5 to lower the risk of future possible infection with HIV—a disease that is easily prevented, treated, and controlled by means that don’t involve forever changing someone’s DNA. Drugs, condoms, needle-exchange programs are all reasonable alternatives.

“There are all sorts of questions these issues raise, but the most fundamental is the risk-benefit ratio for the babies who are going to be born,” says Hank Greely, an ethicist at Stanford University. “And the risk-benefit ratio on this stinks. Any institutional review board that approved it should be disbanded if not jailed.”

Reporting by Stat indicates that He may have just gotten in over his head and tried to cram a self-guided ethics education into a few short months. The young scientist—records indicate He is just 34—has a background in biophysics, with stints studying in the US at Rice University and in bioengineer Stephen Quake’s lab at Stanford. His resume doesn’t read like someone steeped deeply in the nuances and ethics of human research. Barrangou says that came across in the many rounds of edits He’s framework went through. “The editorial team did spend a significant amount of time improving both the language and the content,” he says.

It’s too soon to say whether He’s stunt will bring him fame or just infamy. He’s still scheduled to speak at the human genome editing summit on Wednesday and Thursday. And China’s central government in Beijing has yet to come down one way or another. Condemnation would make He a rogue and a scientific outcast. Anything else opens the door for a Crispr IVF cottage industry to emerge in China and potentially elsewhere. “It’s hard to imagine this was the only group in the world doing this,” says Paul Knoepfler, a stem cell researcher at UC Davis who wrote a book on the future of designer babies called GMO Sapiens. “Some might say this broke the ice. Will others forge ahead and go public with their results or stop what they’re doing and see how this plays out?”

What happens next makes all the difference. The fact that two babies now exist with one gene changed by Crispr to a less common form doesn’t change the world overnight. What changes the world is how society reacts, and whether it decides to let such DNA-altering procedures become common.
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