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Thread: A story my dentist told me

  1. #1

    A story my dentist told me

    My dentist told be about a recent conference he attended, where he saw a presentation about a new discovery. It's been found that a certain beneficial bacteria, when present in the mouth, prevents the growth of "bad" bacteria that produce acid and thus tooth decay. Some people have this bacteria naturally [and have few if any cavities as a result], and for those who lack it, it can be introduced and it will eventually "crowd out" the bad bacteria.

    So some bright scientists figure it might be a good idea to add this bacteria to toothpaste, right? Well, they'll need FDA approval to do that. And to get that approval, it will cost a lot of money, money that most logically would be provided by a corporation that seeks to profit from selling the toothpaste.

    But that's the problem: Once this use is approved by the FDA, anyone could manufacture this type of toothpaste. There's no incentive for any one manufacturer to front the money for approval: You can't patent a germ that occurs in nature.

    So some bright businessmen are having a genetically modified version of this bacteria developed. But there's nothing that needs modification to get the desired result! So they are just flipping a single base pair, one that serves no functional purpose.

    That version of the bacteria will be submitted for approval because, being GMed, it can be patented. And although everyone acknowledges the GM bacteria is identical in every way to the natural one, nobody will be allowed to produce toothpaste with the naturally-occurring bacteria.

    I imagine this type of silliness happens on a regular basis.

  2. #2
    Heard of this before with a cancer treatment I think.

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