Feed on

You thought I was going to talk about statistics?

Not really.

A good friend of mine happens to suffer from Type 1 diabetes, and one of my brothers played football with someone who suffers from it. I found the following information on the insulin that they must use to regulate their blood sugar and metabolism:

The initial sources of insulin for clinical use in humans were cow, horse, pig or fish pancreases. Insulin from these sources is effective in humans as it is nearly identical to human insulin (three amino acid difference in bovine insulin, one amino acid difference in porcine). Differences in suitability of beef-, pork-, or fish-derived insulin for individual patients have historically been due to lower preparation purity resulting in allergic reactions to the presence of non-insulin substances. Though purity has improved steadily since the 1920s ultimately reaching purity of 99% by the mid-1970s thanks to high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) methods, minor allergic reactions still occur occasionally, although the same types of allergic reactions have also been known to occur in response to synthetic “human” insulin varieties. Insulin production from animal pancreases was widespread for decades, but very few patients today rely on insulin from animal sources, largely because few pharmaceutical companies sell it anymore.

Biosynthetic human insulin (insulin human rDNA, INN) for clinical use is manufactured by recombinant DNA technology.[45] Biosynthetic human insulin has increased purity when compared with extractive animal insulin, enhanced purity reducing antibody formation. Researchers have succeeded in introducing the gene for human insulin into plants as another method of producing insulin (“biopharming”) in safflower.[46][47] This technique is anticipated to reduce production costs.

Those came from Wikipedia entries on Insulin and Diabetes. Note, that my trust in Wikipedia and other similar social information pages is a bit shook for it seems as though there are Gatekeepers who make sure that the information on the pages contains what they want it to contain – they are not truly “free for alls” of information. That’s the topic for another day.

Today’s point is simple, again. Genes (DNA) are taken from humans, transferred into a bacteria (yucky e Coli to boot!), those e Coli are allowed to grow and then in the process they produce an insulin very similar to what humans naturally produce. This is very clearly a case of Genetic Modification. In other words, Insulin medication is a GMO. I bet many other medicines are too.

We should ban it.

2 Responses to “Type I and Type II Error”

  1. Dan says:

    In fact when it first came out it was (sort of) banned. If you’re interested, Richard Epstein gives a summary of the history of its invention, and also why it’s relevant for generally understanding innovation, starting at the 1:05:00 mark here: https://youtu.be/DDSO36mzBss?t=1h5m

  2. sherlock says:

    My father and sister both have Type 1 and I did know the history of insulin production, yet I never put it together as big-bad “GMO”. This could be a function of when I found out how insulin was produced (about 10 years old) and never really thinking about it again, but that’s just giving myself an excuse! Thanks WC for pointing this out.

Leave a Reply