Zagreb County in the palm of your hand – a virtual tourist map presented

first_imgTourism is one of the first branches to accept all new trends as well as technological achievements, and today it is more crucial than ever to be vigilant, monitor and implement all new technological achievements. If you stagnate, fail and lose pace with the competition, and they are aware of this in the Zagreb County Tourist Board, which has recognized the need for constant development and investment in new technologies.In addition to a new and modern website in several foreign languages, communication on social networks, the Zagreb County Tourist Board presented a new digital interactive display of the Zagreb County (www.locator-tzzz.com).The digital locator is designed as an intuitive display of all tourist destinations using a website, mobile application, social networks and an interactive display. With a fast and visually pleasing presentation on a virtual map, the user can easily find what his priority is. “The site contains recordings, texts, galleries and photographs, provides the tourist with a “county in the palm of your hand” and is his virtual tourist guide. ” stand out from the Zagreb County Tourist Board.Multimedia content also includes panoramic photos and videos from the air and virtual walks that can give the user a full experience of the natural and cultural beauties of Zagreb County, and there are also promotional films, shot and edited to the highest standards.Nice tourist story, explore the digital locator www.locator-tzzz.com and feel free to get lost in Zagreb County.last_img read more

Read more on Zagreb County in the palm of your hand – a virtual tourist map presented

Contract signed for the project of building an underpass under the taxiway of Zadar Airport

first_imgThe State Secretary for Infrastructure, Tomislav Mihotić, on behalf of the relevant Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure, signed the Contract for the “Project for the construction of an underpass on the connecting section between DC422 and ŽC6040, below the rural runway of Zadar Airport”.The construction project is necessary in order to separate the traffic flows of air and road traffic, which will enable unhindered traffic to each of these types of traffic. The length of the project is 444,36 m, and the value of the works is approximately 27 million kuna (excluding VAT). The deadline for the execution of works will be 18 months from the date of introduction of the contractor.”Already this year, we will continue to increase traffic. According to the previously agreed lines, we expect between 8 and 12 percent more passengers, and if some lines that are in the negotiations are concretized, we could exceed last year’s traffic by 15 percent. ” pointed out the director of the Airport Irena Ćosić. Of the new companies, easyJet has announced a route to Milan, three times a week, Flybe and Titan Airways to London and Manchester once a week, from the end of May to the end of October, and the old operators Ryanair and Eurowings are also expanding their offer and number of routes. Ryanair has announced routes to Bristol, Copenhagen and Glasgow, while Eurowings has announced new routes to Vienna and Munich.Last year was a record year for Zadar Airport, and a total of 520.924 passengers arrived, which is about 35 thousand passengers more than the previous year, ie an increase of 6,82 percent.Related news:ZADAR COUNTY ENTERS 2017 WITH NEW PROMOTIONAL BROCHURESlast_img read more

Read more on Contract signed for the project of building an underpass under the taxiway of Zadar Airport

Cultures perceive direct eye contact differently

first_imgPinterest Email Share on Facebook Share Share on Twittercenter_img People have romanticized the eyes for centuries, claiming to be able to read the emotions within them — anger, lust, joy. Eye contact is important in everyday interactions with other people, as a face with a direct gaze captures our attention. While researchers have established that people can accurately determine where a person is looking, comparisons between different cultural groups of perceived eye contact had yet to be studied — until this past February, as published in PLoS ONE.Scientists compared two cultural groups — Finnish and Japanese — to see if eye contact perception differed between the two. Past studies have shown that Westerners, in general, look to the mouth to determine facial expressions, and focus on the eyes and mouth when memorizing faces; East Asians attend to the eyes and center of the face, respectively. Eye contact for Western cultures is more important than East Asian cultures. Another difference between these two cultures is the perception of emotion strength; East Asians perceived subjective emotions as more intense than Westerners.The participants in the study consisted of 30 Finnish and 30 Japanese young adults, most of whom were female. The researchers showed participants a dot in the middle of the screen, followed by either a Japanese or a Finnish face, and then the response window, which gave the participants the options of ‘looking at me’ or ‘not looking at me’. Each model and each variation of gaze (0 degrees, 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 in either direction) was shown to each participant for a total of 176 trials. LinkedIn Participants responded the most correctly to faces that were truly looking at them (0 degrees). The Finnish participants incorrectly believed more Japanese models to be looking at them than the Japanese participants, which suggests that cultural differences in “eye contact behavior might modulate the effect of visual expertise.” Extended eye contact is avoided in Japanese culture, which may have affected their ability to discern direct eye contact.As many cultures are constantly congregating, from fields such as business to healthcare, it is important to note how they interact with each other. This includes subtle differences like eye contact, which can be a deal breaker or deal maker in any context.last_img read more

Read more on Cultures perceive direct eye contact differently

People who weigh more than others see distances as farther away

first_imgShare on Facebook Share Research conducted by psychologists at Purdue University and Colorado State has found that a person’s perception of distances is influenced by their physical body weight.The study, titled “Perceived distance and obesity: It’s what you weigh, not what you think” was published in the March issue of the scientific journal Acta Psychologica. The research was conducted by Mila Sugovica, Philip Turkb, Jessica K. Witt.“One common assumption is that people who struggle with obesity make poor behavioral and lifestyle choices,” the researchers wrote, noting that obese individuals are more likely to drive — rather than walk — to certain destinations. “However, if we consider that people who weigh more than others perceive the world differently, they may in fact be making reasonable behavioral decisions given the way they perceive the environment.” LinkedIn Share on Twittercenter_img Email Pinterest The researchers recruited 30 women and 36 men from outside a local store, and asked them to stand behind a piece of duct tape that had been placed on the sidewalk. The participants then guessed how far away an orange sports cone was from where they were standing.After this simple task, the participants filled out a survey about their height, weight, and perceived body size. The researchers also physically measured the participants’ actual height and weight.The researchers found that a person’s body weight influenced how far away they estimated the cone to be. In particular, those who weighed more tended to perceive the cone as farther away. This was true regardless of whether the participants felt they had a large or small body size. Their beliefs about their own body weight did not influence their distance estimates.Surprisingly, body mass index (BMI) — a simple measure of body size based on height and weight — was not a factor. “Body weight corresponds to the amount of energetic work that must be done (i.e. the amount of mass that must be transported), whereas BMI corresponds to, in part, the way this weight is distributed,” Sugovica and her colleagues explained.This finding suggests that a person’s overall body weight, rather than the distribution of fat and muscle, is the critical factor.“Perception might be influenced by the overall energetic work regardless of the muscle available to help achieve said goal,” the researchers said.last_img read more

Read more on People who weigh more than others see distances as farther away

Acetaminophen may reduce your empathy for other’s physical and social pain

first_imgLinkedIn Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Email “Acetaminophen can reduce empathy as well as serve as a painkiller.”Mischkowski conducted the study with Baldwin Way, who is an assistant professor of psychology and member of the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center’s Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research; and Jennifer Crocker, Ohio Eminent Scholar in Social Psychology and professor of psychology at Ohio State. Their results were published online in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.Acetaminophen – the main ingredient in the painkiller Tylenol – is the most common drug ingredient in the United States, found in more than 600 medicines, according to the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, a trade group.Each week about 23 percent of American adults (about 52 million people) use a medicine containing acetaminophen, the CHPA reports.In an earlier study, Way and other colleagues found that acetaminophen also blunts positive emotions like joy.Taken together, the two studies suggest there’s a lot we need to learn about one of the most popular over-the-counter drugs in the United States.“We don’t know why acetaminophen is having these effects, but it is concerning,” said Way, the senior author of the study.“Empathy is important. If you are having an argument with your spouse and you just took acetaminophen, this research suggests you might be less understanding of what you did to hurt your spouse’s feelings.”The researchers conducted two experiments, the first involving 80 college students. At the beginning, half the students drank a liquid containing 1,000 mg of acetaminophen, while the other half drank a placebo solution that contained no drug. The students didn’t know which group they were in.After waiting one hour for the drug to take effect, the participants read eight short scenarios in which someone suffered some sort of pain. For example, one scenario was about a person who suffered a knife cut that went down to the bone and another was about a person experiencing the death of his father.Participants rated the pain each person in the scenarios experienced from 1 (no pain at all) to 5 (worst possible pain). They also rated how much the protagonists in the scenarios felt hurt, wounded and pained.Overall, the participants who took acetaminophen rated the pain of the people in the scenarios to be less severe than did those who took the placebo.A second experiment involved 114 college students. As in the first experiment, half took acetaminophen and half took the placebo.In one part of the experiment, the participants received four two-second blasts of white noise that ranged from 75 to 105 decibels. They then rated the noise blasts on a scale of 1 (not unpleasant at all) to 10 (extremely unpleasant).They were then asked to imagine how much pain the same noise blasts would cause in another anonymous study participant.Results showed that, when compared to those who took the placebo, participants who took acetaminophen rated the noise blasts as less unpleasant for themselves – and also thought they would be less unpleasant for others.“Acetaminophen reduced the pain they felt, but it also reduced their empathy for others who were experiencing the same noise blasts,” Mischkowski said.In another part of the experiment, participants met and socialized with each other briefly. Each participant then watched, alone, an online game that purportedly involved three of the people they just met. (The other participants weren’t actually involved).In the “game,” two of the people the participants had met excluded the third person from the activity.Participants were then asked to rate how much pain and hurt feelings the students in the game felt, including the one who was excluded.Results showed that people who took acetaminophen rated the pain and hurt feelings of the excluded student as being not as severe as did the participants who took the placebo.“In this case, the participants had the chance to empathize with the suffering of someone who they thought was going through a socially painful experience,” Way said.“Still, those who took acetaminophen showed a reduction in empathy. They weren’t as concerned about the rejected person’s hurt feelings.”While these results had not been seen before, they make sense in the light of previous research, Way said.A 2004 study scanned the brains of people as they were experiencing pain and while they were imagining other people feeling the same pain. Those results showed that the same part of the brain was activated in both cases.“In light of those results, it is understandable why using Tylenol to reduce your pain may also reduce your ability to feel other people’s pain as well,” he said.The researchers are continuing to study how acetaminophen may affect people’s emotions and behavior, Way said. They are also beginning to study another common pain reliever – ibuprofen – to see if it has similar results.center_img Share Pinterest When you take acetaminophen to reduce your pain, you may also be decreasing your empathy for both the physical and social aches that other people experience, a new study suggests.Researchers at The Ohio State University found, for example, that when participants who took acetaminophen learned about the misfortunes of others, they thought these individuals experienced less pain and suffering,when compared to those who took no painkiller.“These findings suggest other people’s pain doesn’t seem as big of a deal to you when you’ve taken acetaminophen,” said Dominik Mischkowski, co-author of the study and a former Ph.D. student at Ohio State, now at the National Institutes of Health.last_img read more

Read more on Acetaminophen may reduce your empathy for other’s physical and social pain

A good action plan protects your goals from the negative impacts of anger, study finds

first_imgShare on Twitter LinkedIn New research suggests that developing a strong action plan is important in preventing anger from disrupting your goals. The study, published in the journal Motivation and Emotion, examined how anger impacted persistence while pursuing a goal.“We were interested in when and why anger during the pursuit of personally relevant goals may facilitate or impede the achievement of these goals,” study author Antje Schmitt, an assistant professor at the University of Groningen.“There are divergent perspectives in the literature on how anger in the process of goal pursuit, persistence, and goal achievement are related. Whereas some research suggests that the feeling of anger may support persistence in goal striving, some other literature argues that anger may reduce persistence.” “Based on existing theory and previous research, we thought that action planning could be a key factor to explain these divergent perspectives. But so far, we had little knowledge on how the interplay of the feeling of anger and action planning affects the achievement of personal goals,” Schmitt explained.In two studies, with 307 participants, the researchers found that anger was associated with a reduction in persistence and a decrease in goal achievement among those with poorer planning. Among participants who developed strong action plans, on the other hand, anger was not associated with persistence or goal achievement.“Our results show that when people experience anger during the pursuit of personally relevant goals, their persistence in pursuing these goals is reduced given that they have not developed a strong action plan on how to reach these goals. This‚ in turn‚ makes it more likely that they will have problems in achieving their goals. Without a strong detailed and future-oriented action plan it is more difficult for people to accomplish their goals persistently when anger during goal pursuit arises,” Schmitt told PsyPost.“Developing a good action plan on how to attain personal relevant goals is important. Training intervention studies show that people can be taught to develop action plans.”The study — like all research — includes some limitations.“We were not satisfied with the way we measured action planning in the second of the two studies. We believe that future research needs to better address the measurement of action planning and use better measures,” Schmitt said.In the first study, participants were asked to explain one personal goal that they intended to achieve within the next two weeks and then describe how they planned to achieve that goal. Two independent research assistants rated the quality of action planning.In the second study, participants were asked to explain one personal goal that they intended to achieve within the next two weeks. Then, their action planning was assessed by asking how much they agreed or disagreed with statements such as “I thought about several possible ways before working on my tasks” and “I made very detailed plans how to accomplish my tasks.”“Moreover, we argued that being persistent in striving towards personal relevant goals has positive consequences for individuals. However, in some situations it can be more effective for people to disengage from a personal goal, for instance, when this goal is unrealistic or it can be more effective to, at least, adapt the action plan to reach that goal instead of persistently following an action plan that turns out to be dysfunctional,” Schmitt added.The study, “When and how does anger during goal pursuit relate to goal achievement? The roles of persistence and action planning“, was authored by Antje Schmitt, Michael M. Gielnik, and Sebastian Seibel. Emailcenter_img Pinterest Share on Facebook Sharelast_img read more

Read more on A good action plan protects your goals from the negative impacts of anger, study finds

Study of 399,798 individuals finds no substantial gender difference in loneliness

first_imgShare Men and women experience similar levels of loneliness across the lifespan, according to new research published in the European Journal of Personality. The results indicate that people should not assume that males are more lonely than females.“In many studies on loneliness, gender differences have been examined. Quite often I read a conclusion such as ‘We found that loneliness was higher among females, which is in line with previous research [one or two references].’ But equally often, I read the same conclusion only with the finding that loneliness was higher among males,” said study author Marlies Maes, a postdoctoral researcher at Research Foundation Flanders and KU Leuven.“So, I wanted to know, what is the case; are men or women more lonely? Together with a great team of loneliness researchers, I set up a large meta-analysis to examine this question in a systematic and thorough way. In addition to this motive to finally come to some kind of consensus, it is of course also a question with practical implications. When we have strong prejudices about gender, this could lead to less recognition and treatment for the group we view as less lonely.” Share on Twitter LinkedIn Pinterestcenter_img Maes and her colleagues examined data from 399,798 individuals from 45 countries collected from studies over the past 39 years. They examined three different types of loneliness: intimate (lacking close attachments), relational (lacking a network of social relationships), and collective (lacking connections with similar others).The researchers found a statistically significant difference between the genders, indicating that males tended to be slightly lonelier than females. This was particularly true among children, adolescents, and young adults.But the overall difference between males and females was minuscule.“Men and women are more alike than they are different regarding feelings of loneliness. We found very similar mean levels of loneliness for men and women, from childhood through old age, for different types of loneliness, and across a range of demographic background variables. So, we concluded that there are no substantial differences between men and women with regard to (mean levels of) loneliness,” Maes told PsyPost.But that doesn’t mean there’s absolutely no differences. “We found that mean levels of loneliness were on average very similar for men and women. This, however, does not necessarily mean that the causes of loneliness or the needed interventions are also the same for men and women,” Maes explained.“However, I would guess that differences within genders are much larger than the differences between men and women and that it would make most sense to look at the individual rather than at men versus women — but that is of course an issue that future research would need to dive into.”“I think we should be more careful, or thoughtful, when comparing men and women. First of all, not all individuals identify themselves as either male or female. Moreover, differences within genders are likely large, and often larger then between genders. Overemphasizing gender differences runs the risk of (unintentionally) underscoring stereotypes,” Maes added.The study, “Gender Differences in Loneliness Across the Lifespan: A Meta-Analysis“, was authored by Marlies Maes, Pamela Qualter, Janne Vanhalst, Wim Van den Noortgate, and Luc Goossens. Share on Facebook Emaillast_img read more

Read more on Study of 399,798 individuals finds no substantial gender difference in loneliness

New research links supernatural causal beliefs about COVID-19 to clinical emotional problems

first_imgShare on Twitter Share on Facebook Share A new Italian study explores the psychological factors impacting perceived emotional problems during COVID-19. The findings uncovered maladaptive personality traits and supernatural causal beliefs about COVID-19 as predictors of clinical emotional problems. The study was published in Personality and Individual Differences.The 2019 coronavirus brought countries around the world to a halt, infecting millions of people and leading to the adoption of drastic social distancing measures. As researchers have noted, data on the mental health outcomes associated with quarantine are limited. Study authors Antonella Somma and colleagues set out to decrease this gap in research by examining the prevalence of emotional problems in Italian residents during the pandemic.“We relied on the emotional problem construct because reactions to quarantine may include a range of negative emotions rather than have a single, specific form,” Somma and associates say. LinkedIncenter_img The study authors describe the dangers imposed by non-scientific claims about COVID-19, especially supernatural conspiracy theories. “Unfortunately, misinformation may be related to fear and prejudice, which in turn may undermine the subject’s willingness to implement the correct practices to prevent the COVID-19, thus putting at risk his/her own lives, as well as others’ lives (Calisher et al., 2020),” the authors say.A study was conducted between March 16 and March 21, 2020, to explore the impact of causal beliefs about COVID-19 and maladaptive personality traits on emotional problems. A sample of 1,043 Italian adults (average age = 32) completed an online survey which included an emotional problems scale. Participants also completed the Personality Inventory for DSM-5 Short-Form to assess the five personality domains of “Negative Affectivity, Detachment, Antagonism, Disinhibition, and Psychoticism.” Lastly, subjects completed the COVID-19 Causal Belief Questionnaire to assess their supernatural beliefs, conspiracy beliefs, and scientifically supported beliefs about the coronavirus.Results showed that around 13% of respondents presented with scores corresponding to clinical emotional difficulties. The researchers suggest this finding indicates “population-level resilience”, showing that the majority of Italian residents maintained their well-being during the pandemic.Still, researchers highlight the importance of identifying those who are most at risk of experiencing emotional harm in a given population. Three dysfunctional personality traits emerged as predictors of clinical level emotional problems. The strongest personality predictor was negative affectivity, which can be described as a tendency to experience negative emotions. Next, detachment, which describes the tendency to avoid interpersonal intimacy, was an additional predictor. Finally, disinhibition, which is associated with impulsivity and recklessness, emerged as the final predictor of emotional problems.When it came to causal beliefs, results showed that holding supernatural causal beliefs about the pandemic was a risk factor for clinical emotional problems. This was especially true when it came to beliefs about COVID-19 as the result of a political conspiracy. Surprisingly, scientifically supported beliefs did not emerge as either a risk or a protective factor for emotional issues.“Our findings,” the authors say, “were consistent with the hypothesis that conspiratorial beliefs may represent an attempt of those in high emotional distress at making sense of the world, thus allaying distress (e.g., Douglas, Sutton, & Cichoka, 2017). Treating emotional distress underlying conspiracy theories rather than directly confronting them with scientific evidence may represent a helpful strategy in shifting these beliefs.”The authors address the limitation that their study relied on self-report measures of emotional issues and call for future research to expand on their findings by using different methods of assessment.The study, “Dysfunctional personality features, non-scientifically supported causal beliefs, and emotional problems during the first month of the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy”, was authored by Antonella Somma, Giulia Gialdi, Robert F. Krueger, Kristian E. Markon, Claudia Frau, Silvia Lovallo, and Andrea Fossati. Pinterest Emaillast_img read more

Read more on New research links supernatural causal beliefs about COVID-19 to clinical emotional problems

LGB individuals are less likely to have a partner and more likely to be lonely as older adults, compared to heterosexuals

first_imgLinkedIn Researchers analyzed data from the third wave of the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project, a nationally representative study of older Americans. The final sample consisted of 3,567 adults between the ages of 50 and 97.The survey asked respondents to indicate their sexual orientation and whether or not they were currently married or cohabitating with a partner. The questionnaire also included a measure of loneliness and a series of items assessing the quality and quantity of their relationships with their spouse/partner, family, friends, and community.Results showed that LGB respondents were more lonely and less likely to be married or cohabitating than their heterosexual respondents. Further, they reported having a smaller number of close family members, less support from their families, less community participation, and more strain in their friendships.Importantly, while LGB respondents were less likely to have a partner than heterosexuals, those who were in relationships experienced similar levels of support and strain in their partnerships as heterosexuals. This finding was in line with previous studies that have suggested that the quality of same-sex relationships is equal to or better than the quality of heterosexual partnerships.Further analysis found that marital status explained 37% of the increased loneliness in LGB individuals compared to heterosexual individuals. This suggests that the decreased likelihood of having a partner played a crucial role in fostering loneliness in LGB individuals.“Having a spouse/partner, especially in the context of a legally protected and culturallyaccepted relationship, has long been identified as a key mechanism for both cultivating a sense of belonging and meaning and expanding social connections (e.g., families-in-law, a spouse’s friendship networks). The higher prevalence of being single among older LGB adults is a major risk factor for loneliness,” the authors say.Further, family support and family strain explained 28%, and friendship explained 17%, of the heightened loneliness among LGB participants.The study was limited by a small sample size of LGB respondents, which did not allow researchers to distinguish between different sexual minority identities. Further research should recruit a larger sample of LGB individuals in order to explore a greater diversity of sexual identities.The authors conclude, “this study demonstrates that continued efforts to strengthen the partnerships and family relationships of sexual minorities (for example, by fully destigmatizing minority identities through education and public policy) are essential to eliminating the loneliness gap by sexual orientation.”The study, “Social Relationships and Loneliness in Late Adulthood: Disparities by Sexual Orientation”, was authored by Ning Hsieh and Hui Liu.(Image by Mihai Paraschiv from Pixabay) A nationally representative study of older American adults found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals were lonelier than their heterosexual counterparts, and this effect was partly explained by challenges with social relationships. The findings were published in the Journal of Marriage and Family.Loneliness is especially common in older adults, but little research has considered how the risk for adult loneliness might differ according to a person’s sexual orientation. Evidence suggests that members of sexual minorities often experience troubled social relationships and may be especially at risk for experiencing loneliness as older adults.Study authors Ning Hsieh and Hui Liu, therefore, conducted a study to explore whether older LGB individuals experience more loneliness than their heterosexual counterparts and whether the quality and quantity of their social relationships can explain this effect. Pinterest Emailcenter_img Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Sharelast_img read more

Read more on LGB individuals are less likely to have a partner and more likely to be lonely as older adults, compared to heterosexuals

NEWS SCAN: Salmonella from Taco Bell, E coli from ground beef, classification of select agents

first_imgAug 6, 2010Taco Bell cited as source of Salmonella outbreakThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and health officials in Washington and Oregon have said that food served at Taco Bell restaurants is behind at least some of the recent cases of Salmonella Hartford and Salmonella Baildon, according to reports from Food Safety News and the Oregonian newspaper. However, no particular food item or supplier has been pinpointed as yet. The Food and Drug Administration has undertaken an extensive traceback effort to identify exactly where the bacteria are coming from but has so far been unsuccessful, the reports said. At least 155 people in 21 states became ill with salmonellosis between the beginning of April and late July. William Keene, senior epidemiologist with Oregon Public Health, told the Oregonian that Taco Bell is clearly the source for many of the illnesses but not all of them. Although no single food source has been identified, epidemiologists think lettuce or tomatoes or both are to blame, Keene said. He also said the food source was contaminated before reaching Taco Bell franchises. Laura Gieraltkowski, a CDC epidemiologist, said about a third of the Salmonella Harford and 40% of the Baildon patients were hospitalized, the Oregonian reported.Aug 6 Food Safety News articleAug 5 Oregonian articleCalifornia firm recalls ground beef in wake of E coli casesValley Meat Co. of Modesto, Calif., is recalling about 1 million pounds of ground beef in connection with a cluster of seven Escherichia coli O157:H7 infections involving a rare strain, the US Department of Agriculture announced today. The products subject to recall bear the establishment number “EST. 8268” on the USDA mark of inspection; they were produced between Oct 2, 2009, and Jan 12, 2010, and were distributed to retails stores and food services in California, Texas, Oregon, Arizona, and foreign countries. The USDA and the producer are concerned that some products may still be in customers’ freezers, officials said. California health officials identified six E coli cases with onset dates between Apr 8 and Jun 18 and later found a case that occurred in February, the USDA said.Aug 6 USDA press releaseNRC ponders classifying select agents by DNA sequencesIn a report issued this week, a committee of the US National Research Council (NRC) said it will not be possible anytime soon to predict a microorganism’s properties, such as pathogenicity or transmissibility, from its DNA sequences. However, the panel said it is technologically feasible to classify “select agents”—dangerous bacteria, viruses, toxins, and fungi—on the basis of their gene sequences, and such a classification could provide “much needed clarification” for administering the federal select agent regulations. Further, it would be possible to develop a “yellow flag” biosafety system for dealing with sequences deemed to be of concern, the report said. The system would involve a centralized sequence database that would be annotated as evidence of the function of suspect sequences is acquired. A “yellow flag” sequence would not necessarily be regulated, but companies that make synthetic DNA could use the information to screen orders for such sequences, noted a Nature news story about the report. While finding sequence-based classification and a yellow-flag system feasible, the NRC committee did not actually recommend developing them, saying it did not examine their cost or their potential impact on basic research or national security. The group said its principal finding was that sequence-based prediction of select agent properties is not feasible and that any research dedicated solely to this purpose is likely to have only negative consequences.NRC page with access to reportAug 3 Nature articlelast_img read more

Read more on NEWS SCAN: Salmonella from Taco Bell, E coli from ground beef, classification of select agents