The four countries in the West African sub-region which are yet to enlist in the Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) initiative have been urged to do so to benefit from the mechanism as a tool for good governance that can speed up their developments, a press release said yesterday.Alassane Diamouténé, Chief of Staff in the Office of the Minister of Integration of Ivory Coast, made the call recently at the start of a two-day West Africa Regional Workshop on the APRM in the Ivoirian capital, Abidjan.Member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) which are not yet party to APRM initiative are Cape Verde, The Gambia, Guinea and Guinea Bissau.Mr Diamouténé, opening the workshop, observed that “Thirteen out of fifteen countries in our ECOWAS zone have known at least a crisis period and/or civil war due to issues around governance.” Putting an end to conflict requires choosing good governance “and taking into account the real aspirations of our peoples,” he said.It is this context that has contributed to the engagement of countries of the sub-region with initiatives, such as the APRM, that review political governance, Mr Diamouténé added.Also speaking at the opening ceremony, Dr Mustapha Mekideche, President of the APRM Panel of Eminent Persons, indicated that there are ongoing efforts at reinvigorating the Mechanism based on four guiding principles.He named the principles as: 1) the reality principle, which clearly shows that the level of governance of APRM-adhered member States has improved, compared with those states still to join the process; 2) the solidarity principle, which encourages countries of a sub-region such as ECOWAS to progress on an equal footing in matters of political, social and economic governance; 3) the conviction principle, which promotes the idea that Africa can pretty much make progress on the path to governance and can do so with its own means; and 4) the subsidiary principle, which seeks to create synergies with other bodies to promote adherence to the mechanism. Dr. Mekideche enlisted the advocacy support role of ECOWAS for its member states to include their APRM national action plans in wider national and regional development plans.Speaking on behalf of the Chairperson of the ECOWAS Commission, Koffi Siméon said the Commission intends to play its role to fully support the efforts of member States towards a standardized and universal appropriation of APRM across West Africa.The Vice President of the APRM Panel of Eminent Persons (who doubles as the main Panellist for Cote d’Ivoire), Prof Mahmoud Youssouf Khayal, in his address, placed the mechanism within its context of originality and innovation. He argued that no single tool in the world matches the APRM’s governance and accountability framework, which is strongly building a movement for governance in Africa in general and in West Africa in particular.Ms Hodane Youssouf, representing the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), also addressed the gathering.Over fifty personalities across ECOWAS honored the invitation of the APRM Secretariat, ECOWAS and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). The two-day workshop examined several APRM issues, notably getting abreast of the second-generation review methodology, ensuring sponsorship of the four ECOWAS countries that are not yet members of the Mechanism, and sharing of good practices.Liberia was represented at the event by Dax Patterson Sua, Executive Director of the APRM-Liberia Country Program, and Amos Z. Koukou, Liaison to APRM –Liberia Country Program Office.APRM is a tool for sharing experiences, reinforcing best practices, identifying deficiencies, and assessing capacity-building to foster policies, standards and practices that lead to political stability, high economic growth, sustainable development and accelerated sub-regional and continental economic integration.Member countries use the APRM to self–monitor all aspects of their governance and socioeconomic development. African Union (AU) stakeholders participate in the self-assessment of all branches of government – Executive, Legislative and Judicial – as well as the private sector, civil society and the media. The APRM Review Process gives member states a space for national dialogue on governance and socioeconomic indicators, and an opportunity to build consensus on the way forward.The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) is a specialized agency of the African Union (AU) initiated in 2002 and established in 2003 by the African Union in the framework of the implementation of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Marcus Bisram’s murder caseBy Shemuel FanfairThe high-profile case of prominent New York-based Guyanese Marcus Bisram is taking another turn, as proceedings have been filed at the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) – the region’s highest court, which is based on the island of Trinidad.This recent move was mounted by Bisram’s mother Sharmila Inderjali, who was just last week denied an application for urgent hearing by the Appeal Court of Guyana, which essentially sought to expedite the judicial process regarding a bid to have the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) withdraw a murder case. Appellate Court Justice Rishi Persaud, acting Justices Dr Arif Bulkan and Rafiq Khan, presided over the matter.Sharmila Inderjali, appellant and mother of BisramBisram is accused of having arranged Berbice carpenter Fiyazz Narinedatt’s death after Narinedatt had rejected the overseas-based Bisram’s sexual advances at a party two years ago. For the past year, Bisram had been detained at a New York facility as his legal team continued to oppose extradition here, citing what it argues are several inconsistences in the prosecution’s case.However, when the Appeal Court ruled unfavourably towards Bisram’s mother, she was ordered to pay the State $250,000 in court costs.In court documents seen by Guyana Times, Inderjali filed her application to the CCJ last week. Her lawyers include attorneys Sanjeev Datadin and Siand Dhurjon, while the respondent in the matter is listed as State Counsel Stacy Goodings from the Chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). Goodings has been appearing as the prosecutor in the preliminary inquiry (PI) after the DPP had taken over the case from Police at the Magistrate’s Court in Berbice.Murder accused: Marcus BisramAccording to the case filed in the CCJ, the applicant is seeking an order granting her special leave against the Appeal Court’s July 31, 2018 decision to dismiss her February 6, 2018 application. Inderjali also is seeking to have the Caribbean-based Justices abridge the time for which the application can be heard, while the applicant is also requesting court costs.In their case filed at the CCJ, opposing the Appellate Court’s ruling that refused her application, Bisram’s mother observed that the Court “failed to appreciate the uniqueness of the case” and its “special circumstances”. She outlined that the Prosecution’s evidence relies on that of a single witness, who is youthful and is of “limited intellect”. The mother said also that the Police never alleged that there is any other evidence against Bisram.The applicant’s case outlines that she mounted proceedings at the High Court before Justice Navindra Singh last year, where she sought an Order Nisi to prohibit the DPP from pursing the murder charge which was instituted on March 7, 2017 against Bisram. The applicant’s grounds were that continued prosecution of her son would, among other things, be “unlawful, unconstitutional, malicious, and without legal foundation. This was premised on several events that transpired during the PI.During the High Court proceedings, Inderjali also sought an Order Nisi of Mandamus to compel the DPP to “wholly withdraw” and discontinue Bisram’s murder charge, and observed similar objections as outlined in the previous order.Justice Singh heard the case on November 24, 2017 and refused the orders. The applicant appealed his decision 6 days later.In her appeal to the CCJ, Inderjali accepted that the case is of great general and public importance, and that it concerns the exercise of the DPP’s discretion, which she says is essential to the proper administration of justice and public confidence in the judicial system. However, Bisram’s mother details that the Appeal Court’s order was “erroneous and unjust”, adding that her case has good prospects for success.Contrary to Inderjali’s characterisation of the Appellate Court’s decision, the Justices there had suggested that the filing of the urgency appeal and associated multiple litigations amounted to an abuse of the court’s process.The Appeal Court’s decision was read by acting Appellate Justice Dr. Arif Bulkan, who opined last Tuesday that this most recent case was the third such application that sought similar reliefs – these being to compel the DPP not to continue prosecution against Bisram. It was indicated that a separate motion was brought before another judge in a separate county of Guyana.Bisram’s extradition order was signed in October last by US Judge Peggy Kuo. He was charged in absentia in 2016 for the murder of the 27-year-old Number 70 Village Corentyne carpenter Narinedatt.Radesh Motie, Diadatt Datt, Harri Paul Parsram, Orlando Dickie and Niran Yacoob were all charged. Two of the accused had allegedly confessed to investigators that they were ordered by the overseas-based Guyanese businessman to dump the carpenter’s body on the Number 70 Public Road to make his death seem the result of a hit and run accident.Additionally, the businessman’s mother and sister have been accused of offering bribes to Police ranks to “duck the case”. Since commencement of the preliminary inquiry in Berbice, several persons have been accused of witness tampering.
Lionel Messi has been linked with an eye-watering £800,000-a-week deal at Manchester City, should he leave Barcelona.That would make him comfortably the highest paid player in the world, should the two clubs agree on a transfer fee, which you would expect to be equally as mind-boggling. So the Drivetime team want to know – £800,000-a-week for Messi, is that money well spent or madness?Vote below! Lionel Messi 1
GAA: The Comortas Peile na Gaeltachta finals in Ardara have been postponed due to the adverse weather conditions as wind and rain batters Donegal.The horrendous weather has forced organisers to postpone the match after deeming the playing pitch unplayable.The All-Ireland Final was going to be an all Donegal affair with Kilcar and Naomh Conaill facing off with Kilcar looking to retain their crown. There had been suggestions that the game would take place in Killybegs but organisers have now decided to cancel the match.It’s a real pity for all the volunteers at Ardara who have worked tirelessly over the last few months to make sure everything goes smoothly and the competition is run without a hitch.However, you don’t expect the weather to force postponements at a football competition in June, but that’s the Irish weather for you.It is not yet known what date the finals will now be played on. ALL-IRELAND GAELTACHT FINALS CANCELLED DUE TO ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS was last modified: June 1st, 2015 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:newsSport
THERE has been widespread condemnation of the murder of Chubby Allen, a known police drugs suspect from Derry.MLA for Derry Pat Ramsey said the young man had been asked to leave the area a few months ago by Republican elements due to anti-social behaviour.“I totally condemn the incident, and my sympathies are with the victim’s family,” he said. Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has also spoken out against the murder.“There is shock tonight in the community on hearing the news of the murder of this young man in Buncrana. His life has now been cut short and a family has now been plunged into grief and despair,” he said.“People north and south have rejected these actions; they need to stop immediately.“I would appeal to anyone who noticed anything unusual or suspicious before or after the shooting to come forward to Gardaí immediately.” © 2011 donegaldaily.com, all Rights ReservedThe copying, republication or redistribution of donegaldaily.com Content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited by law. Advertisement Follow us on www.twitter.com/donegaldailyFollow us on www.facebook.com/donegaldaily BUNCRANA MURDER: CONDEMNATION OVER BRUTAL KILLING was last modified: February 10th, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)
Donegal boxer Jason Quigley is going for gold.Jason Quigley is one fight away from an amazing gold medal.The powerhouse from Ballybofey put in a super performance to beat Russian Chebotarev in this morning’s semi-final of the World Championships.Quigley had to be in top form to overcome the highly-rated Russian. But the Finn Valley boxer put in a series of powerful combinations in the third round to stamp his authority on the fight.The Russian tried to respond but there was no stopping the 22 year old as he caught Chebotarev time and time again.Not even the fact that Quigley was forced to take a questionable second round standing count could stop him.The Donegal man eventually raised his hands when the referees returned their scores of 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 all in favour of Quigley. The final now awaits Jason as he dreams of repeating his gold-medal winning performance at the European Games and become World Champion.Jason’s mum Muriel watched the fight at her workplace at said “I am so proud of Jason. He did so well again.”Jason will now face Kazakhstan boxer Zhanibek Alimkhanuly after his semi-final opponent, Anthony Fowler from England, was forced to pull out with a hand injury.All of Donegal and Ireland are behind you Jason. JASON BATTLES HIS WAY FOR A SHOT AT THE WORLD TITLE! was last modified: October 25th, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:boxingfinalgold medalJason QuigleyWorld Championships
Yes, there were some positive moments from rookies Richie James and Jullian Taylor, and yes, … Click HERE if you’re having trouble viewing the gallery on your mobile device.SANTA CLARA — Preseason games are supposed to be perfunctory, forgettable affairs. They’re dress rehearsals — glorified practices — where the score doesn’t matter.The main goal of these contests is to execute the boiled down gameplan effectively and get out without any injuries.The 49ers did neither on Thursday.
Transport is the heartbeat of South Africa’s economic growth, ensuring goods and people move swiftly and safely to their destinations. We list the 12 agencies that keep South Africa and the economy ticking.There are 12 state-owned agencies that report to the Department of Transport and, collectively, they cover the country, from the east to the west coast and from the borders of the far north to the southernmost tip of Africa. (Pixlr.com)The country’s road, rail and maritime networks combined ensure the sustained growth of economic activity; the effective movement of goods and services and the safe travel of people.The National Department of Transport oversees the integration of the different modes and ensures a coordinated response to the country’s long-term transport requirements.There are 12 state-owned agencies that report to the Department of Transport and, collectively, they cover the country, from the east to the west coast and from the borders of the far north to the southernmost tip of Africa.Meet the agencies that keep SA movingThe South African National Roads Agency (SOC) Limited (SANRAL) is responsible for the planning, management, and maintenance of the country’s national road network. With more than 22 000km of primary road network under its control, it plays an important role in keeping the country’s economic wheels turning and improving the safety and travel experience of commuters.All road traffic that crosses the country’s extensive borders with neighbouring states is managed by the Cross-Border Road Transport Agency. Its aim is to reduce operational constraints and facilitate the free flow of trade and traffic.The Road Accident Fund provides a social security net to citizens by making available compulsory social insurance cover. The cover is in the form of indemnity insurance to persons who cause accidents and personal insurance to victims of motor accidents.The mission of the Road Traffic Infringement Agency is to encourage compliance with traffic laws through education and awareness campaigns, and the application of laws and regulations to penalise road users who contravene the rules of the road.The Road Traffic Management Agency coordinates the activities of agencies responsible for road safety across the national, provincial and local spheres of government. Its objective is to improve safety, security, discipline and mobility on the country’s roads.The Passenger Rail Agency (Prasa) is responsible for most of the passenger rail services in the country. Prasa consists of: Metrorail, which operates commuter rail services in urban areas; the Shosholoza Meyl, which operates long-distance passenger rail services; and Autopax, which manages long distance coach services. It also oversees regional rail services.The Railway Safety Regulator oversees safety on the network and investigates accidents and incidents relating to rail transport.More than 40-million passengers pass through the nine major airports managed by the Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA) every year. ACSA has grown into an efficient and commercially successful business which has expanded its operations to major markets overseas.The activities of the Air Traffic and Navigation Services ensure air safety and traffic control across the entire county as well as large parts of the southern Indian and Atlantic oceans.The Civil Aviation Authority is responsible for the enforcement of civil aviation safety and security through regulation, enforcement and the promotion of higher levels of safety in the industry.The Ports Regulator is an independent body that promotes access to ports and facilities and monitors the industry’s adherence to the national policy and regulatory framework.The country’s coastline stretches more than 2 500km from the desert border with Namibia on the west coast to Mozambique in the Indian Ocean. The South African Maritime Safety Authority was established to promote the country’s maritime interests, ensure the safety of life and property and combat pollution in the marine environment.Source: South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL)Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.
Due to their decreasing costs, lithium-ion batteries now dominate a range of applications including electric vehicles, computers, and consumer electronics. You might only think about energy storage when your laptop or cellphone is running out of juice, but utilities can plug bigger versions into the electric grid. And thanks to rapidly declining lithium-ion battery prices, using energy storage to stretch electricity generation capacity. Based on our research on energy storage costs and performance in North Carolina, and our analysis of the potential role energy storage could play within the coming years, we believe that utilities should prepare for the advent of cheap grid-scale batteries and develop flexible, long-term plans that will save consumers money.RELATED ARTICLESA First in New England: Utility-Scale Battery StorageCould Pool Pumps ‘Store’ Renewable Energy Better than Giant Batteries?New Life for Old Electric Vehicle BatteriesA Bright Future for Solar + Battery Systems in Australia Peak demand is pricey The amount of electricity consumers use varies according to the time of day and between weekdays and weekends, as well as seasonally and annually as everyone goes about their business. Those variations can be huge. For example, the times when consumers use the most electricity in many regions is nearly double the average amount of power they typically consume. Utilities often meet peak demand by building power plants that run on natural gas, due to their lower construction costs and ability to operate when they are needed. However, it’s expensive and inefficient to build these power plants just to meet demand in those peak hours. It’s like purchasing a large van that you will only use for the three days a year when your brother and his three kids visit. The grid requires power supplied right when it is needed, and usage varies considerably throughout the day. When grid-connected batteries help supply enough electricity to meet demand, utilities don’t have to build as many power plants and transmission lines. Given how long this infrastructure lasts and how rapidly battery costs are dropping, utilities now face new long-term planning challenges. Cheaper batteries About half of the new generation capacity built in the U.S. annually since 2014 has come from solar, wind, or other renewable sources. Natural gas plants make up the much of the rest but in the future, that industry may need to compete with energy storage for market share. In practice, we can see how the pace of natural gas-fired power plant construction might slow down in response to this new alternative. So far, utilities have only installed the equivalent of one or two traditional power plants in grid-scale lithium-ion battery projects, all since 2015. But across California, Texas, the Midwest, and New England, these devices are benefiting the overall grid by improving operations and bridging gaps when consumers need more power than usual. Based on our own experience tracking lithium-ion battery costs, we see the potential for these batteries to be deployed at a far larger scale and disrupt the energy business. When we were given approximately one year to conduct a study on the benefits and costs of energy storage in North Carolina, keeping up with the pace of technological advances and increasing affordability was a struggle. Projected battery costs changed so significantly from the beginning to the end of our project that we found ourselves rushing at the end to update our analysis. Once utilities can easily take advantage of these huge batteries, they will not need as much new power-generation capacity to meet peak demand. Utility planning Even before batteries could be used for large-scale energy storage, it was hard for utilities to make long-term plans due to uncertainty about what to expect. For example, most energy experts did not anticipate the dramatic decline in natural gas prices due to the spread of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, starting about a decade ago — or the incentive that it would provide utilities to phase out coal-fired power plants. In recent years, solar energy and wind power costs have dropped far faster than expected, also displacing coal — and in some cases natural gas — as a source of energy for electricity generation. Something we learned during our storage study is illustrative. We found that lithium-ion batteries at 2019 prices were a bit too expensive in North Carolina to compete with natural gas peaker plants — the natural gas plants used occasionally when electricity demand spikes. However, when we modeled projected 2030 battery prices, energy storage proved to be the more cost-effective option. Federal, state and even some local policies are another wild card. For example, Democratic lawmakers have outlined the Green New Deal, an ambitious plan that could rapidly address climate change and income inequality at the same time. And no matter what happens in Congress, the increasingly frequent bouts of extreme weather hitting the U.S. are also expensive for utilities. Droughts reduce hydropower output and heatwaves make electricity usage spike. The future Several utilities are already investing in energy storage. California utility Pacific Gas & Electric, for example, got permission from regulators to build a massive 567.5 megawatt energy-storage battery system near San Francisco, although the utility’s bankruptcy could complicate the project. Hawaiian Electric Company is seeking approval for projects that would establish several hundred megawatts of energy storage across the islands. And Arizona Public Service and Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority are looking into storage options as well. We believe these and other decisions will reverberate for decades to come. If utilities miscalculate and spend billions on power plants it turns out they won’t need instead of investing in energy storage, their customers could pay more than they should to keep the lights through the middle of this century. Jeremiah Johnson and Joseph F. DeCarolis are associate professors of environmental engineering at North Carolina State University. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
Many obese women have a hard time getting pregnant. When they do, often with the help of infertility treatments, they tend to have children who are prone to obesity themselves. Now, working in mice, researchers have identified a process in egg cells that may account for both of these problems. What’s more, a new diabetes drug—now in clinical trials—may offer a solution. This is “a new idea about how obesity affects the quality of eggs,” says David Albertini, a reproductive scientist at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, who was not involved in the study.Obesity doesn’t just impact a person’s lifestyle—it can also alter the way their cells work. High levels of fats and cholesterols can clog up a cell’s machinery and interfere with its ability to build fully functional proteins. More specifically, obesity stresses the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), where proteins are made and shuttled throughout the cell. This process, known as ER stress, can cause the cell to self-destruct and can occur in cells throughout the body, including the liver, pancreas, and brain.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)To find out if this stress response takes place inside egg cells as well, researchers led by Rebecca Robker, a cell biologist at the University of Adelaide in Australia, turned to a mouse model of obesity that closely replicates what’s seen in humans. The aptly named Blobby mice have a genetic mutation that causes them to overeat their way to obesity on regular, low-fat mouse chow.The researchers monitored both ER stress and the activity of mitochondria, the energy-generating machinery of cells, in the egg cells of obese and healthy mice, as well as how their egg cells faired after in vitro fertilization (IVF). When the researchers compared the patterns of gene expression in the egg cells of obese and lean mice, they found that the Blobby mice had significantly higher levels of genetic markers for ER stress. Critically, Blobby eggs also had reduced mitochondrial activity compared with their lean litter mates’ egg cells.“When we saw that the mitochondria in the eggs were damaged, we knew that that was a very important and critical problem,” Robker says. Mitochondria in eggs are particularly important; although both parents contribute DNA to a child, mitochondria from the mother’s eggs give rise to all the mitochondria in every single cell of an offspring’s body.The researchers found that the damaged mitochondria in the eggs of obese mice couldn’t replicate properly in the embryos. The fetuses that developed from the eggs of Blobby mice were heavier than those from skinny mice, and they had less mitochondrial DNA in their livers, kidneys, and hearts.“This is important because it provides a new mechanism, a new understanding, for how obesity may lead to an offspring’s own propensity for obesity,” Robker says.She and her colleagues predicted that both the cellular stress response and the mitochondrial damage could be reversed by treating obese mice with existing compounds. A stressed ER can flood a cell with calcium, and mitochondria, which help keep calcium levels in check inside cells, can then become overwhelmed and break down. Robker’s team reasoned that by tackling the problem in the ER, the benefits would trickle down to the mitochondria. Indeed, when the researchers gave the obese mice BGP-15—an ER stress inhibitor that in early clinical trials for diabetes research is already proving to be a safe and effective way to increase mitochondria in muscle cells—the eggs showed both lower levels of cellular stress and higher mitochondrial activity. And when these eggs were fertilized and transferred into surrogate mothers, they no longer grew into overweight fetuses, the team reports online today in Development.Robker’s team is now testing whether the diabetes drug will have similar fertility-boosting effects on isolated human eggs. Still, she notes that weight loss and nutritional strategies—instead of drugs—can also keep women from having to resort to IVF. “Obese women only have to lose a small amount of weight and their natural fertility will often return.”