Crowning Moment

While we were sitting down to Christmas dinner there was a moment that I’m glad I captured on camera.

Cora, who is 5 – almost 6, was put in the position of having to live with a broken tissue paper crown . . . and I remembered there was a much better one in the house. But just giving it to her would be too easy (and boring) so I put it on my own head and let the situation develop . . .

applied science social commentary xcience

It was a Fact Of Life until it wasn’t

My whole life the thinking on mitochondria was that the DNA for that was passed only from the Mother. Our own DNA comes from both parents but not that of the symbiotic bacteria that power all of our cells.

That has led many people down the path of searching for an original Eve. The single female from which all of us are descended. Maybe.

Well it turns out that mDNA can be inherited from the Father as well. As discussed in this article in TheConversation new research has shown, conclusively, that this happens.

So what will happen to all the research already done that assumed otherwise? Guess it will all have to be reconsidered at a minimum.

An aside to this: as I was discussing this with the only other person in the room at the time a side-track of thought had me asking if the mDNA is really yours in a legal sense.

Your nuclear DNA, the stuff that makes you uniquely you and me me is definitely your own in a sense that could be legal.

But that mDNA . . . that’s a bacteria that lives within your cells. Is that ‘yours’ from a legal point of view?

Try this mental exercise:

IF I could exchange the mDNA in the cells in your body with mDNA from cells in some other (mine for instance) human body (essentially replacing your mitochondria with mine) then I have three questions:

1 – would that work? Would the replacement mitochondria carry on supplying energy for the host cells in a way that doesn’t create problems?

2 – if the answer to Question 1 is Yes then would that mean that ‘you’ are any different from the ‘you’ you were before the switch?

3 – IF Q1 has a Yes and Q2 has a Yes then can we really say mitochondria are specific and ‘ownable’?

applied science

Progress ticks along and the future gets closer

Back in 2015 I opined that change in societal thinking on subjects around genetics and editing human genes would inevitably happen with Time.

In that article I referred to gene therapy research in China. Last week the world learned about a doctor in China that claims he has used CRISPR to edit the genes of humans, two of which have resulted in births. It’s a highly controversial claim as this article shows. He was trying for HIV resistance.

Now in ScienceDaily I read about “Early clinical trial data show gene therapy reversing sickle cell anemia” in two living patients.

The gene therapy developed by Cincinnati Children’s uses a modified gamma globin lentivirus vector to transfer a healthy fetal hemoglobin gene into a patient’s blood stem cells (hematopoietic stem cells, HSC). The lentivirus is modified so it does not cause illness.

So they are using a virus to modify genes in Stem Cells in a living person. To fix a disease, Sickle Cell Anemia, that has a genetic basis.

Granted that comparing these is almost akin to comparing apples and oranges because of the techniques and date of introduction of the gene changes (before birth vs already in existence for 25 to 35 years). But the point is that change is already happening. Human genetics is already being tinkered with.

If this works for these two individuals and does improve their quality of life and health and doesn’t introduce negative side effects then do you think the other 90,000 SCA patients in the USA will decide not to get the treatment? OR lobby for it being turned into a treatment available to all?

Tick, tock . . .


Winter Road Trip Adventure

Uncategorized A universal DNA nano-signature for cancer

Finally – a marker all cancers have in common. A universal DNA nano-signature for cancer.