FORENSIC PATHOLOGY AND CHIMERAS
This is one of those "fun" articles that I had to blog about, because it has all sorts of not-so-fun implications. It was spotted by N., who passed it along, and who gets a big thank you for doing so. The reason N. sent it along and the reason I'm blogging about it is the overall context that has been going on in the wonderful world of the modern Dr. Frankensteins working in their laboratories creating chimeras, fusions of mice and pigs and monkies and men. For that matter, we might also include the wonderful world of the modern millionaire Draculas who like to have "young blood" transfusions to maintain their youth. The standard internet theory is that they've got to have that adrenochrome, and hence, it's all the better if that "young blood" comes from a traumatized baby or child... you get the contextual picture. This contextual picture forms part of today's high octane speculation (and I mean, it's really high octane).
The article that N. sent concerns a Nevada gentleman who received a bone marrow transplant, but who then discovered that the DNA of his donor, a German gentleman thousands of miles away, was not only showing up in his own blood, but that it was showing up elsewhere in his body: in his saliva, in his semen, and so on and so forth. He was a true, genuine, chimera, carrying two sets of DNA:
Now, years ago, when all this inter-species miscegenation called "gene splicing" started gaining some real attention, and when GMOs and cross-plant genetic engineering started occurring, I blogged about a wild and crazy idea (and of course, was immediately blasted for it), but I'm going to repeat that high octane speculation once again, though this time, in the context afforded by this story. The wild and woolly speculation was that what if the consumption of chimerical plants over time broke down the body's natural defenses? Suppose, in other words, there was some kind of "epi-genetic barrier" that was a defense mechanism, but that it could degrade over time and with consistent consumption of chimerical (engineered) food? Would aspects of that engineered DNA start showing up in our own? Well, needless to say there were more than a couple of people who piled on me like a quarterback being sacked. Their point was, we don't turn into chickens if we eat omelettes, or into pigs, lettuce, or tomatoes if we eat bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches. But that wasn't really my point anyway.
But now in the case of Mr. Long in Nevada, who received a bone marrow transplant from a donor in Germany, it seems that not only is the donor's DNA showing up in Mr. Long's blood (which would be predictable), but that it's showing up in places were it "shouldn't", like Mr. Long's saliva and semen. Well, that too is predictable in a way: semen typically has very small amounts of blood mixed in, and both the mouth and the male sexual organ are served by lots of little capillaries. But there's a problem here too:
But four years after his lifesaving procedure, it was not only Mr. Long’s blood that was affected. Swabs of his lips and cheeks contained his DNA — but also that of his donor. Even more surprising to Mr. Long and other colleagues at the crime lab, all of the DNA in his semen belonged to his donor. “I thought that it was pretty incredible that I can disappear and someone else can appear,” he said.
One now sees why crime labs would have an interest in Mr. Long's chimerical case: if, say, he were to have children, who would be the father? Mr. Long's donor in Germany? Or Mr. Long himself? We already have a precedent in human adoption cases: typically, we ignore biology, and look at who's actually doing the fathering or mothering in cases like this: who has assumed the responsibility of emotional support and so on. That aspect is easy. But the article discloses something intriguing here: it was once thought by the "experts" to be completely impossible:
Three bone marrow transplant experts who were surveyed agreed that it was an intriguing question. They also agreed that passing on someone else’s genes as a result of a transplant like Mr. Long’s was impossible.
“There shouldn’t be any way for someone to father someone else’s child,” said Dr. Rezvani, the Stanford medical director.
That’s not to say that other forms of chimerism haven’t created comparably confusing scenarios. Fraternal twins sometimes acquire each other’s DNA in the womb; in at least one case that led to unfounded fears of infidelity when a man’s child did not seem to be his. In another case, a mother nearly lost custody of her children after a DNA test.
But a donor’s blood cells should not be able to create new sperm cells, Dr. Rezvani said. Dr. Mehrdad Abedi, the doctor at the University of California, Davis, who treated Mr. Long, agreed: He believed it was Mr. Long’s vasectomy that explained how his semen came to contain his donor’s DNA. The forensic scientists involved say they plan to investigate further. (Emphasis added)
In other words:
EXPERT: It shouldn't and can't happen.
REALITY: But it did.
So, what if Mr. Long's semen production of his donor is not due to Mr. Long's vasectomy, but rather to something else?
It's that "something else" I want to explore as my high octane speculation. What if we've created, through widespread use of genetic engineering and fusions - what I'm calling "inter-species miscegenation" - a breakdown of some sort of "epigenetic barrier" that will only increase over time? It's an intriguing idea to ponder, if for no other reason than that it seems so counter-intuitive and against the grain of the paradigms of speciation we've been taught and that have been hammered into us in school. If that wild and woolly high octane speculation is true, then possibly one way it might begin to manifest itself is that the breakdowns will start to occur on a case-to-case basis, in individuals whose natural "epigenetic barrier defenses against chimerism have for whatever reason, such as health issues, been weakened. Over time, it grows to the extent that chimerical species take over from current ones as the next leap of "evolution", or over time, species grow increasingly together and not apart (and yes, that obviously has all sorts of nasty implications for various forms of Darwinism).
So my prediction, if my little experimental hypothesis is true, is that over time we'll see more and more stories like this one. But in the meantime, because it is such a nutty idea, you can all pile on!
See you on the flip side...
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