August 8, 2016

"3 Human Chimeras That Already Exist."

"A chimera is essentially a single organism that's made up of cells from two or more 'individuals'—that is, it contains two sets of DNA, with the code to make two separate organisms."
One way that chimeras can happen naturally in humans is that a fetus can absorb its twin...

A person can also be a chimera if they undergo a bone marrow transplant. During such transplants, which can be used for example to treat leukemia, a person will have their own bone marrow destroyed and replaced with bone marrow from another person...

More commonly, people may exhibit so-called microchimerism—when a small fraction of their cells are from someone else. This can happen when a woman becomes pregnant, and a small number of cells from the fetus migrate into her blood and travel to different organs.

A 2015 study suggested that this happens in almost all pregnant women, at least temporarily.... In some cases, fetal cells may stay in a woman's body for years. In a 2012 study, researchers analyzed the brains of 59 women ages 32 to 101, after they had died. They found 63 percent of these women had traces of male DNA from fetal cells in their brains....
Wow. That last one is kind of disturbing!

39 comments:

Hagar said...

but might explain a few things!

madAsHell said...

They found 63 percent of these women had traces of male DNA from fetal cells in their brains....

They swallowed!!

Bob Boyd said...

Can a woman with traces of male DNA still wear shorts?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

They found 63 percent of these women had traces of male DNA from fetal cells in their brains

Was it possible to detect how much more rational these women were, or was the percentage of male DNA too small?

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Saw a documentary a few years ago about this.

Here is a link to a news story about it. Two women whose DNA from some parts of their body matched their kids, and others did not.

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=human+chimera&&view=detail&mid=13A2414301F25EC77D5213A2414301F25EC77D52&FORM=VRDGAR

MathMom said...

Why is that disturbing? Maybe that is nature's way of making a woman competent to be the mother of little boys! Maybe that's what is required so she understands why her young boys like loud belching and the "talking armpit".

traditionalguy said...

Having a girl child would not add any male DNA to the mother. Only having a male child.

Have they correlate this difference with postpartum depression?

mockturtle said...

Are you trying to build a case for transgenderism?

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

When it comes to human chimeras, I'm of two minds on the subject.

Paul Snively said...

But remember, kids, abortion is about "a woman's control over her own body!

Anybody who isn't dangerously scientifically ignorant, or too intellectually dishonest to bother trying to have a conversation with, already knew this was a farcical canard, but it's nice to have further scientific evidence.

Paul Snively said...

Eric the Fruit Bat: When it comes to human chimeras, I'm of two minds on the subject.

Beside yourself, are you?

Unknown said...

So a pregnant woman is not completely separated from her fetus. The fetus' cells may be found in the woman's body even years later. So the anti abortion argument that a fetus isn't part of the woman's body is unscientific.

CStanley said...

I first learned about the post pregnancy chimerism from Elizabeth Scalia, who hypothesizes that this is the reason for the assumption of the body of the Blessed Mother to heaven (because her body also contained the body of Christ.) I'm not sure I buy this, because we also believe that we all consume the body of Christ in the Eucharist, but it is an interesting theory.

Ann Althouse said...

"Are you trying to build a case for transgenderism?"

It would cut the other way, don't you think?

There are more male-to-female transgenders than female-to-male. A lot more, I think. The male-to-female people never give birth and can never have this phenomenon. Who knows what these cells might do to a person?

Ann Althouse said...

"Why is that disturbing? Maybe that is nature's way of making a woman competent to be the mother of little boys! Maybe that's what is required so she understands why her young boys like loud belching and the "talking armpit"."

I'm disturbed by the fact that anything that happens or is said that I remember is in some way becomes a part of my brain... some cells are transformed somehow and remain changed. I remember seeing a turd left by a human being on a walkway, so that turd is now part of my brain.

It's outrageous the intrusions on the human body that occur.

Ann Althouse said...

"Having a girl child would not add any male DNA to the mother. Only having a male child."

I guess they studied what was easiest to study.

Roughcoat said...

It's outrageous the intrusions on the human body that occur.

Like men with hairy legs and arms -- wearing shorts and sitting next to you on a plane.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Disturbing why, Professor? If it's something that has been true forever, but we're just now getting around to finding out about it, on what basis are you disturbed?

Depending on when in the pregnancy those cells migrate you could maybe make a case for it being disturbing info--since a sizable portion of pregnancies are ended through miscarriage or abortion it might disturb some women to know that they may have cells from an organism that they assumed was long gone (or possibly never even knew existed) in their bodies. If you carried a pregnancy to term, though, and new about the child, what would be disturbing about finding out some cells from the time of that pregnancy still exist in your body?

Somewhat related: NPR had a longish story this morning about the problem of how to test if medications are safe for pregnant women to use (the ethical dilemma of testing, the agonizing choice women & Drs. have to make btw using and being healthy but possibly harming the fetus vs not using and being unhealthy and possibly harming the fetus, etc). I sputtered when the reporter listed the common ethical problems and mentioned, first, "the fetus can't consent to testing." Like...isn't that an argument pro-choice people 100% cannot make? Fetal consent doesn't matter when the issue is abortion (terminating the fetus) so why would it matter when the issue is testing potentially-harmful drugs?

Ron Winkleheimer said...

OK Professor, now you have reminded me of this comic.

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=bloom+county+comic+germs+&view=detailv2&&id=DD06B04BBE6F9B9A38834EDE5195AE734787B107&selectedIndex=28&ccid=LN%2bV%2f3xE&simid=608028496758834848&thid=OIP.M2cdf95ff7c447929acab75fb076770d2o0&ajaxhist=0

Paddy O said...

"So the anti abortion argument that a fetus isn't part of the woman's body is unscientific."

Well, it's not the woman's DNA, so do we have the right to do something with foreign DNA that takes residence?

It's more like a guest that comes to visit and leaves stuff behind. You can presumably throw that stuff away later on if possible, but you can't kill the guest because you'd prefer them not to stay with you for a while.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said...I remember seeing a turd left by a human being on a walkway, so that turd is now part of my brain.

A pedant would argue that the memory is a part of the structure of your brain (through its connections) and not the substance of your brain (the actual cells), and might further mansplain current research on memories (many researchers believe long term memories are in effect created anew each time they're recalled)...but I'm not that pedantic so obviously I won't bring those ideas up.

I do question, though, your assertion that such things are intrusions on "the human body." That sounds suspiciously like the justification some SJWs use to shut down opponents/prevent people or ideas they don't like from having expression--is being exposed to an unpleasant idea or thought an "intrusion" on your body? If so isn't someone who says something you don't like in effect committing assault against you, possibly traumatizing you? That seems antithetical to values and beliefs you've expressed in the past (supporting freedom of speech and open discussion, for instance).

Bluntly: doesn't your characterization of being exposed to unpleasant things as an intrusion on your body put you in the same camp as people who justify curtailing freedom of speech exactly because such freedom harms others by "intruding" on their minds/brains/bodies (in your framing)?

Gahrie said...

They found 63 percent of these women had traces of male DNA from fetal cells in their brains....Wow. That last one is kind of disturbing!

Wait...male and female DNA are different? You mean there are genetic biological differences between the sexes?

I was told that sex is a completely artificial, social construct used to oppress women....I feel so violated.

Paddy O said...

"It's outrageous the intrusions on the human body that occur."

Well, we're made of star material and form out of the bodies of other people, so there's really nothing that's entirely "us." You're leasing your physical material and you're already a vast ecosystem, hosting upwards of 39 trillion bacteria cells, compared with about 30 trillion human cells.

We share oxygen and carbon dioxide with every breath, the different parts of us have been wandering this planet for millennia, in all sorts of different patterns. Add to this the fact that even our memories may not be our own.

We are the embodiment of a wide amalgamation of intrusions.

Celebrate community!

dgstock said...

Believe me, you don't want Hannibal Lecter inside your head

CStanley said...

I am more disturbed by the obsession with bodily autonomy that makes this disturbing to AA.

SukieTawdry said...

Frankly, ladies, I think having a little male DNA in our brains can't hurt.

I sputtered when the reporter listed the common ethical problems and mentioned, first, "the fetus can't consent to testing."

LOLOLOL. That's right up there with the panelists at one of the DNC convention events who expressed concerns about abortion rights for transgendered females. Politically correct pro-choicers say the darndest things.

Wilbur said...

For individuals with bone marrow or blood transplants, I wonder if this could have an impact on DNA identification in a criminal case?

rhhardin said...

Kenneth Burke reads "beauty is truth" as "body is turd."

n.n said...
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n.n said...
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n.n said...

According to their definition, we are all chimeras. Bacteria, alien DNA/RNA, reactive proteins, parasites, ...

This is a reductive argument for the concept of freewill. Unfortunately, science can observe correlations, but not distinguish between cause and effect. We err on the side of individual dignity and intrinsic value, sometimes, selectively.

this happens in almost all pregnant women

The close link between mother and child until severed through birth, natural abortion, or elective abortion.

While we cannot distinguish between source and expression, perhaps Planned Parenthood's Mengele division could supply raw materials harvested from their abortion chambers to study the correlation between intrinsic and extrinsic factors in forming the human consciousness.

Rockport Conservative said...

This can be devastating in bone marrow transplants. One of my in-laws donated to her brother. She was supposedly a perfect match. Her brother developed graft vs host disease which eventually killed him because she had a son and some of his DNA was left in her bone marrow. A very tragic event.

mikee said...

Chimeras are interesting, but I, for one, eagerly look forward to the transhuman individuals created by adding DNA from other animals to human DNA. Turtlemen! Catwomen! Kangaroo soldiers!

Hide the book with a bell, he did!

Roughcoat said...

Are we not men?

rightguy2 said...

I wonder if this persistence of chimeric DNA might occasionally have something to do with tumor formation.

RigelDog said...

I find great wonder in the idea that my cells are in my children's bodies forever, and that I have cells from them in my body forever. This consequence of having carried children within me is mystical; a grace.

cyrus83 said...

Shall we get into the theory of what effect the billions upon billions of bacteria and viruses in the human body might be having? They may not insert themselves into the DNA exactly, but just as many diseases can leave permanent physical effects (polio/smallpox), they can also leave mental ones too (meningitis). It's not pleasant to think that maybe some otherwise unexplained desire is caused by a bacteria picked up when someone sneezed and didn't cover their mouth.

This is all part and parcel of life however. We are all impacted daily not only by the people and ideas we meet, but also by all the living things we encounter, particularly of the microscopic kind. Doesn't that just make you want to hug your neighbor and share in their microbiome?

n.n said...

The fantasy progresses from spontaneous conception to pristine evolution and takes some -- a few million annually -- wicked turns.

Rusty said...

Wow. That last one is kind of disturbing!

Why? It's a fact of life.