That’s the impression one gets from a recent article suggesting caution about DNA mapping and “it’s in my genes” in general:
In 2002, a woman named Lydia Fairchild applied for enforcement of child support when she separated from the father of her two children. The state of Washington required genetic testing to confirm his paternity. The tests showed he was indeed the father. But they also showed that Fairchild was not the mother…
Fairchild is known as a chimera. She developed inside her mother alongside a fraternal twin. That twin embryo died in the womb, but not before exchanging cells with Fairchild. Now her body was made up of two populations of cells, each of which multiplied and developed into different tissues. In Fairchild’s case, her blood arose from one population, while her eggs arose from another.
Women can also become chimeras with their own children. During pregnancy, fetuses can shed cells that then circulate throughout a woman’s body. In some cases they linger on after birth. They can then develop into muscle, breast tissue, and even neurons.Carl Zimmer, “Seven Big Misconceptions About Heredity” at Skeptical Inquirer
So we may not even have only one genome. Apart from genome mapping, who would know? It doesn’t seem to affect the sense of singular and unique identity.
Readers, if you went through a Darwinian biology curriculum in school, do you think it would have sounded quite the same way if this kind of thing were generally known?
Follow UD News at Twitter!
See also: So it’s come to this… Turmoil over what genes really do
There’s a gene for that… or is there?