The Null Device

The woman with two cell-lines

A mother of three recently found out that she was not the biological parent of her children, all of whom were naturally conceived. As if that wasn't weird enough, it turns out that her DNA isn't her own either. "Jane", 52, is a tetragametic chimera, someone whose body is made up of two genetically different lines of cells. She is one of only 30 such individuals ever discovered. (via Lt. Wilkes)

There are 2 comments on "The woman with two cell-lines":

Posted by: Paulo http:// Mon Nov 17 07:52:11 2003

Two cell lines but one mind, doesn't that pose an identity dilemna ? Is her brain also made of two different DNAs ? Big emergent questions behind that story!

Posted by: acb http://dev.null.org Mon Nov 17 12:26:12 2003

It only poses an identity dilemma if you believe that one's DNA contains one's "soul" or some Aristotelian essence of who one really is. If you assume that one's brain, and hence one's mind, is a complex system formed of numerous interacting parts, then the fact that different parts may have different DNA isn't that big a deal.

Another thing to remember: one's mitochondria have entirely different DNA from one's regular DNA (and that's not to say anything of the numerous digestive bacteria living in symbiosis in one's gut).

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