How Much Human DNA Are Scientists Allowed To Mix In With Mouse DNA?
Radiation Level: X Inactivation
Listening To: Gabriel by Joe Goddard Feat. Valentina
I’m working on a sci-fi TV pilot. Though I’ve written several screenplays about science, this is my first foray into science FICTION. I’ve avoided watching sci-fi for the most part (that said, my favorite movie is 2001: A Space Odyssey). I’ve avoided movies about clones and cyborgs because I pretty much know what’s real and what isn’t and I don’t like to be hoodwinked. I can’t even get through an episode of CSI without throwing my iPad at the TV. But now I’ve boldly decided to go where few female screenwriters have gone before. And I’m excited.
Those of you who know me knows FalloutGirl hearts research. And yesterday was no exception. I spent the afternoon speaking with some awesome geneticists at UCLA.
Just being in the lab with exciting. Radioactively speaking.
I learned all sorts of terminology: Parthenogenesis, High throughput sequencing and Zinc Finger Nuclease to name a few. My head is exploding with thoughts of the future. Let me just say, I had no idea all this stuff is being done as I type this. The world in which we grew up will look nothing like the world 50 years from now. Even 25 years from now. There is very little fiction left in science fiction.
How did we get here? Since scientists decoded the human genome, progress in genetics and biology has increased exponentially. And then after discovering human somatic cells can be induced to be pluripotent, we no longer need to use embryonic stems cells. (This makes the Pope very happy)
What does this all mean? That it’s very likely we’ll be able to grow our own organs as we need them. And resequence our DNA to avoid hereditary disease. And “turn on” or “turn off” our own genes as needed. And find new ways to beat cancer, Alzheimer’s and Autism. Whew! Have a vodka or cigarette on me!
The fact that any President or government or religious group ever objected to this research will be compared to the ridiculous stories of electric light being fatally dangerous to humans. Stem cell research is a game changer. A human changer. And ultimately, an Earth changer.
So what does this have to do with my pilot? A lot. Because there are many possibilities and new perspectives that I want to write about. Including a mashup of the known past and new scientific future. Go humans!
Oh, and for those of you paying attention, the answer is up to 35% human DNA can be added to mouse DNA. Fasten your seat belts earthlings!