a consistent theory which would guide the physician how to treat his patient
adequately. Instead, it is confused with a conglomerate
of theories, physical and biological, which may even contradict each
other, and the patient is harmed. Today, Genetics with its unwarranted treatments,
poses the greatest threat to the patient. Particularly dangerous
is Genetics' way of handling complexity. It claims that the gene is an isolated,
fixed and unalterable entity. The only vehicle of heredity. Gene mutation
causes disease which can be treated by gene replacement, modification, or
This naive view ignores the complexity of our organism. Geneticists are well aware that our organism is complex, yet believe that complexity can be simplified with concepts, e.g., genes interact linearly, or, epigenesis is no more than gene interaction The shortcoming of this approach was discussed separately (Beware of the Gene, and Iatrogenic Medicine ). Today this false reasoning obscures the issue of human cloning.
The central fable of genetics : "It's all in your nucleus!"
learned how to separate a nucleus from cytoplasm. He regards the nucleus
as an isolated entity, like a golf ball that can be extracted, manipulated
and transplanted. A tool for replacing deficient nuclei (or genes), even
creating copies of your client. You take an ovum, remove its nucleus
and replace it with that of your client. Implant it into a womb, wait
nine months and voila. . . Society is troubled by human cloning. Amidst
this turmoil hardly anyone notices that it is virtually impossible to
create an exact copy of anybody, neither today nor in the future. The
notion of cloning is based on a genetic fable according to which:
"It's all in your nucleus".
As the story
unfolds, geneticists encounter more and more observations which contradict
their theory. Instead of adjusting it to account for new facts, they
adjust the legend which becomes more and more threatening to the patient.
cracks in the gene dogma
Let's remember that even Nature cannot produce exact clones. Mono-zygotic twins originate in the same nuclei and yet are somewhat different from each other. So where is the catch in human cloning?
that there is only one kind of inheritance, your trait is stored in
the nucleus (genome) which you inherit from your parents. This claim ought
to be revised since some disease traits are stored in cytoplasmic organelles
called mitochondria. Which makes cloners uncomfortable.
They inject your nucleus into a seemingly neutral egg (cytoplasm), and your
clone inherits mitochondria of an unknown lady. This is called cytoplasmic,
or extra-chromosomal inheritance, which is regarded by gyneco-geneticists,
as a marginal issue without serious consequences.
Nevertheless, you ought to worry. Suppose that your life started in the usual way. Your father's sperm enters your mother's ovum (cytoplasm), their nuclei fuse, the egg divides and becomes a zygote. During this brief interval your mother's cytoplasm determines some of your profound characteristics, e.g., your axis of symmetry, and the position of your future head, and tail. Now imagine that these important properties are determined by an accidental female. More, cytoplasm consists of myriad processes which shape your structure, waiting to be discovered.A cloned cat (1)
An adult male cat 'donated' its nucleus to a cat ovum whose nucleus was removed. Zygote was implanted into the uterus of a surrogate mother. "The kitten was vigorous at birth and appears normal." The scientists confirmed genetically that the kitten was a clone of the adult male cat. Despite this seemingly convincing argument they discovered that: "the cloned kitten's color patterning is not exactly the same as that of the nuclear donor" and added casually, "this is because the pattern of pigmentation in multicolored animals is the result of not only of genetic factors but also of developmental factors that are not controlled by genotype"
These "developmental factors that are not controlled by (male) genotype" are supplied by egg cytoplasm, whose contribution to heredity cannot be ignored anymore. This experiment illustrates vividly the shortcoming of the central fable of genetics. Nuclear inheritance is not the entire story. Cloners and Clone Inc, are advised to prepare for litigations by fathers that hate the looks of cytoplasmic inheritance.
might expect that geneticists will pause, think and modify their theory
in order to explain the factors "that are not controlled by genotyp".
Not a chance. They improve their fable and rush to transplant nuclei and
genes to innocent patients. While priests and ethicists discuss the 'sanctity
of life', they pay no attention to patient suffering induced by genetic
These lovely animals provided geneticists with more unpleasant surprises. Equipped with sophisticated tools, molecular biologists rushed to repair genes which cause disease. Since "all is in your genes", let's modify them for your benefit. In order to establish the relationship between gene and disease, molecular biologists studied how 'knocking out' of genes affects animal health. Most knockout embryos died. Many mutant mice failed to show any phenotypic manifestations. Which shows that gene mutation may not be hazardous to your health! In some mice gene deletion was manifested by phenotypic changes, yet when these genes were transferred to other strains, the phenotypic expression disappeared. "Disabling a gene in one mouse strain can be fatal - but in another strain it can produce animals that seem normal."(2)
These are great news for medicine, since these healthy mice with defective genes show that one can maintain a healthy life even with bad genes. Which is the motto of this site. In these fortunate mice, wisdom of the body (WOB), managed to repair the knockout damage. Why not study their secrets for the benefit of patients with so called 'genetic diseases'?
These important discoveries did not convince geneticists to modify their theory? Rather, they uphold their theory with all kinds of explanations, e.g., experiment failed since the mouse mobilized redundant metabolic pathways. The organism compensates the deletion, and 'modifier' genes repair the damage.WOB and colon cancer
Shoici Kado and his colleagues discovered that in their genetically manipulated mice, phenotype becomes apparent only when the mouse is exposed to particular environmental conditions. They made mice lacking tumor suppressor genes p35, and TCR-beta. Mice reared in germ-free conditions remained healthy, while those reared in dirty animal houses got colon cancer (2). Why not apply the same reasoning to humans with colon cancer and search for environmental conditions which enable them to live with cancer in peace?Micro-chimerism (3)
that in the future cytoplasmic inheritance will be eliminated with drugs.
Now imagine a zygote that has been 'rescued' from cytoplasmic inheritance.
It penetrates into the uterine mucosa grows a placenta, and
faces a new 'danger' to the genetic fable. Maternal cells cross the
barrier and colonize the growing embryo. In return, fetal cells
enter into the mother's blood. This two way traffic of cells is called
micro-chimerism. It illustrates yet another form of inheritance. As
embryo grows, mother's WOB supplies it with traits (experience) which
it gathered during her life.
Your identity is neither in your genes, nor in your anti-genes. It is in your WOB . These poor and outdated theories ought to widen their perspective and handle complexity. Until then beware of Academic Medicine! .
A risky and unhealthy in vitro fertilization (artificial insemination).References
1. Shin Taeyoung
et al. A cat cloned by nuclear transplantation. Nature: 415:
2. Pearson Helen. Surviving a knockout blow. Nature 415: 8. 2002.
3. Nelson JL. Microchimerism: incidental byproduct of pregnancy or active participant in human health? Trends Mol Med. 8(3):109-13, 2002