Story Source: The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth
November 7th, 2013
A. Summary Essay
In the featured article “Novel Genetic Patterns May Make us Rethink Biology and Individuality,” the unknown author offers an explanation of the new discovery that people can have multiple DNA mutations in several parts of their body, while still having their original DNA. This causes several different genotypes in a person’s body. Also, the same genetic mutation that one person can have, can happen to an unrelated person. This indicates a direct contradiction to our current belief that everyone’s DNA is unique to themselves.
Somatic mutations, which are non-inheritable from parents and relatives, can cause diseases such as cancer. The author suggests that if these mutated cells continue to divide, it can result in different DNA sequences in the same body. The article infers that having multiple genotypes is the same as chimerism, except that chimerism is artificially made and having multiple genotypes is naturally occurring.
It was thought that unrelated people do not have the same mutations and that somatic changes were random. However, Professor Scott Williams results indicate a non-random process. Williams and his colleagues looked at two unrelated individuals and after analyzing multiple tissue samples found several identical mutations. This indicates a non-random, very different model, than was previously thought.
B. Relevant Vocabulary
1. Mutations: A mutation is a permanent change in the DNA sequence of a gene.
2. Genotypes: The genotype is the genetic makeup of a cell, an organism, or an individual.
3. Somatic Mutation: Somatic mutation is an alteration in DNA that occurs after…