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Allison Huffman Bio 101

Human Chimerism The term chimera originates back to Greek mythology. The chimera most recognized had the head of a lion, the body of a goat, and the tail of a snake. Another recognized version of a chimera is the sphinx, a creature with the body of a lion and the face of a woman. Chimeras have been told about for thousands of years from the cultures of Greek, Egyptian, Chinese, Japanese, and others. All of these creatures contained the body parts of two or more creatures. Many people are astonished to hear that there is such a condition as human chimerism. The term human chimerism is becoming more and more prominent as research grows. Researchers have discovered exactly what human chimerism is, the different types, what causes it, what problems it can cause, and the possible help it can have in medical research (CHIMERA : Three-bodied Monster, Labor Bellerophon). The term chimerism is now applied to humans as well. Chimerism in humans has become recognized relatively recently because of medical advances with research in DNA. Spontaneous human chimerism used to be considered very rare, and few knew of it. As knowledge and technology has grown scientists believe it is more prevalent in our society than once thought. Chimerism is basically when one organism is made-up of two or more populations of cells that are genetically different. In shorter terms, it means that someone has two sets of DNA inside of them. In humans this happens when two different zygotes bond during sexual reproduction. An organism that is formed by different cells from the same exactly zygote are known as mosaic. Actual chimeras are formed when four parent cells, two fertilized eggs or embryos, bond and fuse together into one embryo. Thus the embryo is composed of two sets of cells with distinctly different DNA. The embryo grows with a mixture of tissues. This is known to happen when a set

People with this condition can have two different colored eyes. This occurs through blood vessel anastommoses. human chimeras do have a visible difference in phenotype. In this form only a very little portion of the body has a distinctly different DNA than the rest. The opportunity of a chimera to be formed spontaneously is increased if in-vitro fertilization is preformed. but not the other. and organs made up of different DNA. by transfusion or transplantation. In human chimeras the condition can be unrecognized.2 Allison Huffman Bio 101 of fraternal twins absorb into each other during the early stages of development. The phenotypic differences in offspring are much easier to see in animals (Human reproduction). These fetal stem cells can become . This condition usually only presents itself through genotypes. Some scientists have been able to do this by implanting DNA into an egg (Chimera). Human chimeras can have body parts. so it is really difficult to tell if someone has this condition. The first is microchimerism. The phenotypic difference can even be seen through the offspring. The offspring can take on characteristics of one set of DNA. tissues. chimerism can be artificially created by fusing hematopoietic cells. These foreign cells can come about when fetal stem cells stay inside the body of a mother. There are two different types of chimerism in humans. and even hemaphrodism. Although. or if some other medical problem arises. different amounts of hair growth on each side of the body. An example would be a woman with one blue eye and one brown. Thus this condition can be inherited. Generally human chimeras are not different looking than normal people. In some cases. People only find out that they are chimeric if they have multiple DNA tests done. This also affects scientific research regarding the frequency of this condition. having a child with two blue eyes. This generally happens when the foreign DNA settles inside a host cell. two obviously different skin tones.

This can also create a problem with gender and sexual organs. Thus it seems like two people in one body. Along with this the person will have to have one removed to be . As they develop they can have organs with different sets of chromosomes. In tetragametic chimerism the organism has two intermingled cell lines. Another way this can happen is if twins transfer cells in the same way during pregnancy (i09.com). The fetus’s stem cells can act as a repairing mechanism on the mother’s tissues and they can become ingrained. This type of chimerism can make a much larger difference in the resulting organism.3 Allison Huffman Bio 101 part of the mother. This makes the resulting human hermaphroditic (The Truth About Chimeras). This occurs when two separate fertilized eggs fuse together. Microchimerism can also happen if a mother’s stem cells cross the placenta into the child. which makes her a human chimera. so that the organism has two complete sets of DNA. It is easier to see by physical appearance usually. Some researchers still believe that the invading cells have no affect on the mother’s cells at all. thus making her have two sets of DNA inside of her body. One problem as mentioned before is that a chimeric human can be born with two different sex organs. This can become a problem because they can have fertility issues in the future. the result could be that the chimera would have parts of both sexual organs. Problems can arise with having the human chimerism conditions. Tetragametic chimerism affects a larger amount of the body and is easier to detect because of it. Some researchers also believe that this can cause an autoimmune disease in the mother when the baby’s cells invade the mother’s. If the fraternal twins that merged were of different genders. Another type of human chimerism is tetragametic chimerism. An example of this would be a human with a heart made up of one set of chromosomes and a liver with another set. The primary sex organ may not even work correctly. Cells from prior pregnancies can be found inside the mother for years afterwards.

and other procedures that require a parent and child. Their odd appearance could also have a huge impact on the individual (Chimera). transplants. the mother will not be proved as the mother. skin tone. muscular structure. Many cases like these have surfaced in recent times because of the advances in DNA testing. During this process they told the woman that there was no way she could be their mother. A criminal or victim could be a chimeric individual. the bone structure. and hair growth. The woman’s two children were tested to see which would be a better match for a kidney transplant. which would complicate evidence. . The biggest problem with human chimerism is that the two sets of DNA can cause issues when an offspring is born. A human chimera could have differences in hair growth. The person may be alienated by others because of their condition and appearance. This can be such a big problem today because of custody of children. but her blood had a completely different set of chromosomes.4 Allison Huffman Bio 101 somewhat normal. If the chimeric parent’s sexual organs have a different set of DNA than the blood. Not to mention that hemphrodism can cause social problems. This can also affect the hormones in the person. This is very important because chimerism has become more known that it ever was before. Even when a chimera is indeed only one gender. The DNA they collect as evidence would have to be reevaluated and the person would have to have DNA taken from several parts of the body (The Truth About Chimeras). etc. This can take a big toll on the emotional and physical state. After further testing it was found that the DNA of her ovaries matched that of her children. This also presents problems with relying too much on DNA testing. especially with crime. The hormones can cause the body to develop oddly. the appearance can be different and cause problems. There was actually a recent case of a mother who needed a kidney transplant and she found out she was a chimera in the process.

Chimerism in humans has caused many problems for the people with this condition. creating an animal-human zygote (a chimera). They have been successful in mixing animal eggs and human cells. This process is very beneficial because it is cheap and it reduces the use of actual human embryos for stem cell research. DNA testing is going to have to grow to accommodate this condition. Many cases of chimerism in humans are completely unknown until a problem arises.5 Allison Huffman Bio 101 Now that chimerism is more known about and has been studied further. The use of chimerism for this kind of technology is still very controversial. and not even know. Scientists have used this technology to create stem cells. Anyone could be a human chimera. Researchers are also using this chimera research to create animals with human-like organs. Chimerism in humans is becoming more prevalent in our society as knowledge of DNA grows. and it could become a large part of . having two completely different sets of DNA. but have produced many animal chimeras. We could use animals to grow extra organs that were humanlike to save hundreds of lives. The resulting embryos were destroyed to harvest the live stem cells. If this progresses. scientists are trying to recreate it for the good of the medical world. one day it might be possible to use artificial chimeras for organ transplants. They have yet to actually recreate human chimeras. Researchers have discovered a way to create chimeras artificially by either fusing two different zygotes or implanting DNA inside of a zygote. and it also has affected DNA testing. Genetic engineering is already growing regarding chimerism. Scientists are trying to recreate human chimerism artificially for the good of the medical world. but one day this could be an everyday occurrence (The Truth About Chimeras). Basically human DNA is inserted into an animal egg. Scientists are using technology and the knowledge gained through chimerism for genetic engineering of cells.

. In any case. chimerism is very interesting and hopefully research continues to grow with time.6 Allison Huffman Bio 101 our medical world soon.

<http://en.scq.full>. N.org/wiki/Chimera_(genetics)>. n. "Theres a Good Chance Youre a Human Chimera." Wikipedia.oxfordjournals.. Web.com/5911357/theres-a-good-chance-youre-a-human-chimera>. 2012." The Science Creative Quarterly » THE TRUTH ABOUT CHIMERAS.. Greek Mythology .d. Labor Bellerophon ." Io9. "Human Reproduction.wikipedia. Labor Bellerophon . <http://humrep.. Greek Mythology . Pictures : KHIMAIRA.p. Web. "Chimera (genetics). N. 29 Nov. Web. <http://www. 2012.. 29 Nov. n.com/Ther/Khimaira." CHIMERA : Threebodied Monster. N. 23 Nov.ca/the-truth-about-chimeras/>.7 Allison Huffman Bio 101 Works Cited "CHIMERA : Three-bodied Monster. " The Truth About Chimeras. 2012. Wikimedia Foundation.d.theoi.org/content/21/3/579.d. .ubc.d.html>." Embryogenesis of Chimeras. 29 Nov. N. <http://www. Twins and Anterior Midline Asymmetries.p. 2012. n. CHIMAERA. 29 Nov. 29 Nov. 2012. 2012.p. Web. Web. n. <http://io9.p.