Showing posts with label Chimera. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chimera. Show all posts

Mom not the mother of the child in her womb - Chimerism

Off the Wikipedia page for Lydia Fairchild

Lydia Fairchild was pregnant with her third child, when she and the father of her children, Jamie Townsend, separated. When Fairchild applied for welfare support in 2002, she was requested to provide DNA evidence that Townsend was the father of her children. While the results showed Townsend was certainly the father of the children, the DNA tests indicated that she was not their mother.

This resulted in Fairchild being taken to court for fraud for claiming benefit for other people's children or taking part in a surrogacy scam. Hospital records of her prior births were disregarded. Prosecutors called for her two children to be taken into care. As time came for her to give birth to her third child, the judge ordered a witness be present at the birth. This witness was to ensure that blood samples were immediately taken from both the child and Fairchild. Two weeks later, DNA tests indicated that she was not the mother of that child either.

A breakthrough came when a lawyer for the prosecution found an article in the New England Journal of Medicine about a similar case that had happened in Boston, and realised that Fairchild's case might also be caused by chimerism. In 1998, 52-year old Boston teacher Karen Keegan was in need of a kidney transplant. When her three adult sons were tested for suitability as donors, it was discovered that two of them did not match her DNA to the extent that her biological children should. Later testing showed that Keegan was a chimera, a combination of two separate sets of cell lines with two separate sets of chromosomes, when a second set of DNA was found in other tissues. This DNA presumably came from a different embryo from the one that gave rise to the rest of her tissues.

Fairchild's prosecutors suggested this possibility to her lawyers, who arranged further testing. As in Keegan's case, DNA samples were taken from members of the extended family. The DNA for Fairchild's children matched that of her mother to the extent expected of a grandmother. They also found that while the DNA in Fairchild's skin and hair did not match her children; the DNA from a cervical smear test was different and did match. Fairchild was carrying two different sets of DNA, the defining characteristic of a chimera.

The Chimera

In Greek mythology, "chimera," derived from the Greek word for "billy goat," referred to a fire-breathing she-demon that was part lion, part goat, and part dragon or snake. Getting rid of this killer was quite an achievement, and Bellerophon was heaped with praise and riches for his courageous and clever dispatch of the beast. The term "chimera" has come down to us through the ages with 3 definitions: the original monster, an impossible and fanciful creation of the imagination (eg, Woody Allen's malefactor with the body of a crab and the head of social worker), and an organism containing tissues from at least 2 genetically distinct parents. It is this last definition that is of compelling medical interest, based largely on the work of Ray Owen.

The Chimera and the Crime

There is a fantastic paper on the subject of the Chimera as directly related to Crime Scene investigation.

CHIMERAS: DOUBLE THE DNA-DOUBLE THE FUN FOR
CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATORS, PROSECUTORS, AND
DEFENSE ATTORNEYS?
(This Link is to a PDF File)

One thing she doesn't address, which does come up in the Winter's Harvest novel, is the idea of triplets or ... more... in the make up of the Chimera.

Despite this, Catherine Arcabascio has written one of the best papers I've read on the subject so far, and just about all of the information presented is current science.

Where the Wild Things Are...

Chess is a Wild game I've only been playing for a short time, but I've gained enough understanding to realize that the angles of ...