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The Time that held her Still

The Time that held her Still

The musk of rotting walls
laced with web and dust
and ivy's fresh green
wet dark by fog
A blue dress,
the hem a scythe-whisper
across grass and weed.
Alabaster fingers
bruised by brick.
Fear runs, tracking blood
in its wake and wash
of flowers, closed, but
waiting.
Hands, white, gripping stone,
pulling,
wanting.
Sunlight, pulled under the mist water
drowning...
Time
white and bruised as the fingers which
claw the walls, crumbling
slips its hands between her breasts
to hold
her heart still.

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 soul(s) of the Chimera

This is perhaps a bit deep for blog posting, but it has been on my mind since starting the novel Winter's Harvest.

One of the characters is a Chimera, which I'm sure most of you have figured out from the amount of time I've spent researching the subject. The idea of a chimera is that you have two different embryos, and one has been completely absorbed into the other.

Now, if we look at the (very controversial) question of 'when does life start', this condition brings up the interesting point of how many souls does the chimera have?

Let us (for the duration of this blog posting), take the answer to the question of the beginning of life, as the moment of conception.

Since this is the standard answer for most Christian religious groups, it should not be too much of a shock to suggest that the beginning of life would also be the moment the soul is present in the prenatal form/body. Perhaps it is however, I find that many discussions and articles of this nature tend to make unwarrented assumptions as to the state of things. I am making this assumption based on the idea that the breath of God is the beginning of life, and thus assuming the presence of a soul at the moment of life.

In the chimera, the second child is not killed, but absorbed by the primary twin. So, the question I have is the state of the primary and secondary souls.

In a practical area of pondering, let us take a story line that has the primary twin as a Cain, a real bastard, who in 25 short years of life, has racked up enough death sentences to cause a state-wide power shortage if they were all to be executed on his mortal form.

Now, even though it is only up to God, let us also assume that damnation is the course for our primary twin after the death sentence is carried out.

What is the state of our secondary twin?

I would like to think that this secondary twin, if he exists, is understood to be a complete innocent, that although he has been exposed to the world, the world has not been exposed to him. --- but I wonder about this as well. Two souls could also suggest two areas of influence on the actions of the body and the beliefs of the mind.

There are cases where the communication between the right and left hemispheres of the mind have been damaged and/or severed. This severing creates two distinct persona, two minds, inside the same body, with the existence of a primary personality (normally the one that got to keep the speech centers of the brain).

Such a state could also be created by the existence of a binary-soul chimera, and in fact, in chimeras, portions of the brain are from one of the twins, while parts of the brain and even portions from the same areas of the brain, are from the other twin.

Since this is an underlying theme within the plot of Winter's Harvest, I'm having to consider several possible resolutions to this quandary.

Can't find a site to write your Term Paper?

It is very likely that you can't, not after Google was ordered to remove over 500 web sites from their index, because of plagiarism claims, an action based on the DMCA. You can find a copy of the court order on Chilling Effects.

Just about all of the web sites are owned by a small group of individuals, which propagated the same information, using a spamming type of SEO stratagey, so I can't say that I feel sorry for the groups in question. Apparently, a large body of the term papers where written by students, who did not realize that their work was going to be sold on the Internet by these groups.

New Brain, New Day, New You

New cells are born every day in the brain's hippocampus. This is the long term memory area, the hard drive for those of us who think better with metaphors. Neuroscientists at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have discovered that the birth of new cells, which depends on brain activity, also depends on a protein that is involved in changing epigenetic marks in the cell's genetic material.

Epigenetic changes are fairly cool to think about as a Fiction writer, for example;

Epigenetic changes have also been observed to occur in response to environmental exposure—for example, mice given some dietary supplements have epigenetic changes affecting expression of the agouti gene, which affects their fur color, weight, and propensity to develop cancer
The idea of changes in fur color and weight (physical manifestations) because of a epigenetic change, which has been induced by the researcher, and the change being predictable has long reaching possibilities, and certainly helps with the story of Winter's Harvest.

It also appears (without being scientific, but as a fiction writer), these changes in the hippocampus's affect on these epigenetic changes, can be induced by the neuropeptides.

Neuropeptides are small protein-like molecules used by neurons to communicate with each other. They are neuronal signaling molecules, influence the activity of the brain in specific ways and are thus involved in particular brain functions, like analgesia, reward, food intake, learning and memory.

Neuropeptides are expressed and released by neurons, and mediate or modulate neuronal communication by acting on cell surface receptors. The human genome contains about 90 genes that encode precursors of neuropeptides. At present about 100 different peptides are known to be released by different populations of neurons in the mammalian brain. Neurons use many different chemical signals to communicate information, including neurotransmitters, peptides, cannabinoids, and even some gases, like nitric oxide.

Of course, altering the physical description of the human body, for even short amounts of time (or perhaps, especially for short amounts of time), would be in the purely fictional areas of reality.


Rita Rebollo, Beatrice Horard, Benjamin Hubert, Cristina Vieira, Jumping genes and epigenetics: Towards new species, Gene, In Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 25 January 2010, ISSN 0378-1119, DOI: 10.1016/j.gene.2010.01.003.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6T39-4Y7MM1X-1/2/cd3af5316c22e7ec728046a95e5a6ecf)
Abstract:
Transposable elements (TEs) are responsible for rapid genome remodelling by the creation of new regulatory gene networks and chromosome restructuring. TEs are often regulated by the host through epigenetic systems, but environmental changes can lead to physiological and, therefore, epigenetic stress, which disrupt the tight control of TEs. The resulting TE mobilization drives genome restructuring that may sometimes provide the host with an innovative genetic escape route. We suggest that macroevolution and speciation might therefore originate when the host relaxes its epigenetic control of TEs. To understand the impact of TEs and their importance in host genome evolution, it is essential to study TE epigenetic variation in natural populations. We propose to focus on recent data that demonstrate the correlation between changes in the epigenetic control of TEs in species/populations and genome evolution.
Keywords: Transposable elements; Evolution; Rapid speciation; Natural populations; Epigenetic control

Covington III, Herbert E., Vincent Vialou, and Eric J. Nestler. “From synapse to nucleus: Novel targets for treating depression.” Neuropharmacology 58, no. 4-5 (3, 2010): 683-693.


Crews, D. “Epigenetics and its implications for behavioral neuroendocrinology.” Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology 29, no. 3 (6, 2008): 344-357.


Feder, Adriana, Eric J. Nestler, and Dennis S. Charney. “Psychobiology and molecular genetics of resilience.” Nature Reviews Neuroscience 10, no. 6 (6, 2009): 446-457.


McCarthy, M. M., A. P. Auger, T. L. Bale, G. J. De Vries, G. A. Dunn, N. G. Forger, E. K. Murray, B. M. Nugent, J. M. Schwarz, and M. E. Wilson. “The Epigenetics of Sex Differences in the Brain.” Journal of Neuroscience 29, no. 41 (10, 2009): 12815-12823.


Rebollo, Rita, Beatrice Horard, Benjamin Hubert, and Cristiana Vieira. “Jumping genes and epigenetics: Towards new species.” http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6T39-4Y7MM1X-1&_user=10&_coverDate=01%2F25%2F2010&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1218544581&_rerunOrigin=scholar.google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=1b16997d95d731440cf0c3c168003112.


Shepard, Kathryn N., Vasiliki Michopoulos, Donna J. Toufexis, and Mark E. Wilson. “Genetic, epigenetic and environmental impact on sex differences in social behavior.” Physiology & Behavior 97, no. 2 (5, 2009): 157-170.


Thakker-Varia, S., J. J. Krol, J. Nettleton, P. M. Bilimoria, D. A. Bangasser, T. J. Shors, I. B. Black, and J. Alder. “The Neuropeptide VGF Produces Antidepressant-Like Behavioral Effects and Enhances Proliferation in the Hippocampus.” Journal of Neuroscience 27, no. 45 (11, 2007): 12156-12167.



Cloning and the copying of beings..

In most fiction (since that is where human clones exist at present), there is always the assumption that a clone is an exact copy. In fact the angst of the young Picard in the movie Nemisis, is that he is a clone a copy of Captian Picard, and therefore not his own person.

Going through some of the research on DNA, cells, nueropeptides and epigenetics, I have come across several papers in the search listings which suggest quite positivly that there is no such thing as an exact copy of a clone. That in fact, each clone would be a separate person, and that even the DNA markers used for Criminal Fingerprinting would be different enough to tell which clone murdered the original evil genius responsible for their creation.

For me this changes some of the underlying assumptions of what clones would be if they were created, and who they would be as well. Even minor changes to the structure of the brain would alter the chemistry and personality of the brain as a whole, so that the perception of events would be interpreted differently. With these changes in perception, would come changes in personality, and experience, even knowledge.

In a very short time, the physical resemblance of the clones would be enough that they would be only as close as twins, and very possibly not even this close by the time ten to fifteen years had passed.

GTP and ME and Chess

You: Give me an annotation of the following game, noting and highlighting tactics, positioning, shifts in momentum and their causes, as we...