Thursday, December 20, 2012

she blinded me with science!

Hey guys,

So the science topic today is from a CNN article that I saw through a Facebook page. It was a picture of a mouse with the link I attached saying how two female mouse eggs were used to create a female mouse that is healthy and fertile. After being extremely annoyed by the focus on social issues by all the comments attached, I was hoping to be enlightened if I posted the same article here (you should have heard my rant to my mother about how either the science minded are bashing the religious views or vice versa and how depressing it is, etc). I assume anyone who actually reads this blog is an intellectual who can put personal views aside and dive into the science aspects of what is posted on news articles such as these. I was taught in class to never just read and accept but to look into statements made, so I assume my lovely, smart, and open minded/scientific readers will do the same in a polite manner (hint, hint...otherwise I will delete your comment if I see anything that is just bashing one another).

Now granted, I understand the entire article is about social issues, and I'm not saying to not take these things into consideration when we go about our expeditions in science...but unless you watch the video, the article is nothing about the mouse experiment despite the title (really? Got to love media). In fact, the genetic aspects of this video I found lacking ("genetic locks" as she said....stop, rewind, explain please). Basically, and feel free to comment and disagree, I saw this entire thing as a woman who is interpreting someone else's work and blowing out of proportion in her book and then CNN making it even more blown out of proportion. When I first saw this video my questions spread like wildfire as the focus shifted away from what I was looking for: How does this affect the mitochondrial genes, if at all? What are the ramifications for genetic disorders if two eggs are used? What's the success rate with these mice? The list goes on and on. So let's get into the main issues here:

First issue: "...Generate eggs from the body, from the genetic complement of that person..." This was relating using a sperm from one male and using the genetic complement of the other male to make an egg. Gathering what I could from the video without looking more into it, we were told of a successful egg/egg fetus... Based on her assumptions earlier stated, then one sperm that is premature could act as an egg couldn't it? (I'm asking you folks, I am no expert in this area... I work with algae, not humans, so help me out here).Then she jumped to an artificial incubation for this particular example of a fetus (which is not possible yet). I didn't see any scientific evidence behind anything she was saying but more of a sci-fi "wouldn't this be cool" scenario. What do you think?

Second issue: Where is this paper or data or anything relating to what they did?? I love how unless you buy her book and/or search for this paper (whose title or author were never given) you have the potential to be completely misinformed.

I did some digging and found a ton of blogs, news articles, etc... but finally, I found the actual paper:

Birth of Parthenogenetic Mice that can Develop to Adulthood
(Please let me know if you can't open the pdf through this link!)

So what does the actual paper have to say?

Well, I am reading the paper right now, so here's the deal:

I would love feedback first. I plan on posting a later blurb on the paper itself, so if you can, focus on how you would interpret the article/video scientifically without being able to look at the paper. How would the general audience understand the science? Is it fully explained to you or lacking? What questions do you have (this will help me for the next post)? I'm really looking forward to your thoughts and remember, this isn't about the social impacts, this is about how science is being portrayed by the media so try your best to keep to that.

Read, view, and enjoy!



    Supplementary info for the Nature article.

  2. Having not read the paper, it's pretty damn hard to interpret the science behind this stuff because the article and video don't give you much to work with. It seemed like they tried to draw in readers with the mind**** idea of people having kids with themselves and then once they had their attention they switched over to preaching women's rights.