|MadSci Network: Genetics|
Too many movies! I know, I know - the movies, certain episodes of Batman and so on and so on... make it look like all you have to do is take some person DNA, some animal DNA, pop them together in a test tube, shake it up, inject them back into a person. Next thing you know the person is growing a dinosaur tail, or cat whiskers and ears, or a forked lizard tongue. I hate to tell you, but there is nothing you can do with DNA to make you ready to join the X-Men, it just doesn't work that way. Unless DNA is present at the beginning of growing something, it cannot help shape the whole animal (or person). And since you are writing to Mad Sci, that means you are already something of a formed up person. So if we were to combine your DNA with, say, a crocodile's DNA, it would only have a chance of affecting the cells you actually injected the new DNA into - and even then it probably would not work. It is not like adding nuts to cake dough, but rather like trying to change a hose by throwing boards and nails at it. Something might stick, but most of it will just fall to the ground. And DNA is funny stuff, hard to read, and picky about turning on and working. Even if you were able to find the bit of croc DNA that makes a tail, and teeth, you would have to figure out how to make it go. And if you could make it go, how would you make it stop? And you would also have to figure out how to make sure the teeth part only worked in your mouth, and not the tail part. And - ah yes, the REAL BIG PROBLEM, even if you got all these problems sorted out, all your own teeth would have to fall out, and then you would have to WAIT for the new teeth to grow in, and it would take YEARS and YEARS for anything like a tail you would want to grow. So after all that, the short answer is, sure you could combine them - but not much would happen. There are so many problems to solve that haven't even been started on yet. Also, such a huge change, are you sure you would want to live this way for the rest of your life? A tail might be fun for a little while, but would you still want it next summer? I hope this has given you lots to think about. Good Luck, Greta P.S. One important thing for scientists is the ability to communicate well. So next time you ask a question, could you check it carefully before you send it in to make sure it is easy to understand? With this message, it took me a long time to figure out what you were try to say.
Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Genetics.