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Stem Cells Change Man's DNA

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the oh-man-science-is-weird dept.

Biotech 171

An anonymous reader writes "After receiving umbilical cord stem cells to replace bone marrow as treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Greg Graves temporarily had three different sets of DNA. Eventually, one of the two sets of cells transplanted into his bone marrow took root, leaving him different DNA in his blood from the rest of his body: 'If you were to do a DNA test of my blood and one from my skin, they'd be different,' Graves said. 'It's a pretty wild thing.'"

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171 comments

Beginning of the end? (4, Interesting)

h890231398021 (948231) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873675)

Perhaps this is the beginning of the end for the use of DNA as "incontrovertable" evidence in criminal cases?

Re:Beginning of the end? (4, Informative)

debilo (612116) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873785)

Perhaps this is the beginning of the end for the use of DNA as "incontrovertable" evidence in criminal cases?
How so? The original DNA isn't gone or hidden. It still can be retrieved, you just need to take several different samples until you find a match.

Re:Beginning of the end? (1)

sholden (12227) | more than 6 years ago | (#20874005)

Because the fact that blood at a murder scene matches the doner's DNA, doesn't mean the doner was there - the guy who got the stem cells could have been. So it's not "incontrovertable",not that it ever was anyway...

Re:Beginning of the end? (3, Insightful)

debilo (612116) | more than 6 years ago | (#20874141)

Because the fact that blood at a murder scene matches the doner's DNA, doesn't mean the doner was there - the guy who got the stem cells could have been. So it's not "incontrovertable",not that it ever was anyway...
So the case could be narrowed down to, say, a handful of suspects at best? And that's not taking into account the fact that all of them probably will live in different places, thus either increasing or decreasing their level of suspectedness, and all the other circumstances that would require too great a coincidence to be so indistinguishable that the real culprit couldn't be singled out. Given that, I'd say DNA evidence will stay as foolproof as usual for years to come.

Re:Beginning of the end? (5, Insightful)

provigilman (1044114) | more than 6 years ago | (#20874369)

You're assuming that the police are aware of the multiple DNA profiles. At least in the US we have very strict privacy rules governing medical information...we can't just make someone where a bracelet saying "I have two DNA profiles!!!". Since it's in his medical records it's sealed and someone would either have to remember his name from a news story, or he would need to volunteer the info. (And yes, they can subpoena the medical records, but they would have no cause for doing so unless they already knew)

So if their DNA evidence came from skin or hair cells he could happily submit to a blood test to confirm that he's not the killer...all without their knowledge. Or vice-versa...they have blood and he says "Yeah, I'll give you a sample, but I don't like needles. Can we just do a cheek swab?"

Probably what this will lead to, if anything, is duplicate testing and/or testing of the same material as what was found. You find saliva, you test saliva. You find blood, you test blood.

Re:Beginning of the end? (1)

krotkruton (967718) | more than 6 years ago | (#20874813)

And that's not even getting into the idea of people getting stem cells after the crime.

It's the type of thing I think you'd only see in movies, but imagine a hitman with a private doctor who injects stem cells after every hit... of a hitman who does it without the help of a doctor. The guy could leave different DNA at each crime scene with almost no worries of being linked to each murder.

Or what if someone inserted the DNA of another person in an attempt to frame the person? Insert DNA, kill someone, scratch yourself with the dead body's nails: instant frame job.

I didn't read the artical so I don't know how long it took for the person's DNA to change, and the second scenario would require having the to-be-framed individual's stem cells or a some way to synthesize it, but that doesn't mean it won't be possible soon... of course it doesn't mean it will be possible either.

Re:Beginning of the end? (1)

hypnagogue (700024) | more than 6 years ago | (#20874861)

Or what if someone inserted the DNA of another person in an attempt to frame the person? Insert DNA, kill someone, scratch yourself with the dead body's nails: instant frame job.
This is even easier to do without bothering with stem cells.

The flaw in your plan is that you will be a positive match for the DNA at the crime scene. Bad idea. Better to just plant the DNA evidence.

Re:Beginning of the end? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20874923)

That doesn't help the innocent teenager who submits to a DNA test and is now arrested. His umbilical stem cells' DNA is also making blood (now evidence) for the real killer who's middle aged by now.

Re:Beginning of the end? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20874773)

And that's not taking into account the fact that all of them probably will live in different places

Donors are generally within range of the same hospital, so they're not that far apart.

So the case could be narrowed down to, say, a handful of suspects at best?

Or you do what they do now, pick one and claim you have incontrovertible proof that their DNA was found at the scene of the crime. Plenty of cases are shuffled through the system with no motive, no weapon, and barely a "it was dark and he looked black" identification, throw in that "incontrovertible" evidence and a jury's more than happy to convict.

DNA evidence will stay as foolproof as usual

I live in Houston, and I can tell you that the universe has made far greater fools than you can proof against, and many of them work for the HPD. Why, just the other day a DNA retest showed that a guy who has been in prison over a decade was innocent and a repeat-offender rapist was the actual criminal in one rape case. BTW, the innocent person lived blocks from the rapist.

All the evidence I need as a Houstonian is in the story of Josiah Sutton. Two rapists, two sets of DNA, neither set is his, but if the DA's shows no inclination to believe the DNA, why should the rest of us be expected to believe any different?

Re:Beginning of the end? (1)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 6 years ago | (#20874847)

yeah but the practice isn't that widely used yet and there will likely be records of this DNA.

The DNA testing still narrows it down to a very small set of people.

Re:Beginning of the end? (1)

earnest murderer (888716) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873813)

Considering the level of documentation and rarity of bone marrow transplants... I'm not sure it's really the beginning of the end. Maybe the beginning of one more step in a very limited number of cases...

Re:Beginning of the end? (4, Funny)

stonedcat (80201) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873867)

Finally I can murder all those people who made fun of my tinfoil hat!

Re:Beginning of the end? (1)

R00BYtheN00BY (1118945) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873895)

We've been doing bone marrow stem-cell transplants for years on people with hematopoietic neoplasms. In fact, we've been doing solid organ transplants for about 40 years. Of course they will have different DNA! In fact, even a normal person has different sets of DNA right now. This is most evident in germ cells, which undergo meiosis and antibody-producing hematopoietic cells, which change their DNA to be able to make different antibodies to different antigens. So I don't see why this is news.

Re:Beginning of the end? (1)

Javi0084 (926402) | more than 6 years ago | (#20874273)

Don't let this troll fool you, he copied the message from the_humeister (922869) just a few posts below!!

Re:Beginning of the end? (1)

Lurker2288 (995635) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873907)

Unlikely. There's plenty of trace evidence he could leave behind that contains his native DNA--hair, skin cells, saliva, semen, probably. So if he was arrested for a crime, it would be a simple enough matter to test a hair sample, or do a cheek swab, which would yield his native DNA. It might create more grounds for reasonable doubt, because the presence of two different sets of DNA might increase the likelihood of contamination during testing. I think it's a stretch, though.

Re:Beginning of the end? (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 6 years ago | (#20874161)

"There's plenty of trace evidence he could leave behind that contains his native DNA--hair, skin cells, saliva, semen, probably. So if he was arrested for a crime, it would be a simple enough matter to test a hair sample, or do a cheek swab, which would yield his native DNA. It might create more grounds for reasonable doubt, because the presence of two different sets of DNA might increase the likelihood of contamination during testing. I think it's a stretch, though."

I was thinking the other day, that if someone was wanting to plan out and kill and do whatever else to someone, that it would be a smart thing to plan before the heist, to get things out of people's trash...(ugh) used condoms, tissues with whatever bodily fluids...cigarette butts, etc. I'd think the criminal could throw all kinds of mixed DNA samples on the crime scene...

Since DNA is used so much these days...and considered almost 'definitive' the the average layman juror...would this not automatically add in a bit of reasonable doubt?

Was also thinking that it would be a great way to frame someone for a rape/murder....really scary if you think about it.

most criminals are not smart. So we catch them. (1)

CFD339 (795926) | more than 6 years ago | (#20874787)

Unlike T.V., in the real world most violent criminals are not terribly bright and are caught through far more stupid actions than those required on CSI.

If malware writers were really all that good, you'd never know you were infected. Its the same thing.

Re:Beginning of the end? (0, Troll)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873947)

hey, don't be so sad. Bush will have us all implanted with tracking chips before he leaves presidency so they'll be able to say exactly where we are and what we're doing at any given time. No questions about guilt or innocense then lol.

Re:Beginning of the end? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20874105)

hopefully he'll just throw all the faggots into a big oven, like the nazis did to the jews.

Multple names and numbers (1)

Nymz (905908) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873969)

If your file can contain your name, along with all aliases that you used,
and your social security number, along with all the stolen numbers you've used,
then I'm sure they can find room, for a second set of DNA to be tied to you as well.

Crime adapts, science adapts (3, Insightful)

hellfire (86129) | more than 6 years ago | (#20874093)

First of all, a bone marrow transplant is not currently something Joey Pants can do for you in his brooklyn apartment in 30 minutes just to change your DNA. And the cost and time in the procedure is far greater than simply shaving your body hair, washing down throughly to get dead skin off your body, and wearing thick tight clothes to keep you from shedding any DNA.

Second, there are plenty of documented cases of someone being a "Chimera" where they contain two sets of DNA in their body. It's usually when an embryo absorbs a twin in the womb. I don't know if there are any true cases out there in the books where a Chimera was tried for a case, but it's known. Science is well aware that DNA is not 100% foolproof, which is why you have probability matches when testing DNA normally. These will simply be bumps in the road and science will adapt. This is nothing new to DNA research. Most likely forensics labs will begin to require taking multiple samples from multiple areas depending on the DNA evidence found. If you left blood at the scene of the crime, why take DNA from your cheek if there's a chance the criminal is a Chimera or a bone marrow transplantee.

Third, the law will catch up with this. Defense attorneys will use this to create reasonable doubt, and prosecutors will counter to learn about this, while forensics keeps up with the latest scientific trends.

On the other hand, DNA identification methods for businesses will be completely fucked if someone gets a marrow transplant or is a Chimera and doesn't know it.

Re:Crime adapts, science adapts (1)

Stray7Xi (698337) | more than 6 years ago | (#20874303)

Most likely forensics labs will begin to require taking multiple samples from multiple areas depending on the DNA evidence found. If you left blood at the scene of the crime, why take DNA from your cheek if there's a chance the criminal is a Chimera or a bone marrow transplantee.
The problem isn't false negatives for the reason you said. Suppose stem cells are harvested and the same batch is used on a dozen different people. The blood you find at scene doesn't identify a single person. Forensics will label it as a match with 99.99% confidence, however that model is based on conventional ideas of people not sharing the same DNA.

Though the defense should know enough to bring up this in trial since the defendant should know he's had a marrow transplant.

You're missing his point. (3, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 6 years ago | (#20874289)

I think the responses so far are missing the OP's point.

I didn't read his post thinking, "OMG, no more DNA evidence within a few years!" I'm guessing he meant that eventually through the use of various technologies for various reasons, it will be possible for criminals to be genetically altered in such a way that making identifying them using DNA will be difficult. It may be 50 years, 100 years, or 200 years, but as we get better and better at munging up our DNA, it is possible.

Also, that totally neglects that at some point in the future, when the technology behind this kind of stuff becomes pervasive enough, high tech criminals may deliberately have their DNA altered for the specific purpose of thwarting identification.

Re:Beginning of the end? (0)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#20874801)

If he committed and "licked" (beat) a crime, would you say:

HeLicks or

Helix

is his name

That reminds me of someone (4, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873681)

Mary from the trailor park once had 12 different sets of DNA inside her.

The football team won that night, everybody scored.

Re:That reminds me of someone (4, Funny)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873733)

Hmm, Geeks don't play football, so I guess you were spared the STD...

Re:That reminds me of someone (-1, Redundant)

Scaba (183684) | more than 6 years ago | (#20874317)

They don't have sex, either.

Re:That reminds me of someone (0, Offtopic)

Neanderthal Ninny (1153369) | more than 6 years ago | (#20874499)

It doesn't stop you from spanking the monkey yourself.

Re:That reminds me of someone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20874877)

the STD...
ERROR: You're presuming there was only one...in a trailer park.

Re:That reminds me of someone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20874931)

And the Anonymous Coward cammed it! =D

first man-made chimera? (3, Interesting)

pohl (872) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873683)

Does this mean Mr. Graves is the world's first man-made chimera [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:first man-made chimera? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20873757)

If this counts as a chimera, why wouldn't transplant patients count too?

Re:first man-made chimera? (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873871)

No because we've been doing solid organ transplants for about 40 years. And unless your organ donor is your identical twin, you're going to come out of the operation as a chimera.

Re:first man-made chimera? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20873873)

Um, isn't this just what usually happens with successful bone marrow transplants? I think the new feature is the use of stem cells from a baby's umbilical cord blood, rather than stem cells from an adult's blood or bone marrow.

Re:first man-made chimera? (5, Informative)

Ped Xing (28860) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873953)

No he is not, for several reasons.

First, he is not the first to have two sets of DNA due to a bone marrow transplant (although he might be one of the first with 3 sets). Anyone who has had an allogeneic (as opposed to autologous) bone marrow transplant like his has that, as do any other transplant recipients.

In fact, the differences between those DNA is both one of the best things and one of the worst things about alloBMTs to treat blood cancers. The new blood system sets itself up and sees the cancer cells as "foreign" and attacks them, what would be called "rejecting" them in a solid organ transplant. This is called "Graft Versus Leukemic Effect" in leukemia patients, for example. That's the good part. The bad part is that the new blood system looks at the rest of the body and sees it as foreign as well. "All this has to go" is the reaction, also called "Graft Versus Host Effect", or GVHD. That can kill you. Cord blood stem cells make this less likely to happen, because the cord blood cells are not quite sure what the other cells are supposed to look like yet.

The second reason he is not the first man-made chimera is that he is not a chimera. A chimera is when the second set of DNA comes from another species. That has been done before (organ transplants from pigs, for example), but is not the case in this story.

The real story here is that he had a stem cell transplant using cord blood from two different donors.

Re:first man-made Tetragametic Chimera (4, Informative)

Psykechan (255694) | more than 6 years ago | (#20874291)

Yes, he would be a chimera at least for the time being. He has multiple DNA sources in his body and since both types of DNA can be obtained through blood, he could show up as two separate individuals if DNA testing were performed.

The Lydia Fairchild story [go.com] is an interesting read. It's rare but it does happen.

Re:first man-made chimera? (1)

LocalFire (698567) | more than 6 years ago | (#20874089)

This is the first I realized I could get away with something. I am a chimera (my thumbs look different)

Re:first man-made chimera? (1)

oenone.ablaze (1133385) | more than 6 years ago | (#20874815)

Another reason he's not the world's first man-made chimera is because there's already been one, even going by the interspecies definition: the geep [wikipedia.org] .

what about DNA forensics? (1)

big_paul76 (1123489) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873695)

OK, maybe I've been watching too much CSI these days, but I wonder how this would affect DNA forensics? If a blood sample gives DNA that is identical to my brother or uncle or whatever, and my skin gives "my" DNA, how would the courts handle that?

It certainly demonstrates a case where DNA evidence does not, in fact, always point to the perpetrator.

Re:what about DNA forensics? (1, Redundant)

SavedLinuXgeeK (769306) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873763)

There was actually a CSI episode about this. I can't remember the episode, but after a blood transfusion (i think), the man has one set of DNA for his blood, and another for his tissue. This is how we upheld his alibi until a blood DNA test was taken.

Re:what about DNA forensics? (2, Informative)

mendax (114116) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873829)

You haven't been watching enough Law and Order! There was an episode that dealt with something like this. The man had a bone marrow transfusion. The DNA from his blood had one set of DNA and the rest of his body had another. Thus he could rape with impunity.

So much for DNA evidence... (1)

Iphtashu Fitz (263795) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873699)

1. Commit a crime
2. Shoot yourself up with stem cells
3. Don't get thrown in jail because the DNA from the crime scene doesn't match
4. Waitaminute... Profit belongs in step 1 in this case!

Re: So much for DNA evidence... (4, Interesting)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873789)

Like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lydia_Fairchild [wikipedia.org]

Summary: Woman is a Chimera (two sets of DNA), and gets a paternity test, first one fails, second succeds because they take from another part of her body.

Re: So much for DNA evidence... (3, Interesting)

MyrddinBach (1138089) | more than 6 years ago | (#20874241)

Watch the Documentary from Discovery channel titled "I am my own Twin"

This happens naturally in lots of people.

It even touches on the subject of pigmentation - where babies of interracial couples are born with "checkberboard" skin.

Allow me (1)

the dark hero (971268) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873801)

1. Commit Crime

2. Profit!
3. Inject Stem Cells
4. ????
5. Home Free

Re: So much for DNA evidence... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20873859)

Or you could just NOT bleed all over the crime scene...

Re: So much for DNA evidence... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20873861)

Who said crime doesn't PROFIT ?

rebuild (1)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873707)

Now Britain is going to have to rebuild their DNA database.

Cool, but (1)

datadigger (1014733) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873709)

Cool, but (with all due respect) I'm sure this money could be spent better. On malaria prevention for example.

Re:Cool, but (1)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873727)

>>> Cool, but (with all due respect) I'm sure this money could be spent better. On malaria prevention for example

I first read that as "marijuana"

Re:Cool, but (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873771)

I'm sure this money could be spent better. On malaria prevention for example

Well, yeah. Except, what if they guy who's about to invent a viable preventative for malaria has non-Hodgkins lymphoma?

Re:Cool, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20873805)

Yeah, we're certainly such a poor people, that we can only afford to cure one life-threatening illness.

Jackass.

Re:Cool, but (1)

fullmetal55 (698310) | more than 6 years ago | (#20874357)

I dunno, I think trying to find a cure for Non-Hodkins Lymphoma is a very good use of research money. Finding a cure for it could also help advance research in solving other cancers.

Re:Cool, but (1)

burndive (855848) | more than 6 years ago | (#20874887)

I'm getting pretty sick of this particular line of reasoning. By this logic, we ought to spend 100% of our research efforts on the one problem that is arbitrarily decided to be the worst problem for humanity. Never mind how achievable it is: all other causes are a waste of resources.

He's now... (-1, Redundant)

Penguinshit (591885) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873713)

... a chimera. [wikipedia.org]

Hope they tell the donor! (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873721)

The story said that the stem cells were from an anonymous boy's birth. Hope somebody has the foresight to tell him and his parents, otherwise, things could get interesting if his DNA is found somewhere else (like a crime scene)

Let me explain how DNA works, Bob... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20873741)

Bob the Angry Flower: Breakfast Treat [angryflower.com]

My wife watches too many spy moveis... (1)

Starteck81 (917280) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873747)

...because all I can think is how well this would work for spies and other undercover types.

Re:My wife watches too many spy moveis... (1)

User 956 (568564) | more than 6 years ago | (#20874097)

My wife watches too many spy movies because all I can think is how well this would work for spies and other undercover types.

Having a wife with a heavy interest in spy movies must make it really difficult for you to keep a girlfriend.

Re:My wife watches too many spy moveis... (1)

Starteck81 (917280) | more than 6 years ago | (#20874495)

Having a wife with a heavy interest in spy movies must make it really difficult for you to keep a girlfriend.

You have no idea...

This scares the hell out of me. (0)

Kazrath (822492) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873749)

Like the title says. While this is an amazing break-through what will happen if this guy has offspring? Two completely different sets of DNA which will be dominant? Or will this cause some very "odd" cival cases when a two white people have for example a little asian baby?

What other possible side effects could happen?

Not to sound like a bible thumper but should we really be playing god with something we barely understand.

Re:This scares the hell out of me. (2, Informative)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873833)

Nothing would happen to his offspring. It's his bone marrow that has been replaced, not his testes.

Re:This scares the hell out of me. (1)

Ztream (584474) | more than 6 years ago | (#20874751)

That would be something though - a testicle transplant. Anyone care to donate? You've got two!

Re:This scares the hell out of me. (1)

kiddygrinder (605598) | more than 6 years ago | (#20875039)

why, how many do you want?

Re:This scares the hell out of me. (0, Offtopic)

Kazrath (822492) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873841)

I really wish we could edit our own posts :(

Re:This scares the hell out of me. (4, Insightful)

Xonstantine (947614) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873863)

Not to sound like a bible thumper but should we really be playing god with something we barely understand.
Well, since it's pretty clear you don't understand it, it's probably a good idea that you don't go off and play around with it.

In answer to your question "While this is an amazing break-through what will happen if this guy has offspring?", the answer is nothing. At least, nothing different than if he hadn't had stem cells implanted. For there to be any difference, there would've had to have replaced the spermatogonia.

Re:This scares the hell out of me. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20874873)

replaced...spermatogonia

I hear Spermanistan is the new Spermatogonia.

wow...did I just submit that? Thank jebus it was anonymous

Re:This scares the hell out of me. (1)

Kazrath (822492) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873925)

Obviously, Because skin and blood have nothing to do with your testies or your ability to reproduce cells, repair damage, heal.

Re:This scares the hell out of me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20873961)

Not in this sense. The production of gametes is not changed by this procedure. Physical contact with gonads is irrelevant.

Re:This scares the hell out of me. (5, Informative)

GuyverX (162940) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873949)

It's ok. Calm down. Deep breath. This is actually not a terribly uncommon event when bone marrow transplants are used. The news seems to be that instead of transplanted bone marrow, he had stem cells from two different donors infused, and for a while both were found in his blood, but after a period of time only one of the lines seemed to survive. The "news" seems to be that this used stem cells which differentiated into new bone marrow for the patient.

If it had been a "traditional" bone marrow transplant, he would STILL have had a second set of DNA found in his blood. This is becasue for this therapy to work, all of his native bone marrow is destroyed, completely. He will be physically incapable of making his own red, white, and platelet cells. The donor donated marrow is then given to him in the hopes that it will "take root" where his now-ablated marrow once was, and will take that function. It's just like a kidney or heart transplant, just much wetter.

As for offspring due to the implanted cells, not gonna happen. The Gonads are very well protected from things like this, and just like with a transplanted solid organ, this only affects the somatic cells, not the germ cells created in his testes.

So, just remember, think of the bone marrow and blood as another organ, and this is just another organ transplant. His biggest concern would be the effects of his chemo and radiation on his gonads, not the transplanted cells. Make sense?

Re:This scares the hell out of me. (1)

Kazrath (822492) | more than 6 years ago | (#20874433)

Thanks for the explanation... Reading the article made it seem quite a bit scarier.

Re:This scares the hell out of me. (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873995)

While this is an amazing break-through what will happen if this guy has offspring?


Absolutely nothing out of the ordinary. He has different DNA in different cells (and the non-original DNA is in blood cells.)

If he has offspring, each will be produced by exactly one of his cells, which will have one set of (half of) his original DNA.

Re:This scares the hell out of me. (1)

ePhil_One (634771) | more than 6 years ago | (#20874033)

Absolutely nothing out of the ordinary.

So long as there was no Rose [wikipedia.org] DNA in the mix...

Re:This scares the hell out of me. (1)

SilverBlade2k (1005695) | more than 6 years ago | (#20874037)

The guy has a very rare chance of having children. They use some pretty power chemotherapy drugs before the bone marrow transplant, which destroys the cancer, bone marrow, immune system AND..unfortunately, the ability to produce sperm as well. If he were to regain the ability to produce sperm again, it wouldn't be for many many years.

Tax Implications (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20873753)

I think the IRS has ruled this would require filing 3 income tax forms.

chimera (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873775)

doesn't a bone marrow transplant do a similar thing? in that case, your bone marrow has different DNA than the rest of your body, or really any transplant would be considered a man-made chimera...

And this is news because...??? (4, Informative)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873807)

We've been doing bone marrow stem-cell transplants for years on people with hematopoietic neoplasms. In fact, we've been doing solid organ transplants for about 40 years. Of course they will have different DNA! In fact, even a normal person has different sets of DNA right now. This is most evident in germ cells, which undergo meiosis, and antibody-producing hematopoietic cells, which change their DNA to be able to make different antibodies to different antigens. So I don't see why this is news.

Re:And this is news because...??? (1)

TheLostSamurai (1051736) | more than 6 years ago | (#20874185)

Agreed. I had a bone marrow transplant 5 years ago to treat ALL Leukemia. My doctor had told me then that I would have different DNA in my blood than in other cells such as skin and hair. IIRC, he also mentioned this would be short lived, but I can't quite remember why. However, since I didn't have any prior homicidal tendencies, this didn't really affect me much.

Re:And this is news because...??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20874857)

It's news because he got two different sets of cord material. Each with different DNA sets and it worked. All the cells specialized and starting doing what they were suppose to.

Pretty cool considering that normal marrow transplants require careful screening to prevent rejection by the body and even then sometimes the body rejects it anyway. In his case he got two completely different sets and neither was rejected.

This is nothing new. (4, Informative)

wiggles (30088) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873827)

The procedure is called an Allogenic Stem Cell Transplant. The procedure has been in use for well over a decade, and it replaced the old Bone Marrow Transplant techniques that used to be used for conditions such as leukemia, various cancers, lymphoma, and other immune system disorders.

The only thing remarkable about this is the fact that the stem cells the man received were from cord blood instead of adult stem cells from a matched donor.

Wikipedia has an excellent article on the subject: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stem_cell_transplantation [wikipedia.org]
The applicable section to this article reads as such:
"Umbilical cord blood is obtained when a mother donates her infant's umbilical cord and placenta after birth. Cord blood has a higher concentration of HSC (hematopoietic stem cells --ed.) than is normally found in adult blood. However, the small quantity of blood obtained from an umbilical cord (typically about 50 mL) makes it more suitable for transplantation into small children than into adults. Newer techniques using ex-vivo expansion of cord blood units or the use of two cord blood units from different donors are being explored to allow cord blood transplants to be used in adults."

I spent six months in Seattle as a caregiver for a patient undergoing this procedure. The work they do at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center there is second to none.

Sorta like BM transplant (1)

Seakip18 (1106315) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873843)

This is pretty much like a bone marrow transplant. The precursor cells that stay, win pretty much. In this case, your taking those precursor cells

2 sets of DNA? (4, Funny)

JayDot (920899) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873849)

Lawyer: "This is not the DNA you are looking for."

I see what he did there (2, Funny)

Das Modell (969371) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873857)

Stem cells change man's DNA? Someone should ask him if he's recently visited a secret underwater city.

Re:I see what he did there (1)

raygundan (16760) | more than 6 years ago | (#20874473)

I wonder if he's as good as my daddy?

as recalled by the csi tag (4, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873913)

in that episode, there was a man who cleverly attempted to avoid culpability in a murder because his blood was a different genotype than the rest of him, because he was a chimera [wikipedia.org] . the csi team spends much time in vain trying to pin the murder on the murderer's brothers, because genetic tests indicate he is related to the "real" murderer

real but extremely rare, it developmentally consists of nonidentical twins in the womb whose embryos fuse very early on, when that is still possible (when they are only a couple of hundred cells, for example)

then the organism consists of one individual, but one organ system might be a completely different genetic makeup than another organism. so sombody's nervous system could be genetic code A, while his spleen could be genetic code B. chimeras can go through life having no idea what they are, but sometimes, you can see it on their skin (a subtle zebra striping)

Re:as recalled by the csi tag (1)

KidKadaver (1099449) | more than 6 years ago | (#20875019)

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.


Interesting stuff, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lydia_Fairchild [wikipedia.org]

Good News For My (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20873933)


Hague war crimes trial.

I'll just get have stem cells injected and blame the Iraqistan civilian deaths on President-VICE Richard B. Cheney.

Criminally Yours,
President George W. Bush [whitehouse.org]

Change or add? (5, Insightful)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873939)

Seems to me that the stem cells added new DNA material, it didn't mutate his existing DNA material.. so why use the word change?

Sounds like a plot from a bad murder mystery..... (1)

HeavyDevelopment (1117531) | more than 6 years ago | (#20873983)

His blood has a different DNA makeup than other cell in his body--like his skin and hair. Which introduces a whole monkey wrench in indisputable DNA evidence. From the sounds of it a "bad" guy could change his genetic signature with the same sort of procedure. Not unlike that completely asinine movie "Faceoff" (which completely ignored that half of your face is your bone structure), but instead of how you look its how you DNA looks

This also begs the question of constitutes life. Are we just a mass of cells and who we are comes from those cells? If that were true then where does someone with two sets of DNA fit in the equation? Or is our body just a container for a life force that is immutable no matter how many sets of DNA your body has? Additionally, do you think that may Greg Graves' personality may change because of this additional DNA? I mean it's one thing to have someone else's organs in you, and whole other thing that your body starts pumping out new cells with different DNA. This is fantastic moral discussion and wonderful fodder for fiction. I've already developed a couple movie and book plots.

Biometric Identity Theft HURTS!!!! (2, Funny)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 6 years ago | (#20874155)

Yeah someone stole my identity, they jammed a large metal needle in my arm and stole some bone marrow, four months later i see all these charges on my bank statement saying i spend 30,000 QUID on Mars last tuesday... WTF!!!!

Transfusions (1)

volpe (58112) | more than 6 years ago | (#20874179)

'If you were to do a DNA test of my blood and one from my skin, they'd be different

Isn't this true of anyone who's had a transfusion?

Re:Transfusions (1)

UltraOne (79272) | more than 6 years ago | (#20874307)

It is not. Red blood cells in humans don't have nuclei or DNA. The small number of white blood cells (which do have DNA) that are transferred in a transfusion are rapidly recognized as foreign by the recipient's immune system and destroyed. You might be able to pick up a trace amount of the donor's white blood cell DNA if you did the test very soon after the transfusion, but it would be gone within hours.

Holds Envelope To Forehead... (1)

Marko DeBeeste (761376) | more than 6 years ago | (#20874183)

.. and predicts radical law enforcement involvement in organ/tissue transplants, including logging, tracking, etc of donors and recipients. Organ Donor card? That's a sampling. Diagnosed with disease treatable with gene doping? Ditto. And that's just what I come up with in under five minutes. Imagine what a professional fascist could concoct. Cue the anti-tinfoil rants, but if even five percent of this comes about were screwed, screwed, screwed.

What can change the nature of a man? (1)

GrievousMistake (880829) | more than 6 years ago | (#20874217)

Ah, well. I guess now we know.

Genetic chimeras and tranplants (5, Informative)

UltraOne (79272) | more than 6 years ago | (#20874275)

I am a pediatric blood and marrow transplant physician. After every successful bone marrow transplant (BMT), peripheral blood stem cell transplant (PBSCT), or umbilical cord blood transplant (UCBT) in which the donor is not the patient or an identical twin, the recipient becomes genetic chimera. The DNA in cells derived from the bone marrow stem cells is different from the DNA in the rest of the recipient's body.

As others have pointed out, this isn't anything new. Significant clinical use of BMT dates back to the 1970's. PBSCT and UCBT came into widespread use in the late 1980's and early 1990's.

My group performed a BMT on a patient with relapsed leukemia a few years ago. The patient unfortunately suffered liver and kidney damage as a result of the BMT. He had a liver transplanted from one donor and later a kidney from another donor. Fortunately, he recovered and has remained leukemia free. He is essentially back to being a normal kid, although he will need to take immunosuppressive mediations to prevent rejection indefinitely. That patient permanently has DNA from 4 different sources (bone marrow, liver, kidney, and his original genotype in all other parts of his body).

The really amazing thing (2, Interesting)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 6 years ago | (#20874337)

What this shows is that a true Chimera is possible mixing human and foreign DNAs. It's amazing that multiple DNA sequences can be supported by the body. Rejection becomes an issue but I'm curious if the body would be more accepting for foreign tissue if it's producing the tissue. The immune system obviously isn't designed to detect foreign DNA but the tissue the DNA is producing is foreign. I'm just curious how far this process can be taken before rejection becomes an problem?

Re:The really amazing thing (1)

Aberdonian (770033) | more than 6 years ago | (#20874689)

Here's another haematologist answering. I will echo what has been said in a thread above that having two forms of DNA inside you is no big deal now - this is true for almost everyone with a transplant and actually is also true, to a more minor extent, in ex-pregant women who continue to carry trace amounts of foetal cells for the rest of their lives. You are right to say that immune systems don't generally detect foreign DNA - although it is able to detect specific forms of DNA, such as unmethylated CpG motifs that occur in bacteria but not humans or dsRNA that occur in viruses. However, it is set up to detect proteins in the form of peptides 'presented' on the surface of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) proteins, which are what gives us our 'tissue type'. This is why different MHC proteins ie different tissue types provoke such strong immune responses=rejection. Even if the tissue types are shared between donor and recipient, there will be numerous differences between two individuals ( about 0.1% of amino acids). However, most of these differences don't provoke strong reactions. It is now recognised that both self and non-self proteins are recognised. Self proteins provoke active tolerance. Non-self ones don't initially, but will do so if recognised for a sufficient length of time without causing any trouble or 'danger'. Only a small minority of differences cause rejection from the off, but these minor histocompatibility antigens are the cause of many of the rejection episodes. Obviously, the more the differences the higher the likelihood of these differenes occurring. For instance, trans-racial transplants are often disastrous. I think I'll finish there - this is a very complex topic.

3 different strands of DNA? Big whoop! (1, Offtopic)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 6 years ago | (#20874699)

So he has 3 different people's DNA in him, big whoop? I wonder how many people's DNA Anna Nichole Smith had in her at any given time.
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