Chimeric cells and the moratorium on its research. #researchsaves #chimera #organtransplant #NIH #fountainofyouth

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has issued a moratorium on any and all research dealing with chimeric stem cells.

The Greek mythological creature Chimera.
The Greek mythological creature Chimera.

Yes, I wrote the word ‘Chimera’, the same word used in the movie Mission Impossible II. In the movie, ‘Chimera’ is a bioterrorism agent that becomes active when two viral agents come together.

By definition, the word Chimera refers to a Greek mythological animal composed of parts from different animals.

Chimera research on a genetic level that has been closely scrutinized by the NIH and with good reason. Any research involving the use of human stem cells has to be regulated strictly for scientific and ethical reasons.

While ethics may be seen as a hinderance by some towards scientific advancement, it is important to have it nonetheless. Remember the South Korean scientist who claimed he had clones humans  couple of years ago and it was found out later that he had falsified his data along with erroneous practices in data collection, well, now he is cloning dogs for $100,000 at his institute.

The NIH is worried about what could happen on an ethical level if two rats or mice carrying a human embryo and sperm cells in a laboratory mate by mistake resulting in a human embryo being formed inside of a female rat.

Wait, what? Yes, scientists in an effort to get other species to grow human organs for transplant patients have been experimenting genetically to get human stem cells to grow inside a rat. Imagine, if you had an unlimited source of human stem cells that do not need to be harvested from humans which circumvents every legal loophole, but allows for millions of humans to fix and cure diseases or have organs at your disposal for transplants.

Yes, absolutely the intentions are great, but what will happen if one mistake is made and a human embryo grows by mistake inside a rat. This is a possibility that the NIH wants to absolutely avoid.

Let me give you an example of the possible benefits. Human stem cells can grow into any human cell given the right genetic signals.

Possible human stem cell applications
Possible human stem cell applications

This in essence, if you can afford it, is the eternal fountain of youth. Your own stem cells being grown for you in another animal, ready to be used when you need to harvest them for an extra liver or kidney or heart. No immune reactions leading to organ rejection from your body because the genetic code is the same.

For me, I would want my own human stem cells to be turned into young neurons which have a higher degree of plasticity granting me the intelligence from 20 years ago.

Then my goal achieving fluency in 9 languages using Rosetta stone will take much lesser time.

Imagine!!!!! But, one must remember that with every great idea, there are possibly a lot of pitfalls which calls for ethicists and scientists along with law makers to get together and regulate.

Lest, we decide to play Icarus and race towards the sun and then fall down,

Lest, an accident happens and that Greek mythological creature becomes a reality.

Chimera, no chimera, there is always a monster lurking in us that begs to come out in a reality where there are no rules and that is a world that can become real if agencies like the NIH did not regulate.

From the scientific viewpoint, there are so many strategies in place to prevent mistakes and they too should be given a voice.

Good evening.

Oct 21st 2030. Alien superstructure and back to the future. #deathstar #starwars #alien #backtothefuture #science

The DeLorean rushed through time and Marty McFly arrived in the future on Oct 21st 2015, thirty years from 1985.

Delorean Time Machine

The world he saw was vastly different from the one he was used to. The movie made predictions in 1985 about what 2015 would look like and it is interesting to point out that even for us today on Oct 21st 2015, we would look to the future 30 years from now and wonder how much our lives would have changed. What that really means, for a lot of people is how much our lives would change with innovation in technology.

So as a first, I am asking readers to post comments as to what they think the future will look like, what changes do you expect science and the society it serves to make?

Maybe, it will have a lot to do with this piece of news creating a lot of buzz in the astronomy world recently. Perhaps the greatest thing we can all look forward to is the participation of all ‘citizens’ in scientific endeavors. Scientific American in their article aptly points out how this superstructure would not have been found by computer algorithms but by citizen scientists working together peering over thousands of images from the Kepler telescope.

Science and technology will be changing our lives even as I write this post, what will it be like on Oct 21st 2030? I will be exactly 65 years old and a day but other than that, it is all up to our imagination and scientific innovation 🙂


Blood Moon and Quantico #bloodmoon #quantico #priyankachopra

Priyanka Chopra. Click on picture for article
Priyanka Chopra. Click on picture for article

The next super moon eclipse will not be till 2033. People who were not out in a dark field like I was with a telescope and Nikki my Nikon D-80, along with a bunch of friends who found a way to throw a frisbee despite the pitch darkness on a slightly cloudy late September evening were probably watching the premiere of Quantico on ABC.

Photo Credit: Varun Kumar
Photo Credit: Varun Kumar

I watched the premiere of Quantico the next day and I could not help but wonder, what will our world be like in 2033. The show is the most popular mainstream show showcasing a talented beautiful actress from a different country to date. Homeland with Nazanin Boniadi was another, but only available to Showtime subscribers.While Americans have been exposed to characters such as Appu from the Simpsons and Kumar from Harold and Kumar along with other stereotypical panderings, this is the first time, I feel that a character is being showcased as a true American-Indian, no, not native American, but a diaspora of people whose heritage is from the Indian sub-continent but grew up in the United States creating a distinct cultural identity which deserves a look free of stereotypes.

Photo Credit: Jacob
Photo Credit: Jacob

Yes, twitter was filled with comments both positive and negative, which comes as no surprise that the positive comments focused on her drop dead gorgeous looks while the more negative ones pointed out that she had an “accent”. Following the GOP candidates and debates, and the liberal use of the term ” American”, to stand for a paradigm that Ben Carson and Donald Trump seem to ascribe to, one must ask, what will that term “American” mean in 2033 when the next blood moon appears.

Will a TV show featuring a beautiful woman from a different country playing an American character be scrutinized for comparisons to other roles from the same ethnicity or will an actress or character’s ethnicity even matter?

Good question, a very good question.

On a lighter note, kudos to ABC for starting the journey to showcasing the distinct Indo-American demographic on TV.