AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Author: alanine1339

Monkey Be, Monkey Do

Are you one of those people who has always wondered about scientist’s progress in creating genetically amalgamated Monkeys? Well, if the answer is yes, then you need wonder no more, because Scientists have recently created their very own combinations of primate genes known as Chimeric Monkeys through the extensive study of stem cells and embryonic tissue.

The term Chimeric Monkey, stemming from the Greek Chimera, essentially describes the scientists efforts of combining various monkey genes in a prospective embryo, and empregnating a mother with said genes to direct what the eventual monkey child will develop into based on its new genes. It should be noted also that experiments with chimeric mice have also been a great asset in this venture, as they have provided certain genes which serve as “knock out” genes for  ones that the scientists wish to delete when creating the new monkey genome.

Shoukhrat Mitalipov of the Oregon National Primate Research Center at Oregon Health & Science University has been one of the primary figures in researching this new breakthrough chimeric studies saying that “The possibilities for science are enormous.” The basic procedure for creating the Chimeric monkeys entails the initial mixing of embryonic cells very early in their development that are classified as totipotent, or still having the capability of creating an entire animal with placenta, and other life sustaining tissues. Mitalipov has stated that “The cells never fuse, but they stay together and work together to form tissues and organs”.

So what do you all think? Is this all really a huge breakthrough in genetic science, or perhaps going a bit too far in what we were meant to manipulate?

Oh, and by the way, Mitalipov emphasized that there is no need or plans for chimeric humans,  just in case you were wondering

There may be a Kraken among us! Jonny Depp beware!

The Kraken, a mythological sea creature resembling a giant squid (only more giant) was thought of as merely a product of sea-farer folklore and fairy tales, surely there couldn’t exist a sea creature as ridiculously gargantuan as those spoken of by swarthy sea dogs and their old wive’s tales, could there? According to Holyoke College paleontologist Mark McMenamin, that may very well be the case.

In a recent Geological Society of America press release, McMenamin tells of his time spent last summer at the Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park in Nevada where he had been studying the remains of nine 45-foot ichthyosaurs One of the first things that McMenamin noted when he got to look at the remains were abnormalities in their arrangement. He specifically says “It became very clear that something very odd was going on there, It was a very odd configuration of bones.” McMenamin had noticed that the bones had seemed to have a consistent pattern of arrangement and he goes on to remark that “Modern Octopus will do this”, the only problem with the theory of an octopus being the inconsistency of size that a modern octopus would create with the specimens being studied. These were the bones of a 45 foot ichthyosaur after all, that had been arranged into “curious linear patterns with almost geometric regularity”, only a creature much greater in size than these already fairly large ichthyosaurs could have pulled off such a feat; namely McMenamin’s newly proposed, highly intelligent invertebrate: the Triassic Kraken.

Further evidencing this mythological creature’s true existence, McMenamin explains that the vertebrae of the bones that had been arranged were done so in a manner that greatly resembled the sucker discs on the tentacle of an octopus or squid (cephalopod). Even more amazing is the simple fact that a squid was even able to kill such a vicious predator as an ichthyosaur, but one need only look to the supposed peaceful modern octopus for examples of how ferocious that cephalopods can really be. The bones showed evidence of a cracked rib or broken neck as the probable cause of death for the ichthyosaurs which would conform perfectly with the preferred killing methods of octopi and the like.

The last thing which characterizes these aquatic deviants as true criminals of the sea is their ability to cover their tracks until this very day. The bodies of the proposed cephalopod would have been made up of soft tissue which would not have fossilized in such a way that we could identify any true remains of the Triassic Kraken, which makes certain scientists in this field somewhat skeptical of this proposal, but McMenamin remains confident in his findings.

I personally find it amazing that such a large creature of mythological proportions could remain completely undetected to scientists until now, but what do you guys think? Is the Kraken real? Or is it anther Myth? A certain Captain Sparrow of the Carribean had informed me that he really hopes for the latter.

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