TH: fooling Mother Nature?

On Sat, 1 Mar 1997 16:25:05 -0800,
Tree-House@Majordomo.Flora.Com wrote...
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
re: cloning (~sorry bad spelling)
>There are many concerns about cloning, and likely many benefits. (As
>Richard mentioned, cloning of one sort or another has been going on in
>horticulture for a while).  In horticulture, perhaps as in mammals, 
>taken to extremes can reduce the genetic diversity which lets, for
>instance, a forest of trees survive insects or disease.

One aspect of cloning that is not given much attention is the regression 
over time by the copying process.  If one takes a photo copy of a line 
drawing or a picture and continues to make a copy of a copy of a copy over 
many "generations"  the copy deteriorates.  This same thing happens in 
horticultural crops.  

I am not a geneticist or a pathologist, but my understanding is that near 
original plants are used as much as possible to assure regression is kept 
to a minimum.  However, even then, the mitotic process of growth is copying 
a copy of a copy... and aging of the genetic material and natural 
recombination occurs along the DNA strands.(which can be beneficial in 
sexual propagation)  I think this is part of an upper limitations of 
organisms lives, especially those that depend on cell division for 
survival, ie. warm blooded mammals need to constantly replenish their blood 
and cells, and relatively fast growing plants multiply cells rapidly and in 
large numbers. Slow growing plants on the otherhand, do not need to as 
frequently and massively divide or copy their genes.

>The "sheep cloned!" story concerns me because one of the angles is to
>create sheep which are closer to humans, and can be used to grow organs 
>transplant into humans with fewer side effects. While this obviously 
>tremendous opportunity, it is the "virul ecology" issues which concern me.
>As I understand it, both Syphillus and the related "mad cow disease"
>(Bovine Spongiform Encyphelitus) 'jumped' from sheep to humans. 

Spirochetes are named primarily for their shape. Their mode of movement, a 
function of their shape is a screw like motion; but some "wiggle".  Their 
mode of movement has nothing to do with their effects on organisms.

Spiorochetes are an order of bacteria like organizm (class Schizomycetes) 
which vary in length from .006 milimeters to .05 mm (6 to 500 microns).
Almost all Spirochaetacea are parasitic in warm blooded animals.  

Yes, the organism responsible for syphilis is a Spirochete.  Yes, they do 
screw; no the "screwing into the brain" is not what damages brain cells.

As I understand Mad Cow Disease, the "jump" to which you refer is related 
to the feeding of cows entrails of diseased, slaughtered sheep.  The cows 
themselves became sick from the entrails, were slaughtered and the meat 
processed into food for human consumption.  Proper, thorough cooking of 
this meat will kill the Spirochete and prevent any chance of contracting 
the Spirochete in question from cows.

Let us all please be careful in our dissemination and interpretation of 
information.  Rumor and misinformation leads to hysteria and prejudice.  

Please, don't take this as a flame of any sort.  I just want us all to be 
accurate and concise when possible.

One interesting quote I came across just today is from the Bible.
Isaiah 29 v: 14  
     "Therefore, behold, I will once again deal marvelously with this 
people, wondrously marvelous;
      And the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
      And the discernment of their discerning men shall be concealed."
      (And the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.1 cor:19)

Reminds me of the old Margarine commercial.  "It's not nice to fool Mother 
(FYI these
>two health concerns share "spirochets", things which screw into the brain,
>driving you crazy and leaving your brain looking like a sponge - hence
>"spongiform") Growing organs in sheep will open up humans to all kinds of
>new diseases, viruses and things like BSE (which is actually neither
>bacteria nor virus but a "Prion" - some sort of protein-based thing). Will
>the cure be worse than the disease?
>Goodness how I love ecology!
>Kevin McLaughlin
>".... isn't the first rule of ecology that all things are related?"


J L. Johnson

"Your Future is just your Past waiting to happen."
      "Now Here"  or "No Where"?  Your Choice.

by: J. Cruickshank
    Loveland, Colorado