Remember what happened to Seth Brundle when his DNA got mixed up with a fly? Geena Davis got a career. We cannot let something so catastrophic happen again. Or worse.
You have all heard of the Human Genome database, right? This is a database that resulted from sampling all of the human DNA. Drug companies and others mine this data to develop new drugs for erectile restless leg dysfunction and such.
Well, as it turns out. Not all the DNA in the human DNA database is human afterall.
Earlier this year, molecular biologists announced that 20 per cent of nonhuman genome databases are contaminated with human DNA, probably from the researchers who sequenced the samples.
Now, the human genome itself has become contaminated. Bill Langdon at University College London and Matthew Arno at Kings College London say they’ve found sequences from mycoplasma bacteria in the human genome database.
This contamination has far reaching consequences. Biotech companies use the human genome database to create DNA chips that measure levels of human gene expression. Langdon and Arno say they’ve found mycoplasma DNA in two commercially available human DNA chips.
Anybody using these chips to measure human gene expression is also unknowingly measuring mycoplasma gene expression too.
So if suddenly you start to feel a little mycoplasmotic (don’t we all sometimes), now you know why.
I would be OK with this if the mycoplasma had some cool abilities that we could inadvertently inherit, like what happens with radioactive spiders. But as far as I know the mycoplasma just kind of sits around and does nothing of consequence and I already do that.