Man’s DNA demands he change channels
September 5, 2007
For the first time in history scientists have decoded the complete DNA sequence of a single human being. Researchers from Canada, the United States and Spain have decoded all 46 of the chromosomes belonging to J. Craig Venter, a 60-year-old American biologist with a penchant for dominating the TV channel changer at home. “It’s a genetic quirk in the man’s DNA,” said Lewie Luow, a genetic scientist at Bob’s DNA Lab in Hoboken. “He can’t help himself. Constantly changing channels and refusing to share the remote with others is hard coded into the guy. We’re not sure about the beer and Doritos yet.”
With the boggling array of genetic quirks, burps and hiccups found in the full DNA sequence of one healthy middle-aged man, the human genome has now shrugged off its reputation for being perhaps the world’s most boring and predictable molecule. “There’s some pretty wild shit in there,” said Geneticist Luow, popping an aspirin and chugging a quart of Jack Daniels. “I think I spotted Bin Laden’s hideout.”
The findings, released today in PLoS Biology, a free, online scientific journal, give researchers a trove of new targets when hunting for genetic traits. Scientists believe they are close to isolating genetic reasons for the shoe buying habits of women and the refusal of men to ask for directions. At the same time, the study serves up a sobering dose of reality for genetic medicine.
“Some things are going to be tougher to figure out than we’d hoped,” said Heather Husky, geneticist at the Berkeley School of Dance and Gene Therapy. “Spotting the gene that can cut fat off my hips and transfer it to my chest isn’t going to be as simple as we once thought. And it looks like we’re still a long way from discovering why men will spend hours grilling but won’t change their socks.”
Dr. Steve Scherer, senior scientist at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children has found that people can carry several extra copies of genes, or be missing them completely, and still be healthy. He said that this probably explains Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and Nicole Richie. “If I had to guess at how these women are able to function within society with their lack of common sense, I’d say genetics are holding them together somehow,” said Dr. Scherer. “There’s no fundamental logic that allows them to walk and talk let alone drive a car that I can see.”
In other news, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has turned down an offer to have her DNA sequenced saying that she felt politicians from California needed to remain an enigma.
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