Chimerism in Humans

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Chimera according to the genome glossary is an organism which possesses cells or tissues with a different genotype. This can be caused due to mutated cells of the host organism or cells from a different organism or species.

According to Greek mythology, the original "Chimera" (pronounced as kih-MEE-ra, and the adjective form "chimerical" pronounced as kih-MER-ih-cal) was a fire-breathing female monster with the head of a lion, the body of a goat and the hindquarters of a dragon. The terrifying Chimera may have merely been a product of a substandard family environment -- her father was the giant Typhon, her mother the half-serpent Echidna. Her siblings were the Cerebrus (the three-headed hound who eventually found work guarding the gates of Hell), Hydra (a nine-headed aquatic monster) and Orthrus (the runt of the litter, a prosaic two-headed dog). As per the mythology, Chimera pounced around making everyone wretched until one day a man named Bellerophon, riding on the winged horse Pegasus slays her. [Author unknown, Chimera, 2004]

Though believed to be a mythological epic, it was found that cases of Chimera were actually prevalent in humans when certain intriguing criminal cases erupted. One such case was when a woman has been raped by a man and the women claimed a particular person to be the culprit. However, the crime justice authorities had found it difficult to convict the suspect. It so happened that the DNA taken from his blood sample did not match the DNA of the suspect. However, extensive investigation and the victim’s statements revealed it to be same person being responsible for the crime. When another series of DNA tests were taken from the suspect, this time from his hair sample it was found that the DNA sample perfectly matched. This revealed a breathtaking phenomenon among human genome which has resulted in various problems in the criminal justice system.

Those people who have two types of DNA in their body are called chimeras after the...
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