Wednesday, February 21, 2007

BROTHER OF A BIRCH



HAIKU

stuff is all over me
and inside me




Craig Venter and rival scientist Francis Collins of the National Institute of Health jointly made the announcement of the mapping of the human genome in 2000, along with US President Bill Clinton.

Exactly why they wanted to map Clinton is a mystery. Venter began the genome project through Celera Genomics, a private company.

He is now working on exploring the DNA of the air and the sea. That sounds as poetic as writing an Advanced Beginners Dictionary to Breathing, or a street map to irony.

The DNA content of humans has been mapped, as has that of mice. Evidently, they are only about 15% different. By taking samples from every 200 miles or so of the ocean, Venter has discovered that his sea samples are 75% different from each other. In other words, the organisms that are present every 200 miles are 75% different from each other. Entire worlds of undiscovered life, more different than a mouse from a man. And these are just surface samples. Imagine the diversity in the ocean depths.

Now I wish my brother hadn’t pulled that prank when we were kids and replaced 35% of my genetic content with that of a birch. My skin is peeling. I burn well yet rustle as the wind blows. Traditionalists consider me for canoes. I am flexible, silver, hard to fit for shoes.

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