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  1. #1
    Senior Member rdf's Avatar
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    We are only 10% Human

    I'm reading this novel, Judas Strain or something like that, I don't have it near me and maybe forgot the title. But it claims that 90% of the cells in the human body aren't human, but harmless or beneficial bacteria, and a few other opportunistic organisms.

    This book has a plot where an old virus is resurrected, a virus that adds two little plasmids to a harmless bacteria cell in humans. It turns the bacteria into a killer.

    Maybe that's how anthrax and the plague and such got started, by viruses doing this to harmless bacteria. Well, in this book, the ancient strain of virus that did that is back, and it's adding the plasmids to all bacteria in humans. The outcome isn't pleasant.

    I never realized I was only 10% Human. Well, except for my Neanderthal years when I was younger. But this book opens a glimpse into how easily it might be for something similar to happen in the real world. I read once a few years ago there are tens of thousands of people with the knowledge to create bugs that can wipe most of us out, many if not most from the former USSR and her Republics. And many were out of work. Spooky stuff.
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  2. #2
    Judas Strain -- Is that constipation by betrayal?


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    Senior Member skippy13's Avatar
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    Sounds interesting. can you please verify the title? I would like to read it.
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    Amy

  4. #4
    Senior Member rdf's Avatar
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    The Judas Strain is the title.
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by rdf
    I'm reading this novel, Judas Strain or something like that, I don't have it near me and maybe forgot the title. But it claims that 90% of the cells in the human body aren't human, but harmless or beneficial bacteria, and a few other opportunistic organisms.

    This book has a plot where an old virus is resurrected, a virus that adds two little plasmids to a harmless bacteria cell in humans. It turns the bacteria into a killer.

    Maybe that's how anthrax and the plague and such got started, by viruses doing this to harmless bacteria. Well, in this book, the ancient strain of virus that did that is back, and it's adding the plasmids to all bacteria in humans. The outcome isn't pleasant.

    I never realized I was only 10% Human. Well, except for my Neanderthal years when I was younger. But this book opens a glimpse into how easily it might be for something similar to happen in the real world. I read once a few years ago there are tens of thousands of people with the knowledge to create bugs that can wipe most of us out, many if not most from the former USSR and her Republics. And many were out of work. Spooky stuff.

    rdf,

    It is an interesting way of looking at the question of how much of us is human. If we say that human genes are only the genes that humans (and no other species) have, the number falls even further, i.e. only 1% of our genome can be said to be truly and solely human.

    But, we can look at it from the other point of view. If a gene was present before humans ever existed, it is definitely non-human. If gene is similar to a gene that existed before humans ever existed and we had modified it just a little bit, how much of that gene should be considered human? We probably don't have any de novo genes that does not exist in any other animal. Almost all the genes that could be considered "human" probably are modified from other genes, found in other animals.

    Therefore, one can probably say with relatively high probability of the truth that we are really remarkably similar to other animals. The concept that we are completely separate and different from animals is out of date. We are not and should not be separated from other animals and species. We are part of a continuum. I realize that this runs counter to some religious dogma but it is closer to the truth.

    Wise.

  6. #6
    Senior Member rdf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wise Young
    rdf,

    It is an interesting way of looking at the question of how much of us is human. If we say that human genes are only the genes that humans (and no other species) have, the number falls even further, i.e. only 1% of our genome can be said to be truly and solely human.

    But, we can look at it from the other point of view. If a gene was present before humans ever existed, it is definitely non-human. If gene is similar to a gene that existed before humans ever existed and we had modified it just a little bit, how much of that gene should be considered human? We probably don't have any de novo genes that does not exist in any other animal. Almost all the genes that could be considered "human" probably are modified from other genes, found in other animals.

    Therefore, one can probably say with relatively high probability of the truth that we are really remarkably similar to other animals. The concept that we are completely separate and different from animals is out of date. We are not and should not be separated from other animals and species. We are part of a continuum. I realize that this runs counter to some religious dogma but it is closer to the truth.

    Wise.
    Interesting Wise, and I agree. To go even further, all organisms and for that matter all matter is really 14 or 15 bllion years old, right? Isn't everything that exists in the Universe composed at the root of hydrogen and helium atoms that were created shortly after the big bang, which wasn't big and didn't bang, there being no air. Then when stars came soon after the heavier elements were fused from the first two, and finally when the stars blew up the heaviest elements came into existence.

    Aren't all species of life on Earth and elsewhere factually children of the Big Bang and subsequent Stars, and billions of years old at the most basic understanding? We are all made from the exact same elements, if atoms truly are the lowest fundamental building block of matter.

    Drink a glass of water, and you're drinking water that is billions of years old, containing atoms that were created when our Universe first came to be. Right?

    ps. the above is what happens when you spend your nights staring up at the sky and listening to music

    Thanks chick for the link. Science rocks.
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  7. #7

    good read

    i have been enjoying James Rollins writing lately. if interested you should start with Map of Bones followed by Black Order then Judas Strain. At the end of each novel he explains the hard science he used in the story. many liberties are taken beyond fact but that helps make for a fun read. books he wrote before these are a little too far fetched for me but fall along the same concept. thanks for bringing up this author.

    darren

  8. #8
    We have 10 times more bacteria cells in or on you than human cells.

    See here for recent NOVA scienceNow on bacteria - click on "Bacteria Talk" for brief audio clips.


    This is a very good NOVA series, you should check out, if you haven't already. I really like this show.

    They usually feature a scientist, and in the last few episodes have profiled women scientists.
    Last edited by chick; 08-12-2008 at 02:18 PM.

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