Chimera

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For example, transplantation of bone marrow often determines the recipient's ensuing blood type. An animal chimera is a single organism that is composed of two or more different populations of genetically distinct cells that originated from different zygotes involved in sexual reproduction. If the different cells have emerged from the same zygote, the organism is called a mosaic.

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Chimeras are formed from at least four parent cells two fertilised eggs or early embryos fused together. Each population of cells keeps its own character and the resulting organism is a mixture of tissues. Cases of human chimerism have been documented. This condition is either inherited or it is acquired through the infusion of allogeneic hematopoietic cells during transplantation or transfusion. In nonidentical twins, chimerism occurs by means of blood-vessel anastomoses. The likelihood of offspring being a chimera is increased if it is created via in vitro fertilisation.

Tetragametic chimerism is a form of congenital chimerism. This condition occurs through the fertilisation of two separate ova by two sperm, followed by aggregation of the two at the blastocyst or zygote stages. This results in the development of an organism with intermingled cell lines. Put another way, the chimera is formed from the merging of two nonidentical twins a similar merging presumably occurs with identical twins, but as their genotypes are not significantly distinct, the resulting individual would not be considered a chimera.

As such, they can be male, female, or have mixed intersex characteristics. As the organism develops, it can come to possess organs that have different sets of chromosomes. For example, the chimera may have a liver composed of cells with one set of chromosomes and have a kidney composed of cells with a second set of chromosomes. This has occurred in humans, and at one time was thought to be extremely rare, though more recent evidence suggests that it is not the case.

A package for secondary analysis of fusion products

This is particularly true for the marmoset. Recent research shows most marmosets are chimeras, sharing DNA with their fraternal twins. Most chimeras will go through life without realizing they are chimeras. The difference in phenotypes may be subtle e. Chimeras may also show, under a certain spectrum of UV light, distinctive marks on the back resembling that of arrow points pointing downwards from the shoulders down to the lower back; this is one expression of pigment unevenness called Blaschko's lines.

Affected persons may be identified by the finding of two populations of red cells or, if the zygotes are of opposite sex, ambiguous genitalia and intersex alone or in combination; such persons sometimes also have patchy skin, hair, or eye pigmentation heterochromia. If the blastocysts are of opposite sex, genitals of both sexes may be formed: either ovary and testis , or combined ovotestes , in one rare form of intersex, a condition previously known as true hermaphroditism.

Note that the frequency of this condition does not indicate the true prevalence of chimerism. Most chimeras composed of both male and female cells probably do not have an intersex condition, as might be expected if the two cell populations were evenly blended throughout the body. Often, most or all of the cells of a single cell type will be composed of a single cell line, i.

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Genitalia produce the hormones responsible for other sex characteristics. The most noticeable are some male tortoiseshell cats and calico cats although most male tortoiseshells have an extra X chromosome responsible for the colouration or animals with ambiguous sex organs. The existence of chimerism is problematic for DNA testing , a fact with implications for family and criminal law. The Lydia Fairchild case, for example, was brought to court after DNA testing apparently showed that her children could not be hers.

Fraud charges were filed against her and her custody of her children was challenged. The charge against her was dismissed when it became clear that Lydia was a chimera, with the matching DNA being found in her cervical tissue. The tetragametic state has important implications for organ or stem cell transplantation. Chimeras typically have immunologic tolerance to both cell lines.

Microchimerism is the presence of a small number of cells that are genetically distinct from those of the host individual. Most people are born with a few cells genetically identical to their mothers' and the proportion of these cells goes down in healthy individuals as they get older. People who retain higher numbers of cells genetically identical to their mother's have been observed to have higher rates of some autoimmune diseases, presumably because the immune system is responsible for destroying these cells and a common immune defect prevents it from doing so and also causes autoimmune problems.

The higher rates of autoimmune diseases due to the presence of maternally-derived cells is why in a study of a year-old man with scleroderma-like disease an autoimmune rheumatic disease , the female cells detected in his blood stream via FISH fluorescence in situ hybridization were thought to be maternally-derived. However, his form of microchimerism was found to be due to a vanished twin, and it is unknown whether microchimerism from a vanished twin might predispose individuals to autoimmune diseases as well. Chimerism occurs naturally in adult Ceratioid anglerfish and is in fact a natural and essential part of their life cycle.

Once the male achieves adulthood, it begins its search for a female. Using strong olfactory or smell receptors, the male searches until it locates a female anglerfish. The male, less than an inch in length, bites into her skin and releases an enzyme that digests the skin of both his mouth and her body, fusing the pair down to the blood-vessel level. While this attachment has become necessary for the male's survival, it will eventually consume him, as both anglerfish fuse into a single hermaphroditic individual. Sometimes in this process more than one male will attach to a single female as a symbiote.

They will all be consumed into the body of the larger female angler. Once fused to a female, the males will reach sexual maturity, developing large testicles as their other organs atrophy. This process allows for sperm to be in constant supply when the female produces an egg, so that the chimeric fish is able to have a greater number of offspring.

Germline chimerism occurs when the germ cells for example, sperm and egg cells of an organism are not genetically identical to its own. It has recently been discovered that marmosets can carry the reproductive cells of their fraternal twin siblings, because of placental fusion during development. Marmosets almost always give birth to fraternal twins.

Chimerism in humans is known to be rare with only 30— cases documented in the world as of today. In biological research, chimeras are artificially produced by selectively transplanting embryonic cells from one organism onto the embryo of another, and allowing the resultant blastocyst to develop. Chimeras are not hybrids , which form from the fusion of gametes from two species that form a single zygote with a combined genetic makeup.

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Nor are they Hybridomas , which, as with hybrids, result from the fusion of two species' cells into a single cell and artificial propagation of this cell in the laboratory. Essentially, in a chimera, each cell is from either of the parent species, whereas in a hybrid and hybridoma, each cell is derived from both parent species. As with cloning, the process of creating and implanting a chimera is imprecise, with the majority of embryos spontaneously terminating. Successes, however, have led to major advancements in the field of embryology, as creating chimeras of one species with different physical traits, such as colour, has allowed researchers to trace the differentiation of embryonic cells through the formation of organ systems in the adult individual.

The first known primate chimeras are the rhesus monkey twins, Roku and Hex, with each having six genomes.


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They were created by mixing cells from totipotent four cell blastocysts; although the cells never fused, they worked together to form organs. It was discovered that one of these primates, Roku, was a sexual chimera; as four percent of Roku's blood cells contained two x chromosomes. A major milestone in chimera experimentation occurred in when a chimeric geep was produced by combining embryos from a goat and a sheep , and survived to adulthood.

In implanting a goat embryo for gestation in a sheep, the sheep's immune system would reject the developing goat embryo, whereas a "geep" embryo sharing markers of immunity with both sheep and goats was able to survive implantation in either of its parent species. To celebrate this vigesimal birthday, we took a stroll through the Word of the Day archives to see what words were featured on notable dates and reflect on some of the memorable moments and trends of the last two decades.

Nearby words chimborazo , chimbote , chime , chime hoop , chime in , chimera , chimere , chimeric , chimerical , chimichanga , chimichurri. John Mackinnon Robertson. Hand and Ring Anna Katharine Green.

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