More On The Virgin Birth

Remember this post from a few months back? Well, turns out it may have happened more often than science cares to admit.

Money quote:

"...in 1984, geneticists finally discovered a mechanism wrapped around our DNA that made natural virgin birth in humans – and all mammals – an absolute impossibility.  Some of the genes that we inherit from our mother are locked so as to be unreadable, and these restrictions mean no female mammal could simply pass on all of her genes to create a child that was 100 per cent her own.

"But it is also intriguing to consider that the scientists had still discovered something extremely rare – something that would not be recorded again until 40 years later, when, in similar circumstances, a boy was identified who had his mother’s blood, but not her skin.

"The child, known in his medical records only as FD, had been taken for a blood test by his parents, to investigate a facial abnormality he’d developed.  When samples of his blood and skin were analysed, what DNA they contained intimated that a fascinating and highly improbable sequence of events had taken place around the time of his conception.  FD had originated from an egg that had broken the laws of nature.  Activated by some hormonal trigger, as Helen Spurway had speculated 40 years earlier, the egg had become an embryo without waiting to be fertilised.  Next, miraculously, along came a sperm from his father. It should have arrived too late to have any effect, since normally, after an egg is activated, a cascade of chemical signals tell the egg’s outer layer to harden.  But it found a way through.

"The unfeasibly rare process is known as 'partial parthenogenesis'.  As a result, there were parts of FD that contained only his mother’s genes – when his blood was tested it contained only XX (female) chromosomes, whereas his skin had both X and Y chromosomes.  Were the intense similarities between Monica and her mother also the result of this process?  Although we shall never know definitively without DNA samples, it’s clearly a possibility."

I Luvz Me Some Yves Tanguy

Memo To Pat Robertson