Wednesday, February 23, 2011

From electricity to DNA modification 21Feb2011

This was Fai's choice for a bedtime story. We never got to finish the book. On the 3rd page, we came to a picture of a foot with lots of circles depicting atoms.
Here's how our conversation went:

Me: Do you know that we are all made up of the same atoms? We are all just carbon, nitrogen hydrogen and oxygen.

Fai looks at me with interest.
Me: And what makes us different is our DNA which carries all the information that makes you, you. You can take your DNA and implant it into another human egg to make another 'Fai" - your clone
Fai: (Rubbing his hands with glee) Really??!!
Me: Well, yes. But it is unethical. And the scientists are not allowed to do so. But they have cloned a sheep.
I went on to explain how DNA is extracted and injected into the animals egg and implanted into the womb. It was 12 midnight. So I just gave a rather scanty overall view of how it was done.
Me: What if we all have clones that we can make use of if we need a heart or a leg or a lung transplant?

JY (who was listening in): Won't the clone be human too? Won't they have feelings? Where are we going to keep them?

Me: I guess that's why cloning of humans is unethical. But it is the norm now to clone plants. Like Kaufu's banana farm is planted with banana clones. Tissue culture they call it.
All the banana plants will be the same height, fruit the same time and ripen at the same time.
Fai was wide-eyed now. And was visibly absorbing all these bits of information.

Me: Scientists have also changed the DNA in plants and created genetically modified plants.
The kids were not interested in GMO food but in GM animals.

Fai(while stomping his feet and rubbing his hands with excitement): So that means I can make a lion with wings!!?

Fai's favourite movie is X-Men and he watches lots of animated X-Men. So mutation is a familiar subject to him.
Me: Yes
JY (out of the blue): What about plastic surgery? How is that done?

Me: Er....that involves a lot of surgery - cutting and prodding and stitching. And injecting botox to reduce wrinkles and have lips like Angelina Jolie( pursing my lips)

JY and Fai (bursting with laughter): Buttocks????
Me: Botox!!!

JY: Hahahha..... Buttocks on the lips.......

This discussion was held at nearly 1am and totally unplanned. My eyes were half-closed, thus, some information might be inaccurate.
From this, I now know where to go; in terms of science education for my kids. Skip everything and go straight into biotechnology. This is going to be exciting.

1 comment:

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