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Man’s Semen Contains Only Donor’s DNA After Bone Marrow Transplant

“We were kind of shocked that Chris was no longer present at all.”



DNA Semen
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(TMU) — According to a recent New York Times story, one Nevada man is challenging everything we thought we knew about forensic science.

The man, Chris Long, underwent a bone marrow transplant four years ago during a battle with acute myeloid leukemia. The disease prevented Long’s body from producing blood as it normally would, so he went on to receive a lifesaving bone marrow transplant from a German stranger.

Long, who is an IT worker in the Washoe County Sheriff’s Department in Reno, Nevada, recovered following the procedure that, three months later, replaced his unhealthy cells with the donor’s healthy blood-forming cells. As a result, Long’s blood contains the DNA of his German donor.

But what about the DNA elsewhere in Long’s body? Renee Romero, a colleague of Long who ran the Washoe County Sheriff’s Department forensics lab, was curious and urged her coworker to find out.

“We need to swab the heck out of you before you have this procedure to see how this DNA takes over your body,” Romero told Long.

As a result of Romero’s urging, Long had samples of DNA collected before the transplant. “I didn’t even know if I would live,” he said.

Additional samples from numerous parts of his body were collected afterwards.

In some areas of his body, Long’s DNA as well as the donor’s were both found. Such was the case in swabs from Long’s lips, cheek, and tongue. Samples of his hair showed only Long’s DNA.

What the forensic team didn’t expect to find, however, was that four years after the bone marrow transplant, samples of Long’s semen showed only the German donor’s DNA. “I thought that it was pretty incredible that I can disappear and someone else can appear,” Long told the Times.

“We were kind of shocked that Chris was no longer present at all,” Darby Stienmetz, a criminalist at the Washoe County Sheriff’s Department, said.

But according to the Times:

“Mr. Long had become a chimera, the technical term for the rare person with two sets of DNA. The word takes its name from a fire-breathing creature in Greek mythology composed of lion, goat and serpent parts. Doctors and forensic scientists have long known that certain medical procedures turn people into chimeras, but where exactly a donor’s DNA shows up—beyond blood—has rarely been studied with criminal applications in mind.”

While it has been known that recipients of bone marrow transplants can throw a wrench in typical forensic investigations of crime scenes, the expectation has long been that the donor’s DNA as well as that of the actual person they’re dealing with will both be present. But what Long is experiencing raises entirely new questions of the use of DNA evidence in court cases.

As the Times reports:

“The assumption among criminal investigators as they gather DNA evidence from a crime scene is that each victim and each perpetrator leaves behind a single identifying code—not two, including that of a fellow who is 10 years younger and lives thousands of miles away.”

It may seem unlikely, but it must be considered moving forward that the recipient of a bone marrow transplant, of which there tens of thousands each year, may be able to commit a crime and end up implicating their donor, even if that person lives 5,000 miles away.

And it turns out, this very thing has happened in the past. During a criminal investigation in 2004, officials in Alaska uploaded a DNA profile found in semen to the DNA database. While there was a match, it matched a man who was in prison at the time of the crime. As it turns out, the man had undergone a bone marrow transplant and the man’s brother was eventually convicted.

An employee of the Alaska State Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory in Anchorage familiar with the case, heard of another case involving a bone marrow transplant that caused confusion during the investigation. A sexual assault victim’s description of the attack was met with skepticism by investigators after a DNA analysis revealed there were two attackers, not one as she reported. In this case, the victim was the recipient of a bone marrow transplant and the second DNA profile was that of her donor.

And in 2008, a visiting research scholar at the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification was working on identifying a victim of a traffic accident in South Korea. Blood from the scene indicated that the victim was a female while the body appeared to belong to that of a male. Eventually, the victim’s DNA was confirmed in a kidney while the spleen and lungs both showed male and female DNA. The victim had been the recipient of a bone marrow transplant from his daughter.

Thankfully Long’s colleagues thought to ask the question and search for the answer. If it weren’t for their curiosity, this unusual situation may have gone under the radar for years. But now the case has caught the eye of DNA analysts all over the world, after the unexpected findings were presented an international forensic science conference in September.

But another question remains unanswered. What if Chris Long has a baby? Would he pass the German’s DNA along to his child or his own? In Long’s case we’ll likely never know as he previously underwent a vasectomy. But the question is indeed an important one.

However, according to three bone marrow transplant experts consulted by the Times, it should be impossible for such a procedure to result in the passing along of someone else’s DNA. At least one doctor posits that it might have something to do with Long having previously had a vasectomy. But, they plan to investigate further to find out.

By Emma Fiala | Creative Commons |

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FBI Seizes Capitol Building LEGO Set From Alleged Rioter’s House



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Many of us know, either from our childhood or even our adulthood, that building and collecting LEGO can be a fun hobby that allows us to tap into our creativity in a relaxing, stress-free way.

But what if someone’s LEGO hobby is something much more nefarious – or even seditious in the eyes of the government?

Such may have been the case when special agents with the FBI confiscated a fully completed LEGO set of the U.S. Capitol Building from the home of Robert Morss, 27, whom they allege participated in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, according to court documents published by The Smoking Gun.

The large LEGO set is comprised of 1,032 pieces and was released in 2016 and is no longer available for retail. The agents seized the finished set along with other items matching those they believe Morss had in his possession when he allegedly stormed the building – including a neck gaiter, a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, a military-style satchel, a black tourniquet, and military battle dress uniforms.

The documents also note that he “had three different firearms including a handgun, a shotgun and a rifle” in his possession.

According to LEGO, the United States Capitol Building setfocuses on the structure’s neoclassical style facade, steps and lawns” and is “finished with a decorative ‘US Capitol’ nameplate.” In 2019, the product was “retired” – which has less to do with politics and more to do with the limited availability of the company’s unique product lines.

Morss, who is from Pennsylvania, was arrested last month on a range of federal charges. According to the Department of Justice, his alleged crimesinclude assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers; obstruction of an official proceeding; civil disorder; and robbery of personal property of the United States.”

An FBI investigator’s affidavit notes that Morss joined rioters in direct confrontations with officers guarding the Lower West Terrace doors of the Capital in “an intense and prolonged clash between rioters and law enforcement.”

Law enforcement officers claim that they also found a notebook in Morss car that had instructions on a “Step by Step to Create Hometown Militia” that included a list of names, equipment, and sections on “ambush,” “battle drills,” and “formations.” The notebook also contained notes that said “bring assault rifle,” “4 magazines,” and “bring kit/body armor.”

However, the court documents do not indicate whether the LEGO set was deployed in tactical drills prior to the botched uprising.

The DOJ says that roughly 465 individuals have been arrested on charges related the events of Jan. 6.

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Neptune, the Roman God of Water, ‘Emerges’ From Waves in Photo During UK Storm



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If we were to believe our eyes, it would seem that the ancient Roman god of water himself made an appearance on the shores of New Haven, England, on a day of especially rough surf.

What appears to be the “face” of Neptune was captured on Tuesday when photographer Jeff Overs of the BBC was taking photos of waves crashing over the harbor wall in the port city.

Of course, one is free to believe that the ferocious deity emanated from the depths of the sea to remind us puny humans of his wrath.

But alas, it was likely a simple example of pareidolia – the phenomenon of seeing faces and figures in otherwise random or ambiguous everyday objects.

The photographer snapped the shot amid high tide and winds exceeding 50 miles per hour (80km/h), namely because of the violent nature of the shore.

“It’s become a popular location for photographers because the sea ‘boils’ in high wind against the sea wall,” Overs explained.

“The waves splash into the high wind and when blown back occasionally make patterns that look like ghoulish faces.”

Overs added that one of the small foreground waves even resembles a hand – albeit a pareidolic one.

“It’s a straight shot and I haven’t manipulated the image at all,” he added.

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Lunar New Deal: GOP Lawmaker Suggests Altering Moon & Earth’s Orbit to Stop Climate Change



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Texas Republican Congressman Louise Gohmert raised the eyebrows of his Congressional colleagues on Tuesday after seemingly suggesting that climate change could be combatted by changing the orbit of the moon, or even altering “Earth’s orbit around the sun.”

Gohmert, who has been decried as the “dumbest member of Congress” for his past absurdly anti-scientific comments regarding the ongoing pandemic and a number of other issues, has been a vocal opponent of progressive legislators’ attempts to put a “Green New Deal” on the government’s agenda.

However, his apparent suggestion of a “Lunar New Deal” to mitigate global warming could take the cake as his most hare-brained idea yet.

The comments came during a House Natural Resources Committee hearing on four pending bills while questioning Jennifer Eberlien of the Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, reports NBC.

“I understand, from what’s been testified to the Forest Service and the B.L.M. [Bureau of Land Management], you want very much to work on the issue of climate change,” the Texas congressman began.

“I was informed by the immediate past director of NASA that they’ve found that the moon’s orbit is changing slightly and so is the Earth’s orbit around the sun,” he continued.

“We know there’s been significant solar flare activity,” Gohmert said. “And so, is there anything that the National Forest Service or B.L.M. can do to change the course of the moon’s orbit or the Earth’s orbit around the sun?”

“Obviously that would have profound effects on our climate,” the lawmaker added.

Responding, Eberlein said with a smile: “I would have to follow up with on you on that one, Mr. Gohmert.” 

“If you figure out there’s a way in the forest service you could make that change, I’d like to know,” Gohmert responded, without any trace of irony.

Longtime critics of the conservative legislator were besides themselves with bewilderment and mockery over the out-of-this-world suggestion.

On the opposite side of the aisle California Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu suggested that perhaps Marvel Comics superheroine Captain Marvel was up to the task.

“She can alter planetary orbits with her superpowers. I’m going to work on a bipartisan resolution asking for her help,” Lieu wrote on Twitter.

According to NASA, the Earth’s climate has changed throughout history for various reasons, including small variations in the planet’s orbit.

However, the agency’s website notes that this doesn’t discount the fact that anthropogenic or human-caused activities are the culprit of the current warming.

“The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is extremely likely (greater than 95 percent probability) to be the result of human activity since the mid-20th century and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over millennia,” the site says.

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