Monday, March 07, 2005


Inheritance pattern of death

While eating my frosted mini wheats this morning, I browsed through a 1982 volume of the JIR and happened upon an amusing article describing a forgotten genetic breakthrough of the 1980s. J. Eastern, C. Drucker, and JE Wolf from the Department of Unclear Medicine and Biosciences (DUMB) at Baylor College of Medicine stumbled upon a classic Mendelian autosomal recessive pattern for the phenotype of death. The researchers admit to no immediate solution in their demonstration of such a genetically-controlled disease, but do offer two practical suggestions:

- screening families and ancestry of a potential spouse for any incidence of death
- ensuring that the spouse has not already expressed the gene

As fitting to the field of genetics, their discovery came about as a cross product of their original goals with which they were occupied at the time, and in a similar fashion to how Mendel is speculated to have conceived his first experiments (out of insufferable boredom). David Goldberg expounds upon the cross-fertilization of innovation in DOI. Although, perhaps the idea of an inheritance pattern of death should have never left the chalkboard!

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