Nevada man a ‘chimera’ after bone marrow transplant

blood dna chimera

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

MYSTERY WIRE — Chris Long is a chimera.

The term refers to an organism that has the DNA of two individuals. In Long’s case, a bone marrow transplant produced the condition. All of Long’s blood contains the DNA of the marrow’s donor, a German man.

A study publicized in a New York Times article, “When a DNA test says you’re a younger man, who lives 5,000 miles away,” surprised researchers when the donor’s DNA showed up beyond his bloodstream — in cheek swabs, in lip swabs, and even in his semen.

Long works in information technology for the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office in Reno. His case brings with it a number of interesting questions regarding forensic science and law enforcement:

  • Does an individual with two sets of DNA change the validity of convictions based on DNA evidence?
  • What is the extent of DNA’s “spread” within another individual’s body?
  • When is the “chimera” effect temporary, and when is it permanent?
  • Do bone marrow transplants carry the possibility of passing on someone else’s DNA to offspring?

The last question, regarding offspring, is addressed in a New York Times follow-up, in which readers’ questions are answered.

See also: Known circumstances that have produced human chimeras (Scientific American, 2016)

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest Mysteries Video

The Latest

More The Latest

Latest Mystery Wire News