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” ‘ It was really surprising’ Dr. Bernstein  said, ‘Why would a metabolism gene cause cancer?”

“But then again, why was it mutated so often?”

“The gene, isocitrate dehydrogenase, of IDH, had long been considered humdrum, a so-called housekeeping gene that directs cells to make enzyme used in energy production.”

Today the New York Times wrote an article about the discovery of a gene that causes cancer on an accelerated basis when an IDH gene is mutated with methyl tags. The mutation caused a destruction of the walls separating loops of DNA cells, causing the cells to merge. These were found in brain tumors, but they also exist in other cancers such as liver cancers, sarcomas, colon cancers, bladder cancers and leukemia.

What struck me about this is the parochialism of science and the way we think. In my last review of the children’s book “Rebecca, Winter is Here” I discussed that the book teaches children about perception: the concept of a glass being half full or half empty.

We make assumptions instead of challenging everything. It is easier to be passive and accepting. Why is a gene, a humdrum, housekeeping gene? Why not assume every aspect of biology and nature has a purpose(s) and that nothing should be ignored or taken for granted. Some advancements in medicine have resulted from discoveries by “accident”. Were they accidents or the result of our blindness. Our resistance to look and think outside the box.

It may be dark outside on the day of the winter solstice, but in fact Spring is beginning. Teach your children well. Teach your parents well.

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