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No. 67: Jan-Feb 1990

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Dna On Cell Surfaces

DNA attached to a cell's surface? Such a notion was shocking to scientific orthodoxy in the 1970s. At that time, observations of the phenomenon were rejected. Even worse, funding to continue the work was not forthcoming. Happily, other researchers have later stumbled onto cell-surface DNA; and this startling phenomenon has been rescued from conformity's wastebasket.

Now that cell-surface DNA can be talked about, we can wonder aloud where it comes from and what its significance is. First, this out-of-place DNA -- thought to amount to about 1% of a cell's total DNA -- could come from either inside the cell itself or from blood-borne cellular debris. There is considerable argument on this point. Second, this cell-surface DNA does not appear to undergo replication nor does it perform any gentic coding function. Speculation is that it may somehow be involved in the immunological response of the body; for its position on the cell surface is ideal for such a role. Some researchers think that cell-surface DNA may aid in the drug treatment of T-cell lymphoma, a type of cancer. On the other side of the coin, it may mask those molecules on tumor cells that provoke immune responses. Such divergence of opinion indicates how much there is to learn here.

(Wickelgren, Ingrid; "DNA's Extended Domain," Science News, 136:234, 1989.)

Comment. If the cell-surface DNA does not come from within the cell itself, is there a possibility it might be alien DNA that somehow got into the blood stream?

From Science Frontiers #67, JAN-FEB 1990. 1990-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987