12/30/19 – Emily Researches

Spacetrawler, audio version For the blind or visually impaired, December 30, 2019.




Awww, Ruddock. ๐Ÿ™‚


  1. Coyoty

    Is the original series set around 2000, or is this one set around 2030, or some other timeframe? Emily said she’s been in space almost 20 years.

    If Chiphu finds a suitable Y chromosome donor, he would essentially become the donor’s son, biologically. Right now, bone marrow transplants have been found to replace some of the recipient’s DNA with the donor’s, making them a chimera. Theoretically, if Chiphu were to get a marrow transplant from a male, eventually he might be able to father a child, though the genetics would be the marrow donor’s. Assuming the medi-bot can provide the ability to produce sperm.

      1. Coyoty

        I just realized that ten years ago is when Nogg told the story, not when the events started, so it could have been a few years before he got around to visiting Zorilla the first time.

    1. Mel_Vixen

      Chinese scientists were able to grow Sperm and Eggcell pecursors from Stemmcells – although thats just in mice.

      Atleast for X-chromsomes in sperm i – from the little i understand- would say you dont need an Y in the donorcell.

      With the tissue of the genitals its easyer. If you clone you need to add testosterone during gestation of the organs, nature does the rest even with an XX pair. It happens already in some XX-male people.

      It might be possible to transplant the testo producing gene onto the x-chromosomes via crispr/cas9 gen-editing and grow an organel (tiny organ like clumps) for implantation. These atm. are researched, among other things, for people that lack certain compounds in theyr bodies.

      Or you could like “print” the tissue outright like in a futuristic 3D printer.
      We already use printed collagen scaffolds that are seeded with stem or the right tissue-cells for heartflaps etc.

      Now another question would be how good earths computers and security are compared to the Aliens cause then you could go and download all the researchdata outright.

      As i see it, Medibots database seems to be based on about a dozen actual Humans, a few million spacetrawler/clamped eebs and devyat. So having the research might be a benefit.

      Given that atleast many bigger mammals seem to be sentient (or is that compounded by the translatorchip?) it might also be prudent to download all the veterinary science too.

      1. Gregg Eshelman

        There’s no such thing as an “XX male”. To have male characteristics there has to be a Y chromosome. Sex chromosome polysomy (more than one of one or both) has varying degrees of effect depending upon how many extras there are, and of which one.

        One of the most common is XXY. It’s theorized that up to 50% of XXY males may not show any signs or symptoms. Obvious physical differences ted to be smaller genitalia, some breast formation, wider than typical pelvis. Extreme expression can include some mental impairment.

        XYY *does not* make a male more aggressive or violent. Nor does it result in “biggus dickus”. Like XXY its likely that a much of the time XYY will go completely unnoticed. In some cases mild mental impairment is evident.

        Having three or four X or Y or XXYY is when things really start going off the rails with obvious abnormalities and mental impairments. I’ve done plenty of searches on this and haven’t found any instance of a live birth with more than four of one or both sex chromosomes.

        Going the other way, monosomy or one chromosome, with the sex chromosomes it’s only possible to have monosomy X. Monosomy Y = nonviable. A functioning X chromosome is critical to life. The Y chromosome could be considered somewhat like a ‘software patch’ that swaps out the bits which code for female with the bits that code for male.

        Monosomy X typically results in little to no breast development, little to no widening of the pelvis, and under developed or nonexistent reproductive organs, including not having a vagina. It may be possible for monosomy X to result in a completely physically normal female.

        The variances in expression of monosomy or polysomy X is most likely due to X suppression or inactivation. What is supposed to happen is very early on in the formation of a female zygote, the X chromosome from either the father or the mother is supposed to be inactivated while the cells work with just one copy.

        But what typically happens is a later suppression, after cells begin to differentiate. Some tissues will be working with Dad’s X while others will be working with Mom’s X. For some females this can be seen in their skin as Blaschko’s lines. A specific wavelength of UV light (I’ve tried to find out which wavelength but no dice so far, articles just mention UV or a certain wevelength without a number) can make them visible if they are there. In some females whose parents have very different skin coloration, these lines can show up as two different colors swirling around – or she may have large areas of different skin tone or color, often with straight borders. Some skin diseases or disorders can follow Blaschko’s lines if the genetics of part of the skin are more resistant or more susceptible.

        Taylor Muhl is very likely a woman with an odd case of X suppression. The full left side of her body from mid chest down has different DNA from the rest of her. That part of her skin is a bit pinker and darker, with a ruler straight demarcation up the middle. She has two blood types and has symptoms of auto-immune disorders due to two separate immune systems not always being in sync. Or it could be that she was going to have a fraternal twin sister but the two zygotes mushed together and merged in such a way that the result was normal shaped, didn’t trigger a spontaneous abortion as many malformed zygotes and fetuses do. However her genetic makeup happened, she is a beautiful chimera.

        Differences in timing of X suppression can result in identical female twins still looking quite different due to which tissues are using which parent’s X DNA. Or it could happen that the zygote splits when it’s only a few cells and one twin fully suppresses Mom’s X while the other suppresses Dad’s X.

        Something I should look into (but don’t really know where to start) is how male twins with identical DNA can have very different looks. I have a pair of twin cousins, each of which is the spitting image of one of their uncles. Their mother had their DNA tested because as they got into their teens they began to look less and less identical. The results came back that their DNA was the same.

        How to tell if a person has a polysomy or monosomy of their chromosomes? It’s called a karyotype. This is a process that was invented quite a while before the nature of the DNA molecule was discovered. It provides a coarse view of any chromosome abnormalities such as having one or more extra, missing, short or other oddities. It’s how the cause of Down Syndrome being Trisomy 21 was discovered, yet still little is known about how the expression of Down Syndrome can be anywhere from practically non-existent to the person being unable to do anything – with the majority having the typical physical characteristics and range of mental impairment.

        If you want to find out if you have any oddities in your chromosomes, look for karyotype service. A Google for that turns up plenty of hits.

        1. Mel_Vixen

          I am XY 46 normal and one of my roomies has klinefelter mosaic (about 20% of her cells are XXY) and selifentified intersex.
          Its kinda required here in germany to test this when you start a transition.

          I may not be a geneticist but as far as sexual differenciation and variation goes i think i got the general gist of it. After all i wanted to know, just for myself, if there is a deeper cause to me being trans and wanted to know more in general.

          Like Tim said: the SRY gene can jump to a X chromosome in some cases. That happens in about 90 % of cases.
          The other 10% cases are down to various variation of Dax1, Sox9. Wnt4 and SF4 might also be involved.

          There are non-genetic factors too that can cause the sexual organs to differentiate differently during pregnancy. To quote wikipedia for XX intersex:

          “This condition used to be called “female pseudohermaphroditism”. Persons with this condition have female internal genitalia and karyotype (XX) and various degree of external genitalia virilization.[174] External genitalia is masculinized congenitally when female fetus is exposed to excess androgenic environment.[168] Hence, the chromosome of the person is of a woman, the ovaries of a woman, but external genitals that appear like a male. The labia fuse, and the clitoris enlarges to appear like a penis. The causes of this can be male hormones taken during pregnancy, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, male-hormone-producing tumors in the mother and aromatase deficiency.[168]”

          Thats why i said clonned “normal” XX-caryotyped tissue in an androgenic environment might be sufficient

          1. Mel_Vixen

            Also i have a friend in medical software development. Mostly hyperspectral photography and maths i unfortunaly dont understand.

            Anyway, the way i learned it that normal females have blashko lines not just skincolor and tone but also with other variations like how much fat the produce, size of pores etc. You can detect those areas and you have to account for stuff like that if you look for the first signs of skincancer.

            The differences in twins might come down to environmental factors, stressors and activation paterns of genes (epigenetics) .

        2. Coyoty

          There is also a village called Salinas in the Dominican Republic where 2% of females turn into males at puberty. They have the Y chromosome, but don’t produce enough dihydro-testosterone in the womb to express as male, so they’re born as apparent females. At puberty, the surge of testosterone makes them physically male.

  2. Julia

    Wow. So much to learn in the comments today! Mine seems trivial in contrast, but I wanted to note that I like Chiphu’s shoeless feet in panel 2. It is a nice touch for character development.

  3. walterw

    i gotta say that i credit john varley with (as a kid reading his dad’s sci fi books) giving me a useful template for thinking about gender identity and sex traits and all that.

    in varley’s universe humans have totally licked biology to the point where being a doctor is like working at a jiffy lube; people can regrow or even add limbs, they can have prehensile tails or hands on the ends of their legs (perfect for zero-G), and more to the point they can grow new cloned bodies of (say) opposite gender and pop their brains into them.

    what does it mean to be “gay” or “straight” or “trans” in a world where you can truly change your body’s gender and it’s not a big deal?

    i think this is gonna be a dicey plotline to explore here in spacetrawler, we’ve got the sci-fi fantasy of true transformation butting up against the modern reality of transitioning as a painful, incomplete struggle

    1. Meran

      I LOVE Varley’s works! Did you happen to see my post on that?

      I miss his (loose) series set in that universe. He’s only been writing about the first forays into space, following that family. (I did get bored with that set/series. I think he’s calling it the Red Thunder? Or maybe Thunder and
      Lightning? I just looked at the latest, and there’s no real designation for it.) I’m hoping he’ll tie that into the other works, finally telling us how the Earth got lost to humankind.

      1. walterw

        no, missed it; pure coincidence i guess ๐Ÿ™‚

        yeah, the last thing of varley’s i read was The Golden Globe, set in the Eight Worlds universe; i keep waiting for him to tie it all up into a complete series and answer all the huge questions but it’s all still left hanging. (although i see a new one called Irontown Blues? i’ll have to check it out.)

        back on topic, Steel Beach had a protagonist who transforms themself from actually male to actually female halfway through the novel and it’s not even a crucial plot point

  4. tlhonmey

    Guess I was wrong. A normal docbot can do it.

    Note that a donor Y chromosome woudn’t be strictly necessary once you got all the physical bits in place and functioning, the resulting male would simply only be capable of fathering daughters without one.

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