A Chimera is a creature from Greek mythology – it had the body of a goat, a snake tail, and the head of a lion. Obviously, if they had known about DNA in ancient Greece, they would have had a field day explaining how a creature like that could exist.
Fast forward to today, when we know a whole lot about DNA. While it’s true that there aren’t any lion/goat/snake creatures (that we know about) we know that some pretty funky stuff can happen with DNA.
Chimerism is a condition where a creature possesses two distinct sets of DNA. It mainly happens in animals, but it is possible for humans as well. It is thought that it happens when two people become one person in the womb. What? That’s the simplest way to explain it. Two individuals are in the womb. They fuse and become one person. That person becomes two halves made from two different sources – two different beings altogether.
There are only about 30 cases of this reported, and there are probably plenty more, but not everybody goes in for genetic testing. One notable cases was the case of an unnamed woman who needed a kidney transplant. Her sons all got genetic testing to see if they were a possible donor match. She got quite a surprise when the doctors told her that none of her sons could be hers. Since she distinctly remembered giving birth to them, she went back to the doctors for some answers.
After two years, the doctor in charge discovered this genetic anomaly in Jane. Now researchers are saying that many people might have a bit of chimerism – they might possess traces of DNA from the possible zygotes present in the womb. Something to think about, for sure. Hopefully we’ll all stay healthy in our kidneys, hearts, and lungs and won’t need to find out about our funky DNA.