Secret of Life

Conversation between Nina Sobell and Naoko Tanese

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I've watched you.
I watch you. I see your face. I draw your face. You are Professor Naoko Tenese, microbiologist,, scientist, forming thoughts under the microscope. A microscope that mirrors her mind of DNA, of possible links, of microcosms, of organisms that we reflect. That are reflected in dishes and tubes and experiments. organisms that you study in your laboratory. No one believes that you are a professor of Microbiology. A professor who studies cells. Were you working in your lab today? What did you do? Is it too hard to describe? Is it secret?
Well, grow some bacterial cultures, prepare DNA, digest DNA with enzymes, run a gel, and analyze it. Sometimes we sequence the DNA.
What do you mean by sequence? Sequence in time, or sequence in events under the microscope?
A little different. Obtain the information encoded in the DNA by actually uncovering the order in the base pairs that make up the DNA. It's the blueprint of life.
Do you take it to a special copy machine?
You can make a lot of copies, but I'm not sure you can make a clone of the cells.
Do you think in the future that might happen?
Somehow, I don't think so.
Why is that?
The development of an organism is too complicated a process to recapitulate in a test tube.
If we can detect the sex of a child before it is born, and we can detect certain attributes, can we add certain attributes before the child is born. . .. Can you change those attributes?
We may or may not be able to do that, it depends on whether we are able to explain behavior. I don't think it is appropriate to manipulate that, that's playing God. The incentive for developing gene therapy is correcting genetic disorders, and even with that there are a lot of ethical issues. I don't think it's ethical.
Do you think the trend of your science will become so unethical that. .
I don't think so. We're so far from being able to manipulate genes to recreate certain traits. I think the trend will be to learn about certain defects; that predispose people to cancer or to some form of disease. The question is, do people want to be screened for this-this information can be very misleading. It's really at that level. We're miles away, beyond that, there are a few reports here and there, which implicate the effects of these procedures. . .
Would you want to warn a family about a genetic abnormality, as we call it, as a scientist, what is your burning desire?
It really has to do with finding the secret of life. What is the basic of what goes on. Every thing that I do, It's all going on around the clock in your body, as we speak. I'm trying to find out about myself.
Is that your fascination with our performances? that it's a live expression of what goes on in ourselves? That you and I and Emily are trying to find out what goes on creatively in ourselves?
That's a good way to put it.
It's the way we can communicate metaphorically with the whole world at once. ..
maybe less so, maybe being part of this quest for. . there are some similarities, and some differences from my quest for the secret of life. I guess we're exploring different aspects of physical and spiritual . ..
So what we do here embellishes your/we're like a macroscopic complement to your microscopic world? I'm going to give you this series of drawings as a present.
that's fantastic
from what you say, I see you in all different ages of the living process.
The End.

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