My cell biology students would have fun with this

Or maybe some would just be confused? After all, it comes from that reputable scientific authority, the Daily Mail.

To the red marks I’d also add that mitochondria is plural, mitochondrion is singular, and a mitochondrian is, I think, a Dutch abstract painter.

I don’t think I’ll expose my students to this because I’m concentrating on teaching them good science.


  1. brucej says

    [it doesn’t work like that, none of this works like that!.gif]

    And this, in part, is where people are getting the notion that the mRNA vaccines ‘change your DNA’. the really sad part is that it’s not any more complicated to explain it correctly.

    Did they get this from a Texas Biology textbook?

  2. kingoftown says

    Also they seem to think a single base is somehow a pair and that glycolysis happens in mitochondria.

  3. hemidactylus says

    My problem is assuming people have the same knowledge of biology as I do, which feeds into my frustration as to how people can so easily get sucked into bad ideas (but experts such as Duesberg who probably forgot more biology than I will ever know sucked themselves into bad ideas too).

    The description should have led with transcription (broken down?).

    Bacteria and their mitochondrial descendants have DNA.

    There are DNA and RNA viruses. RNA viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 co-opt the ribosomes in rough ER, but have much more functionality than native mRNA or the alien mRNA vaccines. I wonder if mRNA vaccines feel alienated as they cannot see the results of their exploited work? They are alien to the cell, being introduced via syringe into the body.

    Imagine clueing these people into the magnificent world of bacteriophages!

    Trying to explain that mRNA vaccines don’t change lymphocytic DNA or cross Weismann’s barrier into the germline to people with no basic knowledge of biology is a lost cause.

  4. davidc1 says

    @4 Don’t encourage him .Ah ,the daily heil one of the batshitcrazy news(hahahahahahahahaha)papers that
    told the great English voting public to vote leave .
    Don’t know if you Americans follow events in our tiny group of islands ,but we are supposed to be short of 100,000 HGV drivers .
    Because all the European drivers have buggered back home ,a news report on the bbc said Garages are struggling to supply petrol and diesel ,so everybody goes out and panic buy .So ,forecourts are shut queues at the ones where is some fuel ,and I did hear someone is selling petrol at £11 a gallon .
    Welcome to britshit GB .
    One good news in all this ,xmas might be cancelled .

  5. hemidactylus says

    Or scratch that. mRNA vaccines aren’t capable of changing DNA in ways they might assume such as a retrovirus would. There are mundane but gnarly processes in lymphocytes where antibody coding DNA is rearranged to increase diversity. That IIRC happens pre-exposure to antigens. There may be times after antigenic exposure where hypermutation kicks in which changes DNA too, but I don’t know if exposure to mRNA vaccine related protein products is sufficient for that to kick in. It wouldn’t be exclusive to mRNA vaccines if so.

  6. Jazzlet says

    It’s not just because the European drivers have gone home, which is mainly beceause Brexit made them feel so unwelcome (who’d have thought it?), but our delightful Home Secretary was refusing to grant visas to any that might want to come back and the pay is shit for any but the specialist drivers and it’s not brialliant for them.. The Tories are expected to announce a temporary scheme for 5,000 drivers in an attempt to stop christmas being cancelled. Which will be about as much use as a Tory minister.

  7. hemidactylus says

    I’m kinda vague on robustness of immune response per COVID infection, vaccination, or vaccination after infection and what 2nd versus 3rd boosters of mRNA vaccination does. But if I get some clear enough notion that vaccination against COVID results in somatic hypermutation or affinity maturation in lymphocytes, I’m going to start saying that the vaccines can result in changing our lymphocytic (but not germline) DNA, because that would be the truth. And that result would be a good thing that we want because our immune system is roughly speaking “doing Darwinism” as it should. It’s doing its job producing antibody related mutants that live or die by intraselection. And that would be nifty.

    It isn’t mRNA vaccinations getting reverse transcribed and blindly integrated into the genome. That wouldn’t be worth squat.

  8. PaulBC says

    Was this explainer written by Anders Henriksson? It is similar in style, though covering a different subject.

    Civilization woozed out of the Nile about 300,000 years ago. The Nile was a river that had some water in it. Every year it would flood and irritate the land. This tended to make the people nervous.


  9. Pierce R. Butler says

    I don’t think I’ll expose my students to this …

    Meanie ol’ Prof Myers won’t let his cell biology students have any fun!

  10. dontlikeusernames says

    @ davidc1 #9

    It would be funny if it weren’t so tragic and such a huge needless waste of … everything. Mega-rich gonna mega-rich, I suppose… :(

    The stranglehold of Murdoch (et al.) is insanely troubling.

  11. Rob Grigjanis says

    PaulBC @14: In the same vein;

    Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock.

    And of course, no library is complete without 1066 and All That: A Memorable History of England, Comprising All the Parts You Can Remember, Including 103 Good Things, 5 Bad Kings and 2 Genuine Dates.

  12. blf says

    The mildly deranged penguin points out DNA means Does Not Apply, and RNA is Really Not Applicable, both of which describe that “explanation”…

  13. says

    It’s like the Armageddon Test at NASA. They give new recruits a pad of paper and make them watch the movie Armageddon and note as many mistakes and scientific inaccuracies as possible. The record is 168 in a 90m movie.

  14. nomdeplume says

    What is “unique in the animal kingdom”? And what “gets dissolved during fertilisation”?

  15. hemidactylus says

    I’m intrigued. If it is the case that COVID vaccinations spark an immune response that leads somewhat indirectly to somatic hypermutation in immunocytes, how could such complex information be conveyed to the general public in a way where those not familiar with the nuances of immunology don’t start losing their shit, especially because the conspiracy freaks are making vague ignorant arguments that the vaccines are directly invading our precious DNA?

    This is a basic generalization:
    “As mentioned earlier, with the passage of time after immunization, there is usually a progressive increase in the affinity of the antibodies produced against the immunizing antigen. This phenomenon, known as affinity maturation, is due to the accumulation of point mutations specifically in both heavy-chain and light-chain V-region coding sequences. The mutations occur long after the coding regions have been assembled, when B cells are stimulated by antigen and helper T cells to generate memory cells in a lymphoid follicle in a peripheral lymphoid organ (see Figure 24-16). They occur at the rate of about one per V-region coding sequence per cell generation. Because this is about a million times greater than the spontaneous mutation rate in other genes, the process is called somatic hypermutation.”

    And: “ Only a small minority of the altered antigen receptors generated by hypermutation have an increased affinity for the antigen. The few B cells expressing these higher-affinity receptors, however, are preferentially stimulated by the antigen to survive and proliferate, whereas most other B cells die by apoptosis. Thus, as a result of repeated cycles of somatic hypermutation, followed by antigen-driven proliferation of selected clones of memory B cells, antibodies of increasingly higher affinity become abundant during an immune response, providing progressively better protection against the pathogen.”

    Molecular Biology of the Cell. 4th edition.

    Awesome sauce. Now to find a smoking gun this is happening as a result of mRNA vaccines against COVID spike proteins.

    I see Felsenstein up there in the comments 😀

  16. PaulBC says


    What is “unique in the animal kingdom”?

    We’re all very fond of our pets.

    And what “gets dissolved during fertilisation”?

    A breath mint? (granted it’s usually not associated with a reproductive act).

  17. birgerjohansson says

    Newspapers in Bojoland are nearly all owned by billionaires who naturally all support the corrupt party ( by which I mean, if you donate big enough you will get a £ billion government contract in return regardless of whether you are competent of delivering or not.).
    They are worse than Trump because these narcissists have good enough social skills to pass as “normal”.
    -In Merica, you have two corrupt parties (one a bit corrupt, the other totally corrupt) so the corporate media have a somewhat different dynamic.
    The conservative media are mostly synonymous with the “gutter press” although there are a couple of high-brow papers.

  18. birgerjohansson says

    How Rupert Murdoch and others digest their food. They inject digestive fluid into the victim, as they are unable to chew.

  19. hemidactylus says

    A Sunday morning grenade:

    “ Multiple studies have noted reduced vaccine effectiveness in older adults (≥60 years) (38, 133-135) or residents of long-term care facilities, compared with general population estimates.(136-138) Compared with younger individuals, persons aged >80 years have been noted to have reduced T-cell responses, lower neutralizing antibody levels, and less potential antibody diversity (somatic hypermutation), potentially giving this group increased risk for susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection in vaccinated people. (139)”

    139 is:

    “B cell responses to mRNA vaccination…Differences in somatic hypermutation could affect neutralization through antibody affinity maturation. We found that participants aged 80 years or more had a lower level of somatic hypermutation in class-switched B cell receptors (BCRs) than the younger group, and that the difference was driven by the IgA1/2 isotype (Fig. 3c).”

    Smoking gun???

  20. birgerjohansson says

    There are a lot of new vaccines in the pipeline.
    I find it likely that some of them may be able to fill the nieches of vulnerability in established vaccines.
    This is just a guess based on the bajillion new vaccines, so feel free to.bash me for excess optimism.
    -Personally I am more concerned with the anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers who are determined to contaminate the rest of us.
    Bantustan solution? Set aside a corner of desert and name it ‘Real America’. No vaccines required as long as you stay there.

  21. PaulBC says


    Bantustan solution? Set aside a corner of desert and name it ‘Real America’. No vaccines required as long as you stay there.

    We do it already. I feel fairly safe here in the SF Bay Area. The people in the boonies say it’s not “Real America.” I say they can go fuck themselves.

  22. birgerjohansson says

    Completely OT
    As monday is approaching like an iceberg carried by the currents, I recommend ‘bad film’ enthusiasts to chill out with the evangelical “Bells of Innocence” or the muslim ‘Day When Sun Rise in the West’ .

  23. birgerjohansson says

    The German parliamentary election: quite even between the two blocs, but SPD seems to be ahead of CDU.
    What happens next is a struggle to form a coalition that gets an absolute majority.
    As the Bundestag awards seats in exact proportion to the votes (för parties bigger than the 6% treshold) this is much more democratic than USA or Britain.
    And – this is the big difference- the political debate has been about real issues instead of culture war bullshit.
    Germany wiĺl probably play a bigger role in western politics now that Britain has opted out and USA is divided against itself.

  24. davidc1 says

    @33 Ah Angela Merkel ,she is everything that twat faced twat johnson isn’t .And that low hum you can hear in Central Europe is all the dead nazis a spinning in their graves at the thought of a mere woman running Germany .

    @27 Glad you enjoyed our tiny countries .

  25. birgerjohansson says

    The German system of representation is a bit more elaborate than what I wrote.
    They have “mixed-member proportional representation” (see Wikipedia for details) but the outcome is a perfectly proportional representation.
    New Zealand has followed Germany’s lead in using this election system.
    And it seems that both countries are satisfied with this very un-American (or un-British) system.

  26. birgerjohansson says

    davidc1 @ 34
    The conservatives in Britain, Canada, Australia and USA will hate being reminded there are successful consevative leaders out there who are pragmatic, acknowledge the reality of climate change and campaign on real issues instead of lying through their teeth!
    English-language conservatives in industrialised countries are (with the possible exception of New Zealand) a burning garbage heap.

  27. whheydt says

    Iceland, on the other hand, has just elected the first European parliament in which women are the majority of the members.

  28. birgerjohansson says

    Abdullah Sameer at Youtube has reminded me that the OT has bona fide child sacrifice: Jeptah in ‘Judges’ kills his daughter.
    Foamy the Squirrel* is right about humanity.
    * recommended for his angry rants.

  29. Tethys says

    OT has bona fide child sacrifice*

    There is also the slaughter of innocents in the NT, the plague of angels who slaughtered the first born sons of Egypt, drowning the entire planet except one boat, and the god informing some dude he must build a sacrificial altar and kill his son on it to prove his devotion.

    Those are just the examples that immediately spring to mind. He is a vengeful, jealous god.

  30. davidc1 says

    @35 There was a bit in the Guardian about how Labour should not be in favour of PR because it would mean they would no longer be able to form majority govts in the future .
    The Labour party are more concerned with fighting among themselves than attacking this bastard tory govt .

    Along with changing the FPTP system to sort kind of PR ,we should put in place something to make sure the next bunch
    of MP’s are somewhat smarter than a packet of Hobnobs .