Friday, November 13, 2009

Ana Darcy on DNA and cats

Question: I'm wondering about your natural grace, speed, reflexes, and affinity for cats and other felines, and your dislike of canines. Is it possible that Thomans have used feline DNA to enhance your genetic makeup? (VP)

Ana Darcy's reply: You do me too much honor, sir. Thank you.

I assure you, I do not have feline DNA in my genetic makeup, except for whatever parts of that code humans may share with the felidae. Felines are unknown on Thomo, and their DNA would have been unavailable. Even if it had, its addition to that of a human's DNA would have been extremely unwise.

Our scientists have understood the nature of DNA for many generations, including its role in inherited conditions and disease and its occasional tendancy to mutate unpredictably. Accordingly, Thoman babies are routinely checked before birth to ensure their viability and general health. Ever since our numbers on Thomo initially shrank to precariously small numbers, each individual's life has been considered precious, and worth great cost to preserve. That is why we have not been reluctant to adjust the DNA code of an individual if it was needed.

Over time, several standard protocols have been developed to tweak an individual's genetic makeup. These protocols do not include choice of sex, eye color, or other secondary characteristics. Rather, they are intended to provide a robust variety of types needed by our society: sturdiness, muscularity, speed, and so forth. As soon as my parents learned I was destined to be a rather small female, they opted to modify my genetic code to favor quickness over strength.

As for my love of cats, I have observed that on Earth cats often take a liking to some people, and remain leery of others. I have loved cats since I met the first one in west Texas. They are extraordinarily beautiful animals and I consider myself fortunate that for whatever reasons cats and I bear an instinctive understanding and fondness for each other.

As to canids--dogs--you should know that Thomo has several species of fierce, dog-like creatures which it took us generations to control. Many of us died under their jaws. Our people have a deep, instinctive, collective dislike of them, and I, inevitably, have transferred it to the dogs of Earth. It's not the dogs' fault, and I have, in fact, overcome this to a great degree. My family has dogs and I love them dearly.

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