By Philip R Reilly
Twenty-four real, wide-ranging stories of crime, historical past, human habit, affliction, and ethics, advised from the non-public point of view of the writer, an eminent physician-lawyer who makes use of the tales to demonstrate the rules of human genetics. Philip Reilly makes use of those tales to demonstrate the foundations of human genetics and to debate the wider matters.
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Using the small amount of nuclear DNA he was able to extract, Gill proved that one of the skeletons of the adult males in the group had to be the remains of the father of the three young women whose remains were also in this grisly collection. This fit the profile of the Romanov family, but there were still several issues to be resolved, and there was not enough nuclear DNA to complete the molecular analysis. The group turned to mitochondrial DNA. Mitochondria are tiny 42 ■ H I STO RY structures that reside in the cytoplasm that surrounds the cell’s nucleus.
But if Mendel’s work is tainted, it can only mean that he somehow deduced the theory of particulate inheritance and then sought physical evidence to support it, which is even more impressive. For, unlike most scientific advances, there is no evidence that his discovery was guided by the work of others. There is simply no published literature on particulate inheritance remotely close to Mendel’s work until his findings were rediscovered independently in 1900 by three botanists, an event that launched modern genetics.
Dr. Robert Desnick, the physician-researcher who led the team that worked out the molecular basis of pycnodysostosis, thinks that Toulouse-Lautrec was affected with it. He has discussed the possibility of resolving the diagnostic question with the family, but the descendants were reluctant to be tested and have ruled out exhumation of the artist’s remains. Those geneticists who are fond of offering Henri Toulouse-Lautrec as an example of inbreeding gone awry rarely mention the many talented artists among his ancestors.