Friday, March 19, 2010

arts and spare parts

Since I've gone back to painting pictures the slow way I won't be able to post pictures of new ones very often. Oh well. In the meanwhile, here's another that lives in my portfolio and, just to keep things moderately interesting around here, a story that caught my attention this week:

A human spare parts kit may someday become a reality thanks to scientists who claim to have discovered a gene which could allow regrowing of damaged body parts. An international team, led by The Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, has found that if the p21 gene is switched off in mammals they can regrow body parts just like amphibians do.

Now the idea that scientists are chopping parts off small animals after making sure they don't have a particular gene just to see if they'll grow the bits back is kind of creepy but at the same time it is interesting. I guess I just have to hope the creatures are sedated, kept comfortable, well fed and have suitable entertainment available while they recover.

Mammals in general heal wounds by forming a scar but mice with no p21 grow a blastema which is similar to a group of embryonic stem cells. The ones with damaged ears regrew them. It's probably too soon to apply this technique to people and I personally have no idea of how particular genes can be turned off or on but I'll take their word for it.

Now I'm going to send the article to my dentist so we can discuss the third set of teeth I should be growing right about now.


marja-leena said...

Lovely lovely painting, such rich vibrant colours!

Though I admit I'm skeptical about these medical innovations, the idea of some new parts has definitely some appeal :-)

MRMacrum said...

Very interesting and well done painting. A lot going on there. Painting like this I always wonder if what I read into it is anything close to what the artist hoped or saw in it themselves.

Spare parts? I dunno. Seems to me they ought to be lookin for the gene that makes us too big around and turn that one off.

jams o donnell said...

I love the painting Susan/ As for the medical advance, perhaps it will become commonplace but I doubt we will see it in place

Randal Graves said...

I'm not saying it'll be used to grow six-armed mutant soldiers, but like the typical advance in biotechnology, it'll probably used for evil and profit.

But if that turns out to be the case, we'll just magically activate your cool painting and have the tiger eat them.

susan said...

marja-leena - Thanks, it's one of my favorites.

Medical innovations are great but until everyone here has access to medical coverage they're like sprinkles on a cupcake - pretty but useless.

MRMacrum - I was seeing a lot when I painted this one but the girl in the picture is blind. I feel that in spite of so much technological development people haven't changed at all.

jams - Glad you like it :-) There's no doubt the ability to regrow parts would be beneficial but better if we lived in a world where fewer are lost.

randal - It's the sigh of our times, isn't it? If only there were more tigers..

okjimm said...

nice painting. I would gush more...... but my gush gene needs replacing. See, everytime I want to start waxing eloquent on something I like.... why, golly... it just doan work. Just gush, gush, gush.

The doctor have all said I should just drink more beer and it may grow back all by itself. Finally a doctor I can believe in!!

Liberality said...

There are many who think that harming animals just for our own benefit is evil in itself and I am hard pressed but to agree.

Tiger by the tale indeed!

susan said...

okjimm - I get the idea :-) - Glad you like it. Good doctors like him are hard to find these days.

liberality - I read Richard Adams book 'Watership Down' a long time ago and it left a big impression on me. At the same time I work in interventional radiology where the researchers operate on dogs, pigs and monkeys to figure out how to place stents etc. I wish they didn't find it necessary.

Seraphine said...

it would be helpful
to regrow a heart
many are lost to spite
or loss
it is so hard to restart
once it stops
since we're not bulletproof
i would knowingly give my heart away
knowing i would grow another

Nancy said...

It is interesting, but I do hope the animals are well kept. It could be an incredible breakthrough, if only for the reason you mention.

You have not shown a painting yet that I didn't really like.

Spadoman said...

The woman in this painting is beautiful too, like that dark haired beauty of a few posts ago. I really like the dark brunette hair over the blond. She is so damn sexy. (what border?) Your work either was racy as this might be from that older collection, or the little girl has grown up. Looks like the tiger is larger too! I like it. Could be posted at Pagan Sphinx's Friday Night Nudes!
New body parts? I dunno. Part of me feels it's like everything else. Technology makes it seem like life is better and easier, but only for the rich.
Then, I wonder how The Great Spirit thinks about messin' with the cycle of life? Maybe The Creator is allowing it all to happen??
Too much to think about. Besides, I don't want any more operations, so, the surgery for a new heart or new prats I might need to make me perfect again is out.
I got smad]shed in ther face years ago and part of my lip was torn off. It grew back on its own. There must be some parts that do this, membrane stuff, like lips and whatever.


Pagan Sphinx said...

I saw a Nova (I think it was) program on this and was fascinated. Well, of course, how could one not be?

I had to laugh at MRMacrum's comment! I could use a gene change in the rotund area - middle age has not been good to me in the weight department!

The painting you posted is, I think, my favorite. I love the nude, of course and then there is something about the way you paint tigers that just makes me sigh and swoon!

All the love,

Seraphine said...

ordos, china is so interesting! thank you for sharing that.
it sounds like a field of dreams: build it and they will come.
brazil did something similar when they build brasilia, moving their government away from, i think, rio de janeiro to the interior of the country.
from the journalism, it sounds like people will move to the new ordos when property prices inevitably adjust... or gasp! collapse.
it used to be when the united states got ill, the rest of the world suffered.
one of these days, china will have an economic adjustment, or a "crash" if you will. considering china's place in the current world economy, it might be scary indeed- for all of us.
all we can do is make sure we (ourselves) are thriving- us, our friends, families and local community.

susan said...

sera - That's a beautiful analogy ♡

nancy - So far as I know from the researchers and veterinarians I've worked with they are well cared for but that doesn't mean they don't all ultimately die from the trauma.

Thanks :-)

spadoman - Pagan was kind enough to post some of my paintings as a special event a while back. I'm flattered you'd think they're good enough to be shown alongside the professionals.

Well, naturally I was thinking about how good it would be if those injured and maimed could be healed but we do have to consider the cost both to the experimental animals and to those who knew another treatment was available but not for them or their children. It's a tough call.

pagan sphinx - I happened to find an article online and went from there because it is so interesting. Stem cell research may also eventually allow for spinal cord repair which would be extraordinarily beneficial.

I like this painting a lot too and I'm still in the process of trying to return to where I was when I painted it. Not so easy :-) Richard Parker is a lovely Tiger, isn't he?

susan said...

sera - I thought you'd find that interesting when I read your post this morning. It's really just another example of 'bubble economics' unless there's a broader division of common wealth than goes on now. What's unsustainable is keeping the great mass of poor workers laboring at making goods that an increasingly impoverished and debt ridden West can afford. A long time ago I remember there was talk among unionists about raising pay levels for people in emerging economies with the idea of applying fairness internationally. That doesn't seem to have worked.

Meanwhile, you're right about our options. It wouldn't be a bad idea for other states to go the way ND did and open state banks that have no affiliation with Wall St.

Seraphine said...

i have to observe that ordos looked like a beautiful city. did you see those wide boulevards?
it looks like a great place to visit.
maybe one day, but after i first get to see some narrow streets in italy.

susan said...

sera - it did indeed look like a beautiful city but it could have been anywhere wheras the narrow streets of Italy could be nowhere else.

Joss Albért said...

Have you ever heard of the children's book The Tiger Who Came To Tea? One of my very favourite books as a child, and still. Your tiger reminds me of it!

limp said...

some guys could use this technique to grow extra bits in the nether region

susan said...

joss - Never did but I'll check it out. Nice to know I brought you a fond memory.

limp - You need an extra buttock?