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helacyton gartleri: The first known organism to have evolved from humans.

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posted on Dec, 8 2005 @ 07:12 AM
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helacyton gartleri is the species name of the first known organism to have evolved from humans. helacyton gartleri is a single celled organism and is "immortal" meaning that it never dies of old age and can divide indefinitely. helacyton gartleri is called HeLa for short.

HeLa started out as cervical cancer in Henrietta Lacks, a Baltimore woman. The cells were taken from her in 1951 and she died shortly after. She was killed by HeLa.

Once in the lab HeLa grew at a phenomenal rate and offspring were sent around the world to use in studies. HeLa is so successful as an organism, that it has numerous times lept from one cell culture to others, contaminating research. HeLa is an all female species but reproduces A-sexually. HeLa is female due to its two X chromosomes. HeLa has already split into various strains that are divergent from each other due to fast growth rate and high mutation rates. HeLa contains the same genetic material as Henrietta Lacks did, with natural modifications over time.

HeLa is a single celled organism that evolved from a human and has now lived and reproduced on its own for over 50 years. HeLa has typical humans genes, including those that code for an entire human being, plus any associated with the abnormal (cancer) growth.

HeLa is a great example of how a forward step in evolution is not always something more complex or more advanced.




posted on Dec, 8 2005 @ 08:57 AM
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I heard about this... back when I was first in grad school, but I think this info is pretty old now.

Personally, and I've grown HeLa Cells for years, I wouldn't consider them to be a different species. Yes they are immortalized, but so are hundreds of other cell lines that were taken from tumor or other genetically compromised tissues. Is each one of these immortalized cell lines a separate species? According to what you've stated above, yes.

HeLa cells have no life of their own, they may survive quite well under laboratory conditions, but have not occupied any particular ecological niche.

If something happens to cease all tissue culture activities, HeLa cells will die off in a matter of days. They can't survive for long outside of their controlled environment. They have no ability to withstand environmental extremes, etc. They've been propagated and contaminate many cultures because of sloppy sterile technique and proliferative growth.

It's not like, you could contaminate yourself with HeLa, and three days later go into some other lab and infect their cultures.

I don't know any scientist considers HeLa a separate species.



posted on Dec, 8 2005 @ 09:18 AM
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Very interesting take.


I need to look into this. Haven't paid much attention to HeLa - but did think it was related to the SV40 contamination of polio vaccines, maybe in combination with the Rous virus. Don't know where I got that though - could just be I read the related research all at the same time.

...Wish I had more time.



posted on Dec, 8 2005 @ 11:12 AM
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Originally posted by mattison0922

I don't know any scientist considers HeLa a separate species.


As stated in my original post, they are officially a separate species now with that classification based on everything I have read.

Wikipedia list them as a separate species.

However, this is on par with the "Is Pluto a planet?" debate. Some say yes, some say no.



posted on Dec, 8 2005 @ 11:56 AM
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Originally posted by Quest
Wikipedia list them as a separate species.

However, this is on par with the "Is Pluto a planet?" debate. Some say yes, some say no.


The scientific authority of Wikipedia notwithstanding, did you read the link you posted. The extent of wikipedia listing them as a separate species (from your link) is as follows:

Special emphasis added by mattison0922
It may also represent the first documented creation of a new species.

It doesn't sound like even wikipedia has laid the issue to rest.

As far as the reference to Pluto is concerned, the issue or HeLa cells being a species really isn't debated among scientists. When we sit around talking about cell lines, the conversation doesn't flow to "Are HeLa cells a distinct species."

Because one paper claims something more than 15 years ago, doesn't make it so.



posted on Dec, 8 2005 @ 12:17 PM
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I find some of trhis extremely suspect. HeLa was one of the first commecially available research cell samples for tissue culture experiments. I've worked with HeLa as well as other commercial samples as well as doing research with samples taken during various surgeries. The idea that the organism never dies and is invading other cell cultures is, in my view, absurd. The cells have been cultured, commercially, all these years. If 'contamination' has occured it is intentional or a result of poor laboratory technique. My feeling is someone is playing fast-and-loose with the whole subject for the sake of sensationalism. Stop providing culture media and dividing the culture and this oprganism would die. Keeping tissue cultures thriving is extremely difficult.



posted on Feb, 2 2009 @ 07:44 AM
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Calling it "female" does not seem sensible to me. The "species" only reproduces asexually and therefore doesn't have sexes. The fact that it's derived from a human female doesn't change that fact.

As for contaminating other cell lines, that's very real:
www.hpacultures.org.uk...



posted on Aug, 15 2012 @ 06:23 AM
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so what is it with the cancer cells of Henrietta Lacks that make them so aggressive, more so than others? is it more so than others?

do other people have these aggressive cancer cells?


forgive my lack of understanding but i am very very very rookie when it comes to biology.




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