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DEM. KARABEROPOULOS
The biological term chimera
 
Ann Clin Paediatr, volume 52, (4), p. 423
 

Dear Professor,

The reader of your Journal very often reads the term "chimera" in texts related to for example to leukemia, just as in the previous issue of your journal was the article with title "Anti-CD20 chimera monoclonal antibody in therapeutic practice". And everyone wanders why researchers have established this term.

Chimera in Greek Mythology was a multiform monster. Homer in the Iliad mentions for the first time Chimera, which was a fire-breathing monster with the head of a lion, the body of a goat, and the tail of a serpent. According to Hesiod Chimera was a child of Typhon and Echidnas, who was half woman and half serpent and her brothers were Lernaia Hydra, Orthos, the dog-monster with two heads and a tail of a serpent, and Kerberos, the keeper of the underworld with the fifty heads and the tails of serpents. Chimera's children were the Lion of Nemea and Sphinx, who was Thebas' catastrophe for all those, who were able to answer her enigma but which was answered as it is known by Oedipus. Chimera was brought up in Lycia of Minor Asia and was killed by the hero Bellerophon mounted on the winged horse Pegasus, as he was set on fighting with Chimera by the King of Lycias hoping for his destruction.

Scientists got from Greek Mythology the term "chimera" in order to characterize the plant, which derived after inoculation and presents mixed characteristics from its mother plant and its graft and generally for other organisms, whose tissue belong to two different genetic types. Similarly the term "chimera" is used on transplantation of bone marrow so as to signify that in the blood of the body, which accepted the graft, two different cellular population were found, that of which one being the donor and the other the receiver.

Also the term "chimeric" as an adjective means that the subject to which is referred, is a creation of two different biological types, as in the mentioned article of the journal, where it is inscribed that rifuximampe is a "chimeric monoclonic antibody", which is formed from "the stable part of human's immunoglobulin" and "the variable part of mouse's immonoglobulin", i.e. by immunoglobulins from two different kinds.

 

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Ann Clin Paediatr 2004, 51 (4), 347-353.

Greek Mythology, Ed. J. Kakridis, Ekdotiki Athinon, Athens 1986, vol. 1, p. 84-85, vol. 2, p. 48.

Homer, Iliad Z 119-183

Hesiod, Theogonia 3-5-330, 820-880, Pindar, Pytdia I, 15-29.


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