Science and Sue (#3)
Testing the clones’ DNA
Ted Stevens, the DHS director assigned to contain Sue and the other clones, begins to understand the clones. He sees them learn and develop friendships. He does not share the same view as the special committee–the General and his minions, who believe the clones are aliens and should be locked up forever. Ted contracts with his friends at the laboratory to conduct DNA testing to prove the clones are just that: copies of their original people who touched the goo.
There are different kinds of DNA testing that could have been conducted. There are general DNA tests, fingerprint analyses (hence the name of Sue’s Fingerprint), and there are detailed tests, complete DNA sequencing. In the DNA fingerprint test, a person’s DNA is isolated and clipped into large pieces that are then separated for detection. The pattern of the DNA fragments is unique for an individual. The chances of two people having the same fingerprint are very very low. This is why the fingerprint test is used for paternity/maternity determinations, comparing the mother’s and/or father’s DNA to the child’s. It’s also used in criminal cases, to compare DNA recovered at the crime scene to the DNA of a suspect. In the more detailed test, the entire sequence of the base pairs (the order and pairings of the A’s, T’s, C’s and G’s) is determined for the whole genome of the subject. Every person’s DNA is different, and the differences are unique. An individual’s sequence can be compared to other genomes to identify the specific differences or mutations. The DNA fingerprint test can be conducted in a day or two, but the sequencing test can take months to complete.
In Sue’s Fingerprint, Ted uses the DNA fingerprint test to compare the clones’ DNA to the people who touched the goo, the people from whom they were cloned. When the DNA fingerprints of the clones come back identical to their other people, Ted knows the new people are just that: people. They are not aliens. The clones are humans. This test is the evidence Ted needs to release the clones.
In Sue’s Voice, Ted wants to learn why differences in the clone’s behavior have surfaced, including the behavior of the newest clone, Suzanne Theodora, the daughter of Donald and Denise. The DNA sequencing reveals many small differences or mutations that distinguish the clones’ DNA from human DNA. These differences are so small that they do not impact the fingerprint test. That is why the clones’ fingerprints matched their original people’s DNA. But when the special DHS committee steals the sequencing results, they know they have the test that can identify the clones, giving them the evidence to imprison the “aliens” and prosecute them as enemies of the government. (Even Ted is imprisoned with the clones for aiding the “alien invasion”.)
DNA testing in the Sue series is used to help the clones, but also harm them. Thankfully, Ted and the clones know how to fight back. Read the science and adventures in all three stories of Sue and the clones!