Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Science Articles Ponder What It Means to Be Human, Transcriptomic Analysis of Blood Cells

While the human genome is considered by some as defining what it is to be "human," the vast diversity of human genomes, as well as the overlap between human and non-human genomes, hinders efforts to nail down the legal definition of a human, researchers from McGill University and Stanford University write in Science this week. "Possession of a 'human genome' is part of being a legal natural person, but we need to recognize both that a genome is neither in itself sufficient (a human lymphocyte is not a legal person) nor, in exact detail, necessary," they note. Xenotransplantations, human/non-human chimeras, organoids, and revived dead tissues further complicate this issue. "On the spectrum from living cell to organism to human being, with all their new biotechnological variations, to a natural, legal person (alive or dead), perhaps the concept of membership in the hazily bordered human family can serve as a useful source for the delimitation of the 'human,'" they conclude.

A genome-wide transcriptomic analysis of protein-coding genes in human blood cells is reported in Science by a Karolinska Institutet-led team this week. The data are presented in an open-access Blood Atlas as part of the Human Protein Atlas and are integrated with expression profiles across all major tissues to provide spatial classification of all protein-coding genes. This, the study's authors write, "allows for a genome-wide exploration of the expression profiles across human immune cell populations and all major human tissues and organs."