We always discuss how Rudolph led Santa’s sleigh that one foggy night, but we never discuss why his nose glows red in the first place! A biologist, Steve Farber, decided to take a look into this fictional character to see why his nose may have glowed red. The answer he came up with is a one-in-a-million event, slightly more likely than seeing a flying reindeer, but the hypothesis makes complete sense.
So, here’s how! There are other creatures that glow with color through bioluminescence or fluorescence, such as jellyfish, sea anemones, and zebrafish, if any genetic material from one of these organisms found a way into Rudolph’s DNA – BOOM, he too can now glow with color. Now the question is, how did this fluoresce end up in his DNA? – his mother! While she was pregnant she may have come upon Anthozoan coral, a red species found in shallow tropical waters (why was she in the water? The world may never know) which she cut herself on. The coral DNA may have entered her bloodstream, and then traveled from her blood into a virus-like genetic element that transferred it into the egg cell that then formed Rudolph. This entire process is called horizontal gene transfer! With Rudolph, instead of being transferred into his skin, the gene was expressed in his nasal epithelial cells – his nose, which caused it to glow red versus no glow at all. Now, we know why Rudolph might have had a red glowing nose to help Santa guide his sleigh and no one else!
Must have been during their destination wedding. If so, it is crazy that something similar to our simple lab could be done, in a much more complex way, in nature, even if the chances are so small. I think everyone just assumed it was just as possible as flying reindeer.ReplyDelete
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I love this theory because of the holiday season, but why would it target of the nose specifically, it must have attached to a gene close to a nose that controls the morphology or size. Also what if it was a bacterial infection gone unchecked and the bacteria just happened to have a red florescent protein? That would make Rudolph's parents pretty negligent, do they have CPS for Reindeer?ReplyDelete
OMG! The heading of this post caught my attention because I love Rudolf. I think this is a great post because it's so close to Christmas and I never thought a scientist would come up with a theory on a fictional character. His theory makes a lot of sense as to why Rudolf would have a red nose, but I would like to know more of this "study"/theory. It should continue on to say why his mother was in the water in the first place and maybe test the theories on animals similar to reindeer. HAHA! I think it was definitely interesting to read and a great theory but I feel that there is so much missing.ReplyDelete