Science Fiction Challenge/The nanoepitaxy of Susanne Marie
This story explores the idea that there might be evidence for extraterrestrial life that can be found right on Earth....if we knew where to look and what to look for. The fictional story, "The nanoepitaxy of Susanne Marie," is under construction. This page has plans for the story and background information.
Background and science issuesEdit
The basic idea is that Earth has long been inhabited both by native life forms and by nanorobotic artificial life forms of extraterrestrial origin. The nanorobotic life forms that are on Earth are here to observe the evolution of life on Earth and they sometimes "extract" Earthly life forms from Earth for transfer to distant locations and further study. One of the preferred "life styles" for the nanorobotic life forms is to live inside multicellular organisms. In the story, Susanne Marie Ganice becomes the first person found to be a host for a nanorobotic life form.
The "nanoepitaxy" part is the basis of the discovery of the nanorobotic life forms. Normally, the nanorobotic life forms do not interfere with the course of development of the native life forms on Earth. However, certain "renegade" nanorobotic life forms make use of cloned humans as a tool for passing knowledge from generation to generation. The goal of these renegades is to artificially stimulate human progress, but their methods are illegal. Their program involves producing clones, allowing the clones to remain on Earth and then performing a form of "nanoepitaxy" to connect the brains of the parent and its clone, allowing a form of shared consciousness and "downloading" of thoughts from the parent to its clone. Susanne Marie Ganice is such a clone. The story is about how she discovers what is going on, and then how the people of Earth do also.
The nanorobotic life forms are able to induce parthenogenic cloning of individuals  when they find an interesting new variant. In general, this is followed by removal of the clone(s) from Earth for further study.
In mammals, there is so much parental investment in each offspring that imprinting makes sense and prevents spontaneous parthenogenesis. Techniques for reprogramming of nuclei to obtain male and female patterns of imprinting would facilitate cloning of "prized specimines".
In this story, it is imagined that the nanorobots make use of "mitotic synapsis", an artificially induced pairing of chromosomes in a diploid cell that takes place without any genetic recombination. Mitotic synapsis is followed by a modified cell division event producing two haploid daughter cells, one of which has almost no cytoplasm. The smaller of these two daughter cells is enucleated and the nucleus is inserted into a secondary oocyte for genomic programming in the female gamete pattern. The original nucleus of the oocyte is destroyed. The other haploid daughter cell differentiates into a modified prospermatogonium and its nucleus is programmed according to the male gamete pattern.
Mitotic synapsis can be induced in adult females as desired by the nanorobotic life forms. The resulting specialized follicle needs about a year to complete the genomic reprogramming. The secondary oocyte then matures through a near-normal follicle maturation process. The nucleus from the modified prospermatogonium is then used to fertilize the oocyte. The female-programmed pronucleus and the male-programmed pronucleus combine to produce a genetic replica of the woman's original diploid chromosomes. The clone can come to term and be born after normal development in the uterus. In most cases, the clone is taken off Earth, and the child is given special education before being returned to Earth.
In some cases, mitotic synapsis is induced in large numbers of folicles and a large number of clones are produced at the same time and harvested by the nanorobotic life forms prior to their implantation in the uterus. The clones are frozen and taken off Earth for later implantation in surrogate mothers.
Susanne Marie Ganice is a clone who went through the process described above. In the story, Susanne is returned to Earth in order to go through the "nanoepitaxy" process and begin living on Earth. However, during the "nanoepitaxy" process a nanorobotic error occurs triggering the program for "mitotic synapsis", resulting in pregnancy and eventual discovery by the medical community of Earth that Susanne has reproduced parthenogenically.
Planned story modulesEdit
- Susanne is shown as a "courier" who shuttles embryos off Earth and takes them to the planet where she was born. This is what is depicted in the "video teaser". This story module establishes that Susanne has a rather un-exciting routine of making such trips to Earth. Susanne is shown to be one of a group of eight clone sisters. The other seven clones never go to Earth. They are involved with various aspects of working with the embryos that are brought from Earth by Susanne.
- Susanne is informed that she has been selected from among her cohort of clones to begin living on Earth. Initially, this comes as a complete shock, because according to law, life forms such as herself, once removed from Earth, are not returned. She learns about the secret program allowing clones such as herself to live on Earth and undergo the "nanoepitaxy" process.
- Susanne goes to Earth and meets her biological "mother", who is actually genetically identical to Susanne. Sussanne goes through the "nanoepitaxy" process, receiving a transfer of memories.
- Nine months later Sussanne gives birth, assuming that the pregnancy has been totally conventional. However, it is discovered that she and her daughter are genetically identical. This leads to discovery of nanorobotic devices inside Sussanne.
- Tissue engineering, stem cells, cloning, and parthenogenesis: new paradigms for therapy by Jason Hipp and Anthony Atala (2004) J Exp Clin Assist Reprod. 1: 3
- Epigenetic reprogramming in the mammalian embryo: struggle of the clones by Mellissa R. W. Mann and Marisa S. Bartolomei (2002) Genome Biol. 3(2): reviews1003.1
- Epigenetic Decisions in Mammalian Germ Cells by Christopher B. Schaefer et al (2007) in Science Vol. 316. pp. 398 - 399.
- related story - collaborative fiction at the fiction Wikia