TSA Advent Calendar: Day 5

It’s just 20 days to go! Are you excited? I sure am! I’ve asked for a Terry’s Chocolate Orange because I love Terry’s Chocolate Oranges. It’s the way that you get a big solid ball of chocolatey goodness and just to make things even better, it’s orange chocolate! Not only that, but in order to eat it you first have to smash it off a wall, or bang it on the ground. It’s loads of fun! Not like Flakes. They’re rubbish. There’s no fun or violence involved in them. They break when you touch them! Makes a mess.

Anyhoo, did you know that there is something inside of you called the Sonic Hedgehog? Well, the Sonic Hedgehog Homolog to be precise. It’s purpose is to… Actually, I’d be kidding myself if I tried to explain it to you because quite frankly, I haven’t got a clue what its purpose is. After reading numerous articles on the gene, I still can’t make any sense of the matter and I’d probably do more harm than good if I was to try and explain it to you too. Thankfully though, Peter has a firm grasp of the concept and has been able to help me out!

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“I’m no expert but as I understand it, this gene is one of the main genes responsible for the development of fingers and toes. If it is mutated it causes many little spiny eruptions on a limb (like a hedgehog) and it can stop the growth of external genetalia in fruit flies. I seem to remeber reading that it has something to do with the development of the spinal cord, specifically around the base of the brain. Because of this gene’s ability to make cells grow quickly it is thought to be a primary instigator in many cancers (which are essentially just the rapid growth of cells where they are not welcome).”

What he said. The naming of the cell has also caused quite a bit of controversy as some believe that the name is an embarrassment and is insensitive to those who do develop cancers as a result of its imperfections. They’ve campaigned to change it, yet the name stays the same. If I’m going to be honest, I think that that’s ridiculous and if I were to develop a cancer, having its source be named after a video game character would bring a smile to my face.

What’s much better though is the Pikachurin, which is much easier to understand. The Pikachurin is a protein which carries the signals from your eye to your brain at incredible speed and if it were not there, it would take three times longer for the eye signals to reach the brain so that we could know what we were seeing. Named after, you guessed it, Pikachu, the Pikachurin was given its name because of its “lightning-fast moves and shocking electric effects”. I love Pokemon, so the fact that there’s one in my head is just the best thing ever.

Nearly better than Christmas!

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