Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
If Your Molecules were Reversed, Would You Die?
Old 03-04-2015, 06:11 PM   #1
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
TromboneAl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 11,199
If Your Molecules were Reversed, Would You Die?

For my new book, a woman will be transported to a new time via a time machine.

I thought it would be fun if she comes out as a mirror image of herself (heart on the right, liver on the left, etc.).

BUT, I'm guessing that if all her molecules were to be mirror image isomers of what they had been, she would die.

Think so?
__________________

__________________
Al
TromboneAl is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 03-04-2015, 06:23 PM   #2
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
target2019's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 3,709
It sounds similar to what happens when Earth's magnetic poles reverse.

Is it true that the Earth‘s magnetic field is about to flip? | physics.org

Maybe she has a mutated gene, and gets affected by this?

Anyway, a really interesting idea, Al.

Maybe she ends up only being able to talk backwards.

__________________

__________________
target2019 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2015, 07:21 PM   #3
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 11,019
Situs Inversus Totalis, a condition in which a person's organs are all arranged as a mirror image of the usual, is not uncommon, occurring in 1:8000 to 1:10000 births. It is usually picked up on a physical examination and confirmed by imaging such as ultrasounds or X-rays, making sure to label right and left very carefully! If everything is backwards, the person should be healthy, although if the diagnosis has not been made, it can cause problems with future diagnosis (e.g. missing a case of appendicitis because the pain is on the left or "wrong" side of the abdomen). People with this condition should wear a medic alert bracelet.

Situs inversus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Occasionally, such a person will have a disorder of ciliary function called Kartagener's syndrome, which usually presents with respiratory symptoms.

Other people have mixed situs inversus, a condition in which some organs face one way and some face the other way. The direction setting equipment seems to have gotten confused! These people are quite likely to have complex congenital heart disease and may sometimes have no spleen, rendering them more susceptible to infection.

If a person's molecules were mirror images, they would be L or D isomers. As we learned in chemistry class, such compounds usually behave quite differently. Therefore, one would expect such a person to exhibit clinical symptoms, which could be anything you can think up!

I hope this helps the cause of literary fiction, Al!
__________________
Meadbh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2015, 07:25 PM   #4
Moderator Emeritus
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 4,929
Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
BUT, I'm guessing that if all her molecules were to be mirror image isomers of what they had been, she would die.
She's dead. Quite slowly and painfully, too, from malnutrition and environmental toxins such as things that we consider to be nutritional, but which have the wrong 'handedness' for her biology to metabolize. And all those 'mirror image' chemicals in her body don't act quite the same way the originals do, so she might not even make it as far as her first toxic meal!

Read this: An Adventure in Stereochemistry: Alice in Mirror Image Land (PDF)
__________________
M Paquette is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2015, 07:33 PM   #5
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 11,019
Quote:
Originally Posted by M Paquette View Post
She's dead. Quite slowly and painfully, too, from malnutrition and environmental toxins such as things that we consider to be nutritional, but which have the wrong 'handedness' for her biology to metabolize. And all those 'mirror image' chemicals in her body don't act quite the same way the originals do, so she might not even make it as far as her first toxic meal!

Read this: An Adventure in Stereochemistry: Alice in Mirror Image Land (PDF)
I love it! But the exam is tough. You don't happen to have the answers, I suppose?
__________________
Meadbh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2015, 07:37 PM   #6
Moderator Emeritus
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 4,929
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meadbh View Post
I love it! But the exam is tough. You don't happen to have the answers, I suppose?
As my old physics prof used to say, as he flung six stacked blackboards full of math out of sight...

"The answer should be intuitively obvious to even the most casual observer!"

__________________
M Paquette is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2015, 08:03 PM   #7
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 11,019
Quote:
Originally Posted by M Paquette View Post
As my old physics prof used to say, as he flung six stacked blackboards full of math out of sight...

"The answer should be intuitively obvious to even the most casual observer!"

I was just curious to know about the actual chemicals, INTJ that I am!
__________________
Meadbh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2015, 09:10 PM   #8
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
nun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 4,836
Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
For my new book, a woman will be transported to a new time via a time machine.

I thought it would be fun if she comes out as a mirror image of herself (heart on the right, liver on the left, etc.).

BUT, I'm guessing that if all her molecules were to be mirror image isomers of what they had been, she would die.

Think so?
Well in our Universe naturally occurring organic molecules are left handed as are particle electro-weak interactions, so if those were reversed as well I imagine that she would be ok. She'd probably die if she went to the other Universe and stayed the same.

I'm always intrigued by the way organic compounds that are isomers can interact very differently, all to do with shape and binding energy.
__________________
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

Current AA: 65% Equity Funds / 20% Bonds / 7% Stable Value /3% Cash / 5% TIAA Traditional
Retired Mar 2014 at age 52, target WR: 0.0%,
Income from pension and rent
nun is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2015, 10:12 PM   #9
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Northern IL
Posts: 18,288
Quote:
Originally Posted by target2019 View Post
...

Maybe she ends up only being able to talk backwards.

Or maybe talk backwards while playing the guitar at the same time (another one from Steve Goodman, with a reference to a Homer & Jethro song buried in a backwards line)?



thgin ta tuo emoc yeht srats ekil era hteet ruoy


-ERD50
__________________
ERD50 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2015, 10:51 PM   #10
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Kerrville,Tx
Posts: 2,726
Here is a wikipedia article about Chirality: Chirality (chemistry) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia In particular see the biology section. Note that sugars come left and right handed so the person might well starve to death as the wrong handed sugar just passes right thru.
__________________
meierlde is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2015, 11:37 PM   #11
Full time employment: Posting here.
bjorn2bwild's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Western US
Posts: 690
A little reverse transcriptase goes a long way.
__________________
How's it going to end..............
bjorn2bwild is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2015, 11:41 PM   #12
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 11,019
Quote:
Originally Posted by bjorn2bwild View Post
A little reverse transcriptase goes a long way.
Bingo!
__________________
Meadbh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2015, 11:47 PM   #13
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Toronto
Posts: 1,417
Yes D-glucose is what we use as fuel. The isomer L-glucose can't be metabolized so no go on the energy front. D-glucose and L-glucose are only two of the 16 aldose stereoisomers with the same C6 H12 O6 formula.
__________________
6miths is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2015, 04:53 AM   #14
Full time employment: Posting here.
Philliefan33's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 733
Stupid question here. If someone had a mirror-image body, could they metabolize the "other" stereoisomers? If we use the L now, does the D fit in reverse-chirality world?
__________________
Philliefan33 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2015, 08:26 AM   #15
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 11,019
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philliefan33 View Post
Stupid question here. If someone had a mirror-image body, could they metabolize the "other" stereoisomers? If we use the L now, does the D fit in reverse-chirality world?
No.
__________________
Meadbh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2015, 08:53 AM   #16
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 8,626
So she brings along some food stuffs to eat for 60 years or so that they also get reversed and she is golden. She uses the 60 years to figure out to put stuff in the time machine whenever she needs more sustenance.

Meadbh's response notwithstanding, since I don't agree with it.
__________________
LOL! is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2015, 09:02 AM   #17
Full time employment: Posting here.
jjquantz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 848
Arthur C. Clarke wrote the story "Technical Error" (1946) about this very thing. The conceit was that, due to an industrial accident, a man was somehow transported through a 4th spatial dimension and ended up mirror imaged at the molecular level. Starvation was the prognosis so they attempted to reverse the process. Not one of his best, but his usual attention to scientific details shows.
__________________
jjquantz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2015, 09:09 AM   #18
Full time employment: Posting here.
Philliefan33's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 733
My biochemist DD and I have an hour-long car ride planned for tomorrow. This concept will be a fun conversation.
__________________
Philliefan33 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2015, 09:26 AM   #19
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 8,626
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjquantz View Post
Arthur C. Clarke wrote the story "Technical Error" (1946) about this very thing. The conceit was that, due to an industrial accident, a man was somehow transported through a 4th spatial dimension and ended up mirror imaged at the molecular level. Starvation was the prognosis so they attempted to reverse the process. Not one of his best, but his usual attention to scientific details shows.
That's cool, but you know they didn't know as much about DNA, proteins, lipids, oligosaccharides, etc. back then, so I will have to go see what Mr Clarke put in his story. Thanks for mentioning it.
__________________
LOL! is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2015, 05:27 PM   #20
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Yuma AZ
Posts: 270
Just tossing thoughts out…

The disease mentioned appears to be an “oops” in gene programming.

For your story, you may want to look for some reason for the mirror-image that does not involve molecules becoming mirror images. To babble:

If the mirror image got down to the point of electrons & positrons, your character would probably emerge as anti-matter, with everything in a quite large radius being vaporized in a large explosion.

Skipping atoms, if molecules (formed by electron connections I believe) are reversed, the body of the character may not hold together. If it does, the person probably could not utilize the oxygen from the air, it wouldn’t connect right to the molecules of the body.
__________________

__________________
unno2002 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Dietary Cholesterol Concerns Reversed After 40 Years Midpack Health and Early Retirement 125 09-29-2015 10:40 AM
Poll:Would you Try Pot if it were legal in your state? Rustic23 Other topics 121 01-27-2014 11:29 PM
BIO terror~reversed? mickeyd Other topics 6 01-19-2009 01:30 PM
If you were given a "career mulligan," what would you choose? ziggy29 Young Dreamers 75 12-20-2008 07:10 AM
The one thing you would like to do before you Die? Cut-Throat Other topics 7 11-05-2004 02:00 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:15 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.