Fortaleza, April, 2006
Destiny, has a way of choosing its victims and putting them at the right place and time. Back in College, all I wanted to be was some kind of journalist or a lawyer. This was mainly due to my interest in literature. Particularly English literature. I remember the profound effects such books as Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Much ado about nothing and Charles Dickens´ Great expectation, A tale of two cities, Pickwick papers, David Copperfield, Oliver twist, etc had on me. I also remember a work titled Far from the maddening crowd, whose author I cannot remember. As a young lad, I discovered that I actually had a strong literary inclination. Alhough in a science college, my classmates were convinced that as soon as we graduated, I was going to study English Literature or Mass Communication in the University. But it was not to be. By some twist of events, I was at the Faculty of Medicine, studying medicine. However, the new found dream of being a medical doctor was short-lived when I failed one out of the many courses offered in the first year and, accordingly, I was withdrawn from the department.With a lot of difficulties, I returned to the faculty, this time to study Biochemistry. All this while, my strong literary inclination was deep within me. And in the university, Mustapha or Darkness, as we used to call him, an emotionally impaired, wandering first class graduate of English Literature was around to help develop and sharpen this literary stint. My first serious and memorable encounter with DNA, as the ultimate code of life, was in my second year at the department of biochemistry when, we were to present seminar on various topics, which were to be selected by the course coordinator. And so, by yet another twist of events, my topic turned out to be DNA, structure and function. Off I therefore went in search of all possible primary and secondary literature on the subject. By the time I was ready to present the seminar, I discovered that I knew quite a lot about this fascinating chemical entity called DNA. So what is DNA, what does it do? DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid. It contains the information for the construction of every part of an organism. Genes, which are termed the unit of inheritance, are made up of strands of DNA. In humans, there are 46 chromosomes which house along their links, DNA molecules. Almost every living cell has the complete information to build a complete human being. However, each cell only uses a piece of the information in order to build it self. The rest is redundant.