Chapter 8 Daemon Has T. gondii
It was possible that Daemon either had infected himself, or had become infected. He displayed the classic trait of “religiosity.” There is a positive correlation. Curtis would get a one of his hairs to determine if Daemon was infected.
It was obvious Daemon thought he was not doing any harm to humans with his experiments. The government killed people and most people already had T. gondii.
If Daemon is infected with T. gondii, it may be the weakest leak. Curtis had to find a process that would eliminate T. gondii infections and antibodies and therefore the traits.
Daemon thought that they would save the earth from being destroyed by humanity. There would be no culture conflicts. He would produce the chosen elite to carry out his instructions.
He would design different exterior human models, but with evolving superior intellect, behaviors and traits. It would be a family of humanity that was managed. They would have one leader. One government. One world. One higher self. Peace.
Daemon was near the end of his first phase of human DNA manipulations with altered T. gondii genes. He used a technique of DNA cloning of T. gondii using expression of vectors to generate a library of clones. Each clone expressed one protein. Daemon had used this expression library to screen for the properties of interest and clones of interest that he had recovered for further analysis. He had narrowed the selections.
Daemon said, “Let me show my recent research as the he walked over to a large research bench.” Daemon talked as if he was talking to Curtis and said, “I need the results of the data run last week.” Immediately displayed in front of Curtis and Daemon was a summary of his research of protein syntheses and gene genetic information that was in the molecule deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA of the latest human model #3 iteration.
Daemon and Curtis both new that DNA was made and resides in the nucleus of living cells. It was biology 101. Everyone knew DNA gets its name from the sugar molecule contained in its backbone (deoxyribose); however, it gets its significance from its unique structure.
Four different nucleotide bases occur in DNA: adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G), and thymine (T). They had used gene expression in the process to get information from a gene to be used in the synthesis of a functional gene product.
Curtis knew that Daemon was using T. gondii because of its known ability to alter learning, memory, and behavior. By employing a cut and paste genetic engineering technique, he could delete or replace a gene to determine or change its functions. Most model organisms naturally rejoin the manipulated pieces at the location of their proper and predictable sequence. When the T. gondii DNA was altered to Daemon’s specifications, he would insert T. gondii into his selected soldier. T. gondii would infect the soldier and the soldier would develop Daemon’s selected characteristics and attributes.
Daemon displayed a large chart indicating he had created safe, genetically modified vaccines to put into people. He was able to quickly and consistently target strains for genetic engineering. He needed to identify the best serum for the vaccination of the altered T. gondii into humans.
Daemon explained, "Fundamentally, first must genetically deleted all possible growth and virulence factors as well as the potential for transmission. Then key protective antigens or genes from other sources must be introduced in a defined way. Now we can do this efficiently, reliably and, cleanly."
The next display represented a non-redundant view of all T. gondii genes and data on their expression patterns, cellular roles, functions, and evolutionary relationships. Daemon asked Curtis, “Did he know this information?” Curtis replied yes, “That he had occasion to refer to this information.”
Curtis said he was concerned that T. gondii was so widespread in the world among humans and the long-term effects were not known. Toxoplasmosis is the third leading cause of death due to food borne pathogens in the US.
It was in the ocean. Most warm-blooded marine mammals are infected with Toxoplasma gondii. This is indicative of contamination of the ocean environment and coastal waters with oocysts/eggs. About 90% of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) from the coasts of Florida, South Carolina, and California have antibodies to T. gondii.
Curtis had read where scientists and researchers have recently discovered a correlation between Toxoplasma gondii and the decrease in the sea otter population. Since cats are the only creatures that shed the T. gondii parasite, through their feces, there seems to be a cause and effect.
Curtis with a pained, concerned look on his face said, “Sewage Treatment Plants does not kill the T. Gondii parasite. Cat owners using flushable litters, may be unwittingly contributing to the ultimate deaths of sea otters.”
Daemon remained stoic. He was not listening. Curtis was not going to give up. Curtis continued, “Storm Drain Runoff eventually runs off into a creek or river which flows directly into an ocean bay. Since outdoor cats bury their feces, deep watering or heavy rains float the oocysts/eggs (which have an extremely hard, durable shell) out to a bay in the ocean.
Daemon smiling, said, “You have certainly kept up with T. gondii research. That is one of the reasons that I need you.”
Curtis told Daemon he needed more information about injecting the modified T. gondii into humans when the long-term effects were not known. What were the unintended consequences? If sea otters were dying, what long term effect on humans, their unborn?
Daemon responded to Curtis’ concerns, “His research results confirmed his notion that the immediate benefits to the human race far exceed the possible unintended consequences.” Curtis reminded Daemon there was a huge responsibility in altering DNA. Curtis was concerned Daemon had no fear that mankind's fast-growing store of genetic knowledge may be less of a treasure chest than a Pandora's Box.”
Daemon was committed to using T. gondii to enable him to develop the perfect human for the New World Order. Curtis was committed to stopping Daemon and neutralizing Daemon’s associates.
Daemon said he would leave Curtis alone and let him review his research. He left. Finally, Curtis would wipe down Daemons chair and sweep the floor checking for any hair that he could analyze to verify his suspicions that Daemon was infected with T. gondii.
Curtis located one of his hairs on the chair that Daemon has sat on and three from the floor. He would find out the answer immediately.
Curtis used the Boston University method that did not require amplification. It was less error prone and quicker for DNA sequencing. He had a match. Daemon was infected.
Curtis knew that Toxoplasma kill infected cells; they must constantly hop from cell to cell to survive. He reviewed that basic facts about T. gondii. He was looking a process or procedure that would eradicate T. gondii.
When T. gondii burst out of an infected cell, they leave a mess behind. They pillage, destroy and shred the dense meshwork of proteins that make-up the host cell cytoskeleton and breaks the cell apart, killing the cell.
In the absence of calpain, T. gondii cannot escape the infected cell. Blocking or removing calpain-1, the calcium regulated protease, left parasites trapped inside the host cell. Perhaps he could use this process and stop Daemon.
There was another process that he could use. It required a laser. Curtis knew conjugates, or a protein that functions in interaction with other chemical groups of gold nanoparticles and antibodies have useful functionalities. Gold Nano rods were conjugated with an anti-Toxoplasma gondii antibody and used to target the extracellular tachyzoite, which is an infectious form of an obligate parasite Toxoplasma gondii. Subsequent laser irradiation was used to kill the targeted protozoans. This concept provides a new paradigm for the treatment of parasitic protozoans. Was it practical? Could Curtis use this process? He had to research the best method that would suit his needs to eradicate T. gondii infections.
The rest of the day Curtis engaged himself in reviewing Daemon’s research to understand, but more importantly, to look for a weakness to enable him to stop Daemon. Daemon and his associates all were infected.
At the end of the day, Daemon came into Curtis’ office. He asked Curtis if he would like to have dinner with him and his friend at Jakes Steakhouse at 6 pm. Curtis agreed and Daemon left. Curtis was puzzled. What were Daemon’s motives? Why meet him after work? Who was his friend?