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Opinion

The Mutant Problem

Published: July 19, 2015


 

Alex

 

Alex is Scott's brother. Unlike Scott, Alex talks. In fact, Alex won't shut up. If Alex and Madrox watched football together in a bar, they'd make up half the noise level.

"If I could do anything at all with my life?" Alex rubbed his hands together. "I'd surf and collect rocks. Not at the same time unless I have a totally righteous wipe-out."

Alex is a dedicated professional student. He wants to get a Ph.D in environmental geology with a focus on managing industrial waste and minimizing pollutants. If you think that's a mouthful, you should see some of his courses.

"There's some research about the connection between pollution and mutation. For example, mutants are rare in the agriculture- or hunting-based third world but their numbers are starting to rise in developing countries. The States and Europe have the highest concentrations. They've also been industrialized earliest. It's not causation but the correlation's interesting enough to explore. It's like bentgrass in mines right?"

I shamefully admitted I had no idea what he was talking about.

"There's a species of bentgrass that've grown in association with lead mines for centuries. Nearly nothing will grow on lead-rich soil because, well, it's poisonous. Somehow, there's was a gene in the great-great-great grandpa bentgrass that allowed it to live long enough to have seeds. Those seeds had a few plants that were just a little more tolerant than the generation before so those lived long enough to drop seeds. This went one for centuries until now, you've got a whole new species of bentgrass that thrives in polluted soil."

Alex's animation was contagious. He reminds me of Doug.

 

Introduction: The Mutant Problem

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