Written by Mason LaMarche
Twisting, two strands join
Nucleotides fill the void
Giving life blueprints
WHAT’S UP WITH DNA?
DNA is built to divide.
It passes its code, it’s designed to survive.
You get half from your mother
and half from your father;
with DNA we receive the tools to be alive.
DNA is made of two antiparallel strands.
Base pairs join them like two lightly clasped hands.
The expression of a gene can influence
how you handle the milk of a Holstein.
Lactose intolerance could make you
change your dessert plans.
DNA can predict the color of your hair.
DNA can influence whether you sneeze
when you see the sun’s glare.
Through science and sharing
all of our DNA comparing.
We can learn more about ourselves
and become aware!
14,100,000 new cases a year
Responsible for 15.7% of deaths¹
Tell me what other words can inspire such fear
Make the strongest of us fade away in their breaths
We call it an Emperor, solely malevolent
Our brightest minds hunt it with impunity
Guerilla, it hides, cells once benevolent
A damage to the DNA ruins the solidarity
Of a collaborative ecosystem we all partake in
Individually and collectively.
Six hallmarks, like a masochistic calling card²:
1. Cell growth and division absent the proper signals
2. Continuous growth and division even given contrary signals
3. Avoidance of programmed cell death
4. Limitless number of cell divisions
5. Promoting blood vessel construction
6. Invasion of tissue and formation of metastases
Cancer – the crab whose claws are made of blood
The grips of which have touched the world
In a way more powerful than Six Degrees of Separation
Take heart, look to the horizon!
For the future offers hope
Talented leaders of all nationalities
Unify to battle the Emperor of Maladies
So that one day, humanity can declare
We have toppled the Six Towers
In honor of the work done by brave cancer researchers such as Dr. Katerini Politi, “Fear Not” is an abstract elegy to those touched by cancer which is an aberrant process of cellular growth.
1. “National Center for Health Statistics.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4 Jan. 2018, www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/deaths.htm.
2. Hanahan D, Weinberg RA. “Hallmarks of cancer: the next generation.” Cell. 2011;144:646–674.