Post-Apocalypse Skill Number 1: Gene Splicing
I just learned that if you drink four cups of coffee a day, you will minimize your chances of getting prostrate cancer. I drink more coffee and cross that off the list of things to worry about.
What remains on my list is how to begin the Ladies Abridged Guide to Surviving the Apocalypse. What’s the heirarchy of post-apocalypse needs? So should it be water, shelter, food, medical care, in that order? What about delivering babies? Or should it be water, fire, earth, wind? Do we need to review the constellations? Would bug identification be useful?
Let’s start with water.
Raise your hand if you don’t know where to find a lake or a stream within walking distance of your house. If you raised your hand, you should probably either move or look at a map. Once you find water, you'll need to purify it. One way would be to claim this free Ferric Chloride from Craig's List. I'm a little chicken to do that myself, being that it's in the crawl space and all, but it would purify lots of water.
Now that we've got water solved, let's move on to gene splicing. This something you’ll have more time for after the apocalypse. I’ve never done it, but here’s the basic recipe, from Bunch of Amateurs: A Search for the American Character.
- Grind up something that was once alive. In the book, they use dried peas, which I think you should probably put in your pantry, but save your dried peas for eating. Just get a leaf or something. You’ll have to use a rock to grind with, unless you already have a mortar and pestle. Rocks are pretty easy to find, so I won't go into that here.
- Put the ground up stuff into salt water. This is easily made by adding water to salt. Wait, you did find water already, true? Should we revisit that step? If you’re near the ocean, you could just use sea water to make it easy.
- Shake this mixture up. Add a little dish detergent to break up the fatty parts in the cell wall.
- Add meat tenderizer. (You should probably buy a bunch of this now, because post-apocalyptic meat is not particulary tender. Or so I’m told.) Meat tenderizers contain enzymes that specialize in breaking down peptide bonds, which is what you want. You know you do. As a side note, meat tenderizer can be used as an anti-inflammatory too. If you get hit by a falling object when it all goes down, slather some of this stuff on the wound. If your meat tenderizer contains bromelain, you can also use it to cure cancer, parasites, digestion, and arthritis. There is really no downside to stocking up.
- Let sit for a while, maybe overnight.
- Put this all in a salad spinner to get rid of the liquid.
- Add rubbing alcohol to the remaining substance. Strings will begin to form; this is the DNA.
- Now you can begin inserting this DNA into other life forms. Be very careful. This isn't in the book, and as I say, I haven't done this yet, but I'd suggest that you wear eye protection and a helmet. Possibly knee pads too, if you have them.