In 1965, while I was a student of Human Anatomy at Kurnool Medical College, I had the opportunity to know about Dr. J. C. B. Grant (1886-1973), the author of Grant’s Atlas of Anatomy. The 5th Edition of his Atlas was published in 1962 and was available in India in our Medical College Library.
Born in Loanhead (south of Edinburgh) in 1886, Grant studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh Medical School and graduated with an M.B., Ch.B. degree in 1908. While at Edinburgh, he worked under the renowned anatomist Daniel John Cunningham. Grant became a decorated serviceman of the Royal Army Medical Corps during the First World War before moving to Canada. He established himself as an ‘anatomist extraordinary’ at the University of Toronto, publishing three textbooks that form the basis of Grant’s Anatomy. The textbooks are still used in anatomy classes today, and made unforgettable memories for those who found themselves in his classes nearly a century ago. One of Grant’s many accomplishments was establishing a division of histology within the department.
As a medical student, I used Grant’s Atlas of Anatomy, the seminal work of Scottish-born Dr. John Charles Boileau Grant, who would become the chair of Anatomy at the University of Toronto in 1930 and retired in 1965.
Students continue to use Grant’s textbooks today, and for the more artistic anatomist there’s even a Grant’s Anatomy Coloring Book, published in 2018.
At the University of Toronto, Dr.McMurrich, Chair of Anatomy was succeeded as chairman in 1930 by Dr. John Charles Boileau Grant. Dr. Grant wrote three text books, of which “An Atlas of Anatomy” (published in 1943) rapidly gained international prominence and is still, one of the most widely used anatomical atlases in the world. It is now known as “Grant’s Atlas of Anatomy” and is in its tenth edition. The atlas was based on a series of elegant dissections done either by Grant or by others under his supervision. Many of these dissections are currently housed in Grant’s Museum at the University of Toronto.
The Rudi-Grant Connection is about knowing the man, the building blocks and the structural units and organization of the human body. To defend the human existence, the Rudi-Grant Connection lays the emphasis on knowing the person who is at risk apart from knowing the agent posing the risk.
THE IDENTITY OF MULTICELLULAR HUMAN ORGANISM:
Daniel John Cunningham was born on 15 April 1850 in Scotland. After his initial schooling at his home town, Crieff, he took up the study of medicine at the University of Edinburgh and passed with honours. He is best known for the excellent series of dissection manuals, namely Cunningham’s Dissection Manuals. Cunningham’s Manual of Practical Anatomy has provided me the learning tools to know and understand Man’s External and Internal Reality and its Identity as described by Cells, Tissues, Organs,and Organ Systems.
I learned the truths about the living human body and about Life while dissecting the dead human bodies in a systematic manner. The Manual of Practical Anatomy which guides us through this entire process was published in England. The author Dr. Daniel John Cunningham prepared the Manual while dissecting cadavers of British or Irish citizens. He had never encountered cadavers of Indian citizens. At Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India, where I was a student, the Department of Anatomy obtains dead bodies from Government General Hospital Kurnool and most of the deceased are the poor, illiterate, and uneducated people of that region. None of the deceased had the chance to know this man called Cunningham and Cunningham had no knowledge about the existence of these people who arrive on our dissection tables. But, as the dissection of the human body proceeds, inch, by inch, we recognize the anatomical parts as described by Cunningham. The manual also lists some anatomical variations and we very often exchange information between various dissection tables and recognize the variations mentioned. The dissections also involve slicing the organs and studying them, both macroscopically, and microscopically. We did not miss any part of the human body.
A colony of genetically identical E. coli bacteria is actually a mob of individuals.
Dr. Michael Elowitz, Physicist at California Institute of Technology has conducted experiments on colonies of genetically identical (clones) E. coli bacteria under identical conditions and discovered that they behave in different ways.
The key to understanding E. coli’s fingerprints is to recognize that the bacteria are not simple machines. Unlike wires and transistors, E. coli’s molecules are floppy, twitchy and unpredictable. In an electronic device, like a computer or a radio, electrons stream in a steady flow through the machine’s circuits, but the molecules in E. coli jostle and wander. When E. coli begins using a gene to make a protein, it does not produce a smoothly increasing supply. It spurts out the proteins in fits and starts. One clone may produce half a dozen copies of a protein in an hour, while a clone right next to it produces none.
Michael Elowitz, a physicist at Caltech, put these bursts on display in an elegant experiment. He and his colleagues incited E. coli to produce its proteins for feeding on lactose. Dr. Elowitz and his colleagues added extra genes to the bacteria so that when they made lactose-digesting proteins, they also released light.
The bacteria, Dr. Elowitz found, did not produce a uniform glow. They flickered, sometimes brightly, sometimes dimly. And when Dr. Elowitz took a snapshot of the colony, it was not a uniform sea of light. Some microbes were dark at that moment while others shone at full strength.
At the very least, E. coli’s individuality should be a warning to those who would put human nature down to any sort of simple genetic determinism. Living things are more than just programs run by genetic software. Even in minuscule microbes, the same genes and the same genetic network can lead to different fates.
The bacteria have fingerprints of their own and even when they share the same genome, they could still be identified as individuals.
The Law of Individuality:
I propose the Law of Individuality which governs all the living entities. Either with the same and identical genome or with different genomes, all living organisms have no choice other than that of living as ‘Individuals’. The genes and the genetic codes function in accordance with the Law of Individuality. While the genetic structural organization is the same, there is functional variability due to factors over which the organism has no control. I describe Individuality as a Trade Mark. It is the characteristic of a biological entity. Genes and the genetic codes are the tools that an organism uses to express its Individuality. Each organism assembles its own kind of protein molecules to define its identity and to defend its existence in the natural world. The concept of Biological Individual and Individuality has to be always defined in the context of the Individual’s relationship with its own Body, Social Group, Society, Time, and the Environment in which the Individual finds the reality of its own Existence.
Man is constituted as a Biotic Community of socially interacting cells and microbes
Biology must use the concept of Soul/Spirit to identify each man as a Specific Individual with Individuality. Human Identity and Individuality always involves the biological community, the time, the place, and the environment which are constantly interacting to provide the basis for the human existence.