The Science in Twilight

external image twilight_book_cover.jpg

Book: TwilightAuthor: Stephanie MeyerPublisher: Little, Brown and CompanyDate: October 5,2005

Isabella "Bella" Swan moves from sunny Phoenix, Arizona to rainy Forks, Washington to live with her father, Charlie, while her mother, Renee, travels with her new husband, Phil Dwyer, a minor league baseball player. Bella attracts much attention at her new school and is quickly befriended by several students. Much to her dismay, several boys compete for shy Bella's attention.
When Bella is seated next to Edward Cullen in class on her first day of school, Edward seems utterly repulsed by her. He disappears for a few days, but warms up to Bella upon his return; their newfound relationship reaches a climax when Bella is nearly run over by a fellow classmate's van in the school parking lot. Edward saves her life when he instantaneously appears next to her and stops the van with his bare hands.
Bella becomes determined to find out how Edward saved her life, and constantly pesters him with questions. After a family friend, Jacob Black, tells her the local tribal legends, Bella figures out that Edward and his family are vampires who drink animal blood rather than human. Edward confesses that he firstly avoided Bella because the scent of her blood was too desirable to him. Over time, Edward and Bella fall in love.
Their relationship is disturbed when another vampire coven arrives in Forks. James, a tracker vampire who is intrigued by the Cullens' relationship with a human, wants to hunt Bella for sport. The Cullens attempt to distract the tracker by splitting up Bella and Edward, and Bella is sent to hide in a hotel in Phoenix. There, Bella receives a phone call from James, who claims to be holding her mother captive. Bella, being someone who really loves her mother, believes it, and when she gets to the place she's "held captive" she finds a video tape of herself when she was younger with her mother, in a video player playing the sounds that was supposedly her 'mother', over the phone, she then realizes it was a set up. James attacks her. Before she is killed, Edward, along with the other Cullens, rescues her and defeats James. Once they realize that James has bitten Bella's hand, Edward successfully sucks the poison from her bloodstream and prevents her from becoming a vampire, after which she is taken to a hospital. Upon returning to Forks, Bella and Edward attend their school prom and Bella expresses her desire to become a vampire, but Edward refuses.

The Science:
Vampire venom is not merely an organic chemical substance, it is actually a fluid-based lifeform. It also behaves like a virus or, more specifically, a retrovirus. It will attach itself to a host cell, sometimes shrinking to the size of a virus or most likely dividing itself into many virus sized molecular structures and attaching themselves to the host cell's membrane. The venom-virus then infects the host cell, making a DNA copy of the genome for use in making RNA. This RNA could be used as a template for making more viral genomes and as mRNA to produce viral proteins, which is known as reverse transcription. Venom cells grown in size and seem to attack white blood cells first. The host body triggers an autoimmune response to the infection, causing the release of white blood cells. Once the bloodstream of the subject has been flooded with white blood cells, the infected cells send out a signal to the other infected cells that are not producing the virus-like cells which in turn grow in size, causing swelling in tissues and extreme pain. In most cases, this results in convulsions and agonizing screams from victims. This most likely stems from disrupted neural pathways where the immense size of these predatory seeker cells turn on the host's white blood cells and devoures them.

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