Dr. Know on the Lam

Hello, is anyone there? Hoo, I have no way of telling if my words will ever reach you, since I can only broadcast, not receive. I have cobbled this transmitter from things I have borrowed, begged for or stolen.

I broadcast at great risk to myself, since the authorities could be closing in on my signal right now. But my desire to share my story far outweighs my instinct to stay perfectly concealed.
When we last spoke — assuming you were paying attention to my weekly diatribe on the intricacies of multidimensional space, the ever-compounding perpendicular nature of the universe and the fragility of mammalian cortexes — I was on an emotional and medical precipice, poised to give the gift of speech to my beloved Edna through the gift of a human larynx, the origin of which I deliberately kept vague.

Well, it would seem as if there is no need for subtlety anymore as, before I could even apply scalpel to flesh, a gaggle of dark-clad men, shouting orders and brandishing firearms burst into my living-room, and demanded I drop “the weapon.”

“Organ harvesting!” Harrumph! Is it organ harvesting when a kindly grandmother plucks the giblets from the cavity of a Christmas goose? Not even in the slightest! So why is it considered organ harvesting when I, your superior in terms of intellect and evolutionary advancement, borrow a voice box from a corpse? Semantics! They will be the death of us all.

Needless to say, escaping the authorities proved to be of little trouble, and now sweet innocent Edna and myself, the misunderstood Dr. Know, are fugitives, unable to call any place home for more than a couple of nights, a week at best.

The speed of my escape necessitated that the larynx stay behind in my fridge, but it is of no consequence, because I have since learned that the secret to your human gift of speech lies not within your organs, but within your DNA.

You see, dear listener, something about this whole larynx scheme always bothered me. My dear Edna is unable to speak, yes, however she is not entirely incapable of making noise — it is just not the right sort of noises. My current predicament has gifted me with an abundance of time, and I have pondered this paradox. But it wasn’t until I found a scrap of newspaper, outlining some research surrounding the FOXP2 gene.

You see, some featherless simpletons seem to have stumbled — by accident no doubt — onto a handful of small mutations in the FOXP2 gene — shared by many mammals and birds on this planet, which apparently starts a cascade reaction, culminating in the development of a brain capable of forming and understanding human language.

A rudimentary examination of my own DNA demonstrated that my own genome contains the mutated form of the FOXP2, while Edna, bless her, was cursed with the common variety, and therefore unable to understand me, let alone share something as simple as a “hello.”

In order to correct this oversight, I am abandoning my study of the vastness of the universe in favour of the microscopic complexities associated with genes and genomes, for in their mysteries lie the only hope for my dear Edna.

Did you hear that? They’ve found us! EDNA, run! Don’t just stand there, we need to move, now!