I’m the Real Cosima

Hi, I’m Cosima Herter.  I’m a science writer and consultant for Orphan Black. Welcome to my new blog!

I plan to use this space to expand on the deeper issues and themes of Orphan Black as new episodes air. I’m broadly interested in the ethics, philosophy, and history of biology, especially cloning, evolutionary theory, and genetic engineering.

Do you have questions about the science behind Orphan Black? I’m happy to answer them. Leave me a comment, or hit me up on Twitter here: @realcosima.


12 thoughts on “I’m the Real Cosima”

  1. All the clones on the show are completely different in personality and disposition. I’d love to hear more about this nature vs. nurture dichotomy as it relates to the show and to clones in general.

  2. Looking forward reading about this…. science is like standing on the tip of an iceberg… 1% into the visible realm but from there it gives you amazing insights and small bites into this incredible 99% that’s in another dimention entirely 🙂 welcome to the trip man!

  3. Hmmm, you’re gonna have to dumb it down for me as we are so not on the same intellectual plane. I do look forward to your comments.

  4. Really glad you are willing to take time to answer viewers questions!
    I actually have a question: since you are a science consultant for the show i’d like to known if you were actually working/thinking especially about the development beyond the science. I mean there is the whole DNA part on the show but it also shows us these completely different women and at keat to me makes me think about how much of us is actually our biology and how much society codifies our self.

  5. Could you discuss the looking identical vs. genetically identical. I had thought that the cat clone was genetically identical but had a different coat pattern. Can we expect people to look different while they would be genetically identical? Thanks!

  6. Considering that the clones we see in Orphan Black are 30 years old are we to believe this was the end of the experiment. In the subsequent 30 years the whole purpose of Dyad is to only monitor those clones… not likely.
    What changes scientifically/technology wise have occurred in the real world that could make cloning humans viable?

  7. woah woah woah first of all, THE SCIENTIFIC ACCURACY IN THE SHOW GIVES ME SHIVERS, and I’m thinking that’s probably thanks to you *tips hat* m’lady.
    Secondly, in ah..Episode 10 of the last season, Cosima mentioned that Dr Craig Venter watermarked his synthetic DNA, and being a undergrad biochem student I actually briefly saw his name in one of my lectures :D.
    So since there wasn’t much detail in my lecture notes, i did some googling which isn’t always accurate, what I’m wondering is, the watermarked synthetic DNA that uh Ms. Niehaus was talking about, is that the DNA Venter was sequencing against the Human Genome Project? And was it really for commercial exploitation?

  8. Okay I do have a question on the science behind Orphan Black… I absolutely agree that Cosima’s sexuality it’s not the most interesting thing about her, to me her brain most definitely is 🙂 , but me being also gay, I can help but have a certain curiosity on how much is actually known and proven about how much sexuality would be something genetic versus something more “variable” and related to the enviroment. I personally think, but mostly “feel”, that for me the first apply… could you give me a scientific insight on that?
    I have my own theory on why Cosima is gay despite they are all clones and none of the others seams to be gay… I guess there must have been slight variations at one stage or the other of the fetus formation… like you know they say even the sex of the fetus is not determined straight away… so I guess the same way something in the xy chromosomes combination can be altered during pregnancy even with clones and so they can differ from one another in a few innate things…
    Could you give me feedback on this?

  9. Hey there!

    I’ve just recently come across the orphan black site and I’ve been reading some of the articles you’ve put up and theyre really great, exactly what I’m looking to understand and really well written (I’ve found that some people can make the topics incredibly dense). So it’s great that you have your own spot to post now.
    I’m very interested in that you study/ied both biology and philosophy. I’ve been studying a lot of physics (theoretical a lot about the universe, the big bang, the higgs) and biology (evolutionary) in my own time the last year but what I did for my undergrad was both history and philosophy.
    I’m not sure if you came to similar conclusions as myself but I’ve very much found myself coming to a standstill. Not a standstill per se but certainly a fixed point that philosophy could only bring me so far and then I discovered that biology and physics have begun answering the questions that were being asked of the time. For example Democritus rationalising the atom in 400 BC (I find that almost impossible to fathom) to it’s actual discovery. People theorising the Higgs and then actually uncovering it. It’s remarkable and I find it nearly impossible to get my head around.
    Did you find that yourself, that you began with philosophy and it drew you into the biological side of life? And do you have any articles or anything that you could recommend or pass on? I’d really appreciate it. Or any thoughts you have or whatever (I’m motorcyclemaintenanacezen@gmail.com).
    I’ve very much fallen down the rabbit hole and I’m just hunting for articles, books(be it biology,philosophy, physics) so I can piece it all together.
    Anyway best of luck!

  10. Hi! Sorry in advance if this is a dumb question; but, I understand basically nothing about genetics and cloning. Given that Katjia and Cosima are the only clones to have the respiratory illnesses up to S2:E2, is it safe to assume the cause of the illness is some sort of environmental factor?

  11. Sorry Cosima, I am not even giving you the time to answer my first question and here I come with my next one… so, over 10 years ago… more like around 15 years ago, I read this article on a science magazine which stated that scientists were finding a way for two women to have a child without any need of sperm from a man.. just a woman’s DNA inplanted into the other woman’s egg… it stated that this procedure would only generate female children. (as if I would mind 😉 …Now, I am absolutely sure than more than 10 years later, it is now a reality and no more a mare possibility. I would abslolutely love to see that happening in Orphan Black, considering our “Team Science Mega Force” #cophine certainly doesn’t lack the means. And it would be so good for so many gay women to see. Could you elaborate on the actual science involved in this?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *