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The idea that human beings have more than one genome is head-spinning news, totally unexpected, as incongruous as seeing a skier swooshing through snow in a bathing suit.

The single genome was taken for granted. But believe or not, scientists say, it may be an idea whose time is done.

What’s more, our brains may have their own genomes, distinct from genomes for other organs.

It gets even weirder still because individuals, it turns out, are able to exchange genomes that migrate.

It’s all pretty mind blowing, and if 2013 was the year of the mosaic brain, as it’s known–and if it’s as important as the nation’s top psychiatrist believes it just might be–then these hidden genomes could herald a new era for brain research.

In a paper that dubs the second genome “the dark matter of psychiatric genetics,” Thomas Insel, the head of the National Institute of Mental Health, suggests the mosaic brain may open unexplored vistas.

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