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bob
6th October 07, 02:18 AM
Scientist claims to have created artificial life


Saturday Oct 6 16:00 AEST

A controversial scientist claims to have created a new form of artificial life by building a synthetic chromosome out of laboratory chemicals.

In a move certain to provoke fierce ethical debate, DNA researcher Craig Venter is expected to announce that his team of scientists has successfully implanted the artificial chromosome into a bacterial cell, The Guardian reported.

The US-based scientists have "stitched" together 381 genes, based on the DNA sequence of the bacterium Mycoplasma genitalium, a parasitic organism which can cause urinary tract infections.

The bacterium's already-small genome has been stripped back in the construction of the artificial chromosome, leaving only the material essential to support life.

Once the reconstructed chromosome is transplanted into its bacteria host, it will take control of the bacteria and become, essentially, a new form of life.

But the new life form, named the Mycoplasma laboratorium, will still depend on its host's existing properties to replicate itself and metabolise.

Mr Venter told The Guardian that he believed the project was "a very important philosophical step in the history of our species".

"We are going from reading our genetic code to the ability to write it. That gives us the hypothetical ability to do things never contemplated before," he said.
He said he had carried out an ethical review before embarking on the project, and talked up possible designer genome advances, including carbon-dioxide eating bacteria to combat global warming.

"We feel that this is good science," he said.

http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=303151

Bio of Craig Venter (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craig_Venter) (real life inspiration for Jurassic Park?)

Teh El Macho
6th October 07, 09:02 AM
Can he create a keggelistic nympho hooker with taylor-made boob and ass proportions???

WarPhalange
6th October 07, 12:22 PM
Oh yeah, one step closer to being able to have "mutant power" implants. Awesome.

TM
6th October 07, 12:53 PM
Can they do three breasts and a trick pelvis?

king of seals
6th October 07, 02:04 PM
Such an experiment could - will - have interesting applications in the field of genetics since we could directly work on chromosomes as opposed to always rely on plasmids, phages or cosmids.

But the "artifical life" claim is too gross. To be deemed "artificial life" it should be completely built from scratch.

kwoww
6th October 07, 02:06 PM
Very cool stuff, might be the next step in gene therapy.

Just have to be careful that the power doesn't get abused.

edit: yeah it's not artificial life, it's an artificial genome. similar, but "artificial life" would entail an complete, self-reproducing cell assembled from non-living substances.

WarPhalange
6th October 07, 02:48 PM
A zombie?

John_Dillinger
6th October 07, 03:00 PM
It sounds more like... Las Plagas! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Las_Plagas)

Cullion
6th October 07, 03:05 PM
Oh yeah, one step closer to being able to have "mutant power" implants. Awesome.

I'm pretty sure that the major powers like the US and China already have or are close to the ability to genetically engineer humans for stuff like improved atheletic attributes, higher pain threshold, improved night-time vision etc..

A lot of the genes for this stuff were discovered over a decade ago in mice. One day, the sci-fi idea of the engineered 'super soldier' will happen, if it hasn't already happened on the quiet. The results of such experiments could be reaching school age right now somewhere in China, Russia or the US.

Example: This mouse is buff and cut without needing to work out
http://www.futurepundit.com/archives/003886.html


The researchers report that the enzyme called AMP-activated protein kinase (or AMPK) is directly involved in optimizing muscle activity. The team bred a mouse that genetically expressed AMPK in an activated state. Like a trained athlete, this mouse enjoyed increased capacity to exercise, manifested by its ability to run three times longer than a normal mouse before exhaustion. One particularly striking feature of the finding was the accumulation of muscle glycogen, the stored form of carbohydrates, a condition that many athletes seek by "carbo-loading" before an event or game. The study appears in the Nov. 14 online issue of the American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism.

NoMan
6th October 07, 04:05 PM
I'd imagine if they were doing research, the most common search for a "super-soldier" would be for genes that make a person resistant to disease. The Civil Wars, World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, etc., had a high soldier casualty rate from disease. If you want to make money, figure out what genes those are and patent them. Myriad Genetics patented two human gene mutations that increase susceptibility to breast cancer. If you screen for those genes, you got to pay them money. So the hooker w/ breasts/butt proportions gene that's attracted to you special is just a patent waiting to be made.

WarPhalange
6th October 07, 04:13 PM
I'm pretty sure that the major powers like the US and China already have or are close to the ability to genetically engineer humans for stuff like improved atheletic attributes, higher pain threshold, improved night-time vision etc..

Laser vision?

Cullion
6th October 07, 04:24 PM
Laser vision?

Sadly, no.

I was being serious in that post though. I really do believe that it's now possible to engineer humans for better than average stamina, pain-threshold etc..

I also think that once the price of this technology comes down to the level where small tyrannies can afford it (and it will), then we will see it happen publicly. I reckon in our lifetime. Like I said, not 'super powers' as such, just deliberately engineered people for use as more efficient troops.

I also agree that disease resistance will be at least important as a first find than cinematic atheletic abilities. That would also be one of the easiest things to justify morally to the general population without needing to maintain some kind of secret programme.

WarPhalange
6th October 07, 04:25 PM
Sadly, no.

I was being serious in that post though.

So was I... :(

Cullion
6th October 07, 04:31 PM
Here's an example of a major power trying for this (and failing tragically) decades and decades ago.

Stalin seriously tried to produce ape-human hybrids ack in the 1920s using a scientist who had made his name as a race-horse breeder for the Tsar.

A quote from Uncle Joe:

"I want a new invincible human being, insensitive to pain, resistant and indifferent about the quality of food they eat."

Fucking 1920s Ape-Human hybridisation research dude. I shit you not.

http://news.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=2434192005

Cullion
6th October 07, 04:34 PM
I can't be long before certain sorts of disease resistance get engineered into the general population with the total consent of the parents who will probably be happy to pay for it themselves.

bob
6th October 07, 04:40 PM
"I want a new human being, indifferent about the quality of food they eat."



Hadn't he heard about the British?

Cullion
6th October 07, 04:43 PM
Hadn't he heard about the British?

Why do you think the USSR tried so hard to bring us onside in the 50's and 60's ?

bob
6th October 07, 04:45 PM
So all those KGB spy rings in the British Secret Service were basically just checking out how the public service cafeterias operated?

Cullion
6th October 07, 05:42 PM
No, the KGB already knew how bleak and bad it was, and that's why they spotted us as a willing mark.

NoMan
6th October 07, 10:28 PM
I was being serious in that post though. I really do believe that it's now possible to engineer humans for better than average stamina, pain-threshold etc..

It is almost here, not completely. The problem is the methods of using retro-viruses to upload the DNA code can cause allergic reactions and kill the person getting it. Once they get around that problem, I think it will be more common. Moral arguments will go on. Is it fair that someone just happened to be born with superior genes, or is it fair that someone can get those genes from a doctor? Some people will be mad because you'll see an even larger gap between haves and have-nots, with the haves getting access to genes for higher intelligence, strength, looks, etc. Then you'll have arguments for uber-men and people who see themselves as elites. (There's a religion based upon this called Transhumanism).

Any gene coding that could fix hereditary diseases would gain a lot of popularity soon, as well as resistances to diseases.

Of course, it could just become as common as breast implants and not even be noticed by society at large. There were demonstrations against electricity, umbrellas, and forks when they first came out, it's once a technology demonstrates its value that people start to accept it.

WarPhalange
6th October 07, 10:39 PM
Question: I want to abort an artificial fetus. Good or bad?



Of course, it could just become as common as breast implants and not even be noticed by society at large. There were demonstrations against electricity, umbrellas, and forks when they first came out, it's once a technology demonstrates its value that people start to accept it.

Actually, it wasn't so much against umbrellas as it was using them as chairs and dinner rolls.

Cullion
7th October 07, 09:04 AM
Question: I want to abort an artificial fetus. Good or bad?

What do you mean by artificial and how old is it ?

Mister X
7th October 07, 09:48 AM
Bah you all can keep your genetic enhancements, Im gonna wait it out until I can become a cyborg ala Ghost in the Shell.

WarPhalange
7th October 07, 11:05 AM
What do you mean by artificial and how old is it ?

Aritificial in that the mother and fetus were both made in a test tube.

Don't know how old. Let's say 10 months.

Cullion
7th October 07, 11:09 AM
Aritificial in that the mother and fetus were both made in a test tube.

Don't know how old. Let's say 10 months.

No, because if we're talking about a human foetus at 10 months old it's been born. Post birth abortion is undoubtedly child murder.

WarPhalange
7th October 07, 11:45 AM
11 months?

Cullion
7th October 07, 12:12 PM
Stop it.

Commodore Pipes
11th October 07, 05:47 PM
11 months?

You wacky Poles.


Myriad Genetics patented two human gene mutations that increase susceptibility to breast cancer. If you screen for those genes, you got to pay them money.

If this is accurate, no me gusta.

Cullion
11th October 07, 06:49 PM
Did they patent the genes, or a process for testing for those genes?