Author Topic: Scientists create artificial life.  (Read 4666 times)

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Offline Shim

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Re: Scientists create artificial life.
« Reply #25 on: May 25, 2010, 05:32:27 pm »
A few months ago, I went on this HUGE Tezuka run.  For those who don't know, Osamu Tezuka is essentially the father of what we now know TODAY as Manga.

One of the graphic novels I read, was called "Apollo's Song".  And its has this crazy story, about this certified insane person, and him going through electro-shock therapy and hypnosis at the same time, and the various dreams and scenarios that play out in his head.

I'm sure its incredibly far fetched, but one of the last ones, was a world, where most people are created artificially, perfect people, and any natural born humans are treated, essentially, as dogs.  There is a lot more to it, but it results in the main character seeing the queen, and explaining sexual reproduction to her, she becomes intrigued, and from there, I can't explain more without either being banned, or all of your brains exploding.

Basically, I'd wonder if it would result in a similar fashion as this book's scenario did, or really, the "GATTACA" scenario.

Offline RedneckFur

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Re: Scientists create artificial life.
« Reply #26 on: May 26, 2010, 10:04:54 pm »
Like splitting the atom, this technology can do good, but it can also do great evil.  Imagine super-bacteria designed for war?  Biological weapons are beyond scary already.

I'm not bothered by cloning, and using genetic research in medicine, but I'm frightened by artifical life.  Can we control it?  Jurrassic Park is just a story, but I think there is a valuable lesson to be learned here.  We could be very well engineering our own destruction.

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Offline J. March OHare

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Re: Scientists create artificial life.
« Reply #27 on: May 27, 2010, 12:29:51 am »
RedneckFur: "Jurrassic Park is just a story, but I think there is a valuable lesson to be learned here."

Jurassic Park didn't involve a wholly synthetic genome, though. They were harvesting dinosaur DNA from the digestive systems of blood-sucking insects trapped in amber and filling in the rest with amphibian DNA. Why amphibian? Because giving the dinosaurs the ability to change their sexes was a major plot point, that's why. Actually, we'd never use amphibian DNA for that project. We'd probably get it from birds. They're more closely related to dinosaurs than amphibians or reptiles are.

This new genome was entirely written by biologists using computers. It didn't come from anywhere. They made it up. However, it's not "creation of life" until they can synthesize all that other stuff that goes into a cell, too. Cytosol, the liquid inside a living cell, is ENORMOUSLY complex, and then there's the cell wall, organelles and so on. We haven't manufactured a complete cell yet. I don't suppose we will until we figure out how life originated in the first place.

"God did it" is not a sufficient answer. Maybe "He" (or She, or It) did, but how?

I should hasten to add that the organism those scientists wrote is a bacterium: a prokaryote. Eukaryotic cells, of which multicellular organisms including us are composed, are many times more complex. I don't doubt that we'll eventually do it, though. Sometimes I think we can do just about anything.