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Playing God? ITT Elephants the size of daschunds. And raptors.

NintoNinto Registered User regular
edited January 2008 in Debate and/or Discourse
Think it's a long way off?

Think again.

NY Times
ROCKVILLE, MD—January 24, 2008—A team of 17 researchers at the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) has created the largest man-made DNA structure by synthesizing and assembling the 582,970 base pair genome of a bacterium, Mycoplasma genitalium JCVI-1.0. This work, published online today in the journal Science by Dan Gibson, Ph.D., et al, is the second of three key steps toward the team’s goal of creating a fully synthetic organism. In the next step, which is ongoing at the JCVI, the team will attempt to create a living bacterial cell based entirely on the synthetically made genome.

Essentially what they've done is re-created, base pair by base pair, an existing viable genome. Combine this with the final step, add the ability to mix and match base pair genomes, and what we have is an end-to-end process of custom-making lifeforms from scratch.

Personally I think this is amazing news. Yes it has the potential to be dangerous, but the applications are almost endless. Biofuel anyone?

As for D&D, I'm mostly posting this to hopefully fuel the inner creative scientist and geek in you all. What life form would you create if you could? Some kind of biofuel would be my #1, I think. I'm struggling to think of other valuable possibilities, here...

Ninto on
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Posts

  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    very small elephants

    like the size of basset hounds.

    a whole fucking herd of them.

    or maybe dogs with opposable thumbs.

  • DracomicronDracomicron Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    There's no reason to think this is going to go all Island of Dr. Moreau on us. Science is one of those fields where peer ethics really does make a difference. Now that this has been publicized, professional and armchair scientists alike will have folks working on these things under an electron microscope.

    This is a brilliant accomplishment, and I'm quite happy to have heard about it. I probably can't even imagine the problems they could tackle using these methods.

    If I had my druthers, I'd have them design velociraptors. Then set them free in Pakistan and Afghanistan, so people would be too busy hiding indoors to wage civil war or become terrorists.

    There's probably something wrong with that plan, but I can't think of it.

    Gary Gygax wrote:
    ''The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules.''
  • NintoNinto Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    There's no reason to think this is going to go all Island of Dr. Moreau on us. Science is one of those fields where peer ethics really does make a difference. Now that this has been publicized, professional and armchair scientists alike will have folks working on these things under an electron microscope.

    This is a brilliant accomplishment, and I'm quite happy to have heard about it. I probably can't even imagine the problems they could tackle using these methods.

    If I had my druthers, I'd have them design velociraptors. Then set them free in Pakistan and Afghanistan, so people would be too busy hiding indoors to wage civil war or become terrorists.

    There's probably something wrong with that plan, but I can't think of it.

    I think humans with guns have been pretty effective at wiping out animal species.

  • QuothQuoth the Raven Miami, FL FOR REALRegistered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I would like this to be used for the securing of my personal immortality. I am not joking. Lazarus Long ahoy!

    “Hic non defectus est, sed cattus minxit desuper nocte quadam. Confundatur pessimus cattus qui minxit super librum istum in nocte Daventrie, et consimiliter omnes alii propter illum. Et cavendum valde ne permittantur libri aperti per noctem ubi cattie venire possunt.”
    Site | The Miami Grindstone | Twitter | Dropbox
  • OctoparrotOctoparrot Registered User
    edited January 2008
    Soon I can complete my menagerie of terrifying legendary animals, without having to resort to a hacksaw.

    I always wanted to ride a giant Cockatrice.

    the GOP shouldn't give a rats ass about them since they won't vote for them. If someone won't vote for you they might as well not exist.
  • ZahaladeenZahaladeen Registered User
    edited January 2008
    Scientific and industrial applications will be yet to be determined on what kind of properties the organism has or can manifest. That being said, I'd be interested in seeing who funds JCVI and what their charter is.

    As for what I would create... an algae that converts carbon dioxyde into breathable oxygen at a prodigious rate or something that can turn saltwater into drinkable water. Genetic alchemy FTW.

    Barring that, I would create a race of semi-intelligent humanoids with basic motor skills but after I realized we still have rednecks, I didn't feel like reinventing the wheel.

  • Tom AtoTom Ato Registered User
    edited January 2008
    Well, I'd probably use this new discovery to become an immortal super human.

  • DracomicronDracomicron Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Ninto wrote: »

    I think humans with guns have been pretty effective at wiping out animal species.

    Muldoon from Jurassic Park would like to consult with you on that.
    Spoiler:
    Octoparrot wrote: »
    Soon I can complete my menagerie of terrifying legendary animals, without having to resort to a hacksaw.

    I always wanted to ride a giant Cockatrice.

    Wouldn't you have to Save vs. Petrification or turn to stone?

    Gary Gygax wrote:
    ''The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules.''
  • SithDrummerSithDrummer Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Ninto wrote: »
    There's no reason to think this is going to go all Island of Dr. Moreau on us. Science is one of those fields where peer ethics really does make a difference. Now that this has been publicized, professional and armchair scientists alike will have folks working on these things under an electron microscope.

    This is a brilliant accomplishment, and I'm quite happy to have heard about it. I probably can't even imagine the problems they could tackle using these methods.

    If I had my druthers, I'd have them design velociraptors. Then set them free in Pakistan and Afghanistan, so people would be too busy hiding indoors to wage civil war or become terrorists.

    There's probably something wrong with that plan, but I can't think of it.

    I think humans with guns have been pretty effective at wiping out animal species.
    Clearly we would need to create velociraptors with bulletproof skin. Impervelociraptors.

    It's an easy game to hate
  • ZahaladeenZahaladeen Registered User
    edited January 2008
    Tom Ato wrote: »
    Well, I'd probably use this new discovery to become an immortal super human.

    More Bioshock please, kkthx.

    "Oooooh, look here Mr. B, Adam!"

  • TachTach Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Self-mowing grass.

    Living action figures.

    Inter-active car personalities.

    Flashing neon ties.

    Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp.

    Midiclorians.

    The possibilities are endless.

    BNsig.jpg
  • VariableVariable Weed and Masturbation Stroke Me Lady FameRegistered User regular
    edited January 2008
    poisonous creatures designed to live in certain locations... be awesome for warfare.

    Steam Profile - Variable114 | WiiU - Variable | 3DS - 3866-8105-7478
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  • VariableVariable Weed and Masturbation Stroke Me Lady FameRegistered User regular
    edited January 2008
    double post.

    Steam Profile - Variable114 | WiiU - Variable | 3DS - 3866-8105-7478
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  • DanHibikiDanHibiki Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    You people have no imagination.

    Clearly this research needs to be used to create a subservient race of cat girls.

    sig_zpsf0994cbd.jpg
  • IShallRiseAgainIShallRiseAgain Registered User
    edited January 2008
    pfffft, you and your organic improvements. I want cybernetic technology. Why be super strong, when you can have rocket fists?

    Alador239.png
  • DracomicronDracomicron Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    DanHibiki wrote: »
    You people have no imagination.

    Clearly this research needs to be used to create a subservient race of cat girls.

    All-purpose, multi-cultural catgirls?

    Gary Gygax wrote:
    ''The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules.''
  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    This is awesome... I can finally become the raccoon/human hybrid that mario 3 made me want so, so much...

    Here's what I do...
    The Vac - My Science Fiction Epic
    Fortune Pancakes - My Gag-A-Day Comic
  • LykouraghLykouragh Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I think a nice carbon-fixing grass with very low water requirements, or a carbon fixing ocean-living algae to go with your biofuel would be a good idea.

  • ChurchChurch Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    The biggest shrimp ever.

    Like, huge shrimp.

    Mmm...

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • ElJeffeElJeffe Super Moderator, Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited January 2008
    We have way too many furries in this thread.

    What I want is a monkey with four asses.

    [While watching popcorn in the microwave]
    Maddie: "Look Riley, the bag's as big as your head now!"
    Riley: "Hahaha, yeah!"
    Maddie: "Look, now it's as big as your butt!"
    Riley: "Omigosh, it looks just like my butt!"
  • DanHibikiDanHibiki Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    DanHibiki wrote: »
    You people have no imagination.

    Clearly this research needs to be used to create a subservient race of cat girls.

    All-purpose, multi-cultural catgirls?

    you bet. And I shall be their tentacled god!

    BWA HA HA!!!

    sig_zpsf0994cbd.jpg
  • NintoNinto Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    We have way too many furries in this thread.

    What I want is a monkey with four asses.

    I should have seen this coming.

    However, what we do have is quite inspiring.

    My question for you is: What's the optimal place for the extra asses? I think a set on one foot would be fun - they could kick their own ass with ease.

  • jotatejotate Registered User
    edited January 2008
    Cylons...

    D:

    Spoiler:
  • TastyfishTastyfish Registered User regular
    edited January 2008

    If I had my druthers, I'd have them design velociraptors. Then set them free in Pakistan and Afghanistan, so people would be too busy hiding indoors to wage civil war or become terrorists.

    There's probably something wrong with that plan, but I can't think of it.

    Seriously, it might be this (don't look unless you want your childhood ruined...)
    Spoiler:
    Not the most fear-inspiring creatures are they, there's far better horrors in pre-history than Death Puffins.

  • shrykeshryke Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I prefer playing Doctor, but maybe that's just me.

  • FalloutFallout GIRL'S DAY EVERY DAYRegistered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I'm rooting for some Satan's Penguins.

    xcomsig.png
  • WulfWulf Disciple of Tzeentch The Void... (New Jersey)Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Velociraptors are 'cute' until the pack of them bites your shins off. I for one plan on wearing ski-boots!

    I for one want my custom grown replacement parts so I don't have to worry about things failing as I get older. Just pop in a new one!

    Everyone needs a little Chaos!
  • NintoNinto Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Are any of you concerned about the ethics behind this? Personally I think that for the most part, ethical concerns about genetic manipulation and biological engineering to be mostly fear-based and unfounded due to the practicalities involved. We're not there yet!
    The future of Selection: Scientists Craig Venter and Richard Dawkins in Munich (Die Zukunft der Selektion)

    Digital or biological? There was a moment during Munich's conference about the future at DLD ( Digital Life Design) this past Monday, that felt like the exchage of a baton. After a rather dull discussion about social platforms on the internet a burly man entered the stage, introduced himself as John Brockman and proclaimed that the topic of the hour would now be biology.

    John Brockman was not just another moderator. In the late summer of 2007 he hosted the now legendary symposium 'Life: What a Concept!' at his farm in Connceticut. This was where six pioneers of science had jointly proclaimed a new era: After the decyphering of the human genome soon whole genomes sequences could be written. That would be the beginning of the age of biology.

    Synthetic Genes

    Brockman brought Craig Venter with him to the conference in Munich—the key participant in the earlier meeting. An American entrepreneur, molecular biologist, and the first person to decode the genome, he personifies the future of biotechnology. Not only that, in recent years Venter has more than doubled the number of genes in the public databases, and right before the meeting in Connecticut, he applied for a patent on the first-ever artificial life form—his Mycoplasma laboratorium, after a self-propagated cell division, will be the first life form to carry a synthetic chromosome. And according to Venter, this will likely be before the end of 2008.

    Brockman’s second guest was enthusiastic about these prospects. British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, known primarily for his books The Selfish Gene and The God Delusion, evoked how seamlessly an eventual "synthetic biology" could fit into Darwin’s theory of evolution. For Dawkins, new microbes resulting from human reproduction and microbes fabricated in the lab are equally products of Nature’s big experiment—irreversible, yes, but also unstoppable. Since man is at the mercy of the forces of evolution, there is no reason for him to shrink from conducting genetic experiments.

    Craig Venter, who takes obvious pleasure in his Institute’s rapid advancements, assumed a more cautious stance. Fully aware of Europe’s reservations towards genetic engineering, he stressed in particular the urgent need for forced intervention in Nature’s architecture: the disturbance by humans to the environment is leading to a state of such irreparable damage that the only possible way out of a catastrophe is to push forward. He hopes one day to create a synthetic gene out of his manipulated chromosomes, which for example could reduce our emission of carbon dioxide by converting light into hydrogen.

    Venter made a good case for his work, denounced the restrictive legislation in genetics that many nations have put in place, and described in detail the future selection process, which at the very least would be less chaotic than before. In his introduction as moderator, Brockman postulated in jest that thanks to Venter’s research, before long any pet cat could be transformed into a dog—Venter however distanced himself greatly from any manipulation of animals and spoke only of intervention in molecular biology.

    Understandably, he won’t allow any allusion to his playing a God-like role. Given the countless uninterrupted transitionss in life forms, the very concept of a Creator can only be a myth. Laughing, he bowed down to Dawkins anti-religious polemic The God Delusion: where there is no God, one also cannot play God.

  • TastyfishTastyfish Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    To be honest, this isn't really anything new is it? Seems to be more along the lines of a "Hey! Look at our monument to science...now about that money" than the next big step, there isn't a lot you can do without being able to design proteins from scratch for a specific purpose. Can't really see how this is going to help with that, its basically the same as copying a cave drawing onto paper and expecting to work out how to make it.

    Once you've got everything else sorted and can actually design an organism from scratch then I suppose being able to make a basic starter kit that can turn into whatever you program it to be is going to be worthwhile, but even then I don't think that building a bacteria bit by bit is going to be quicker and easier than modifying an existing one unless you start messing about trying to get a starter kit that can replicate itself. But in that case, again you might as well go with something that currently exists or you might not want any replication at all (in order to keep control over what you've made for ecological or economic reasons)

  • Rhan9Rhan9 Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    pfffft, you and your organic improvements. I want cybernetic technology. Why be super strong, when you can have rocket fists?

    Why not both? Genetic engineering, and cybernetic enhancements would trump everything, unless you're thinking full cyborgization, which would be great as well...

    Anyhow, I fully support any serious advancements in science. Luddites and fear-mongers be damned, FOR SCIENCE!

    steam_sig.png
  • One Thousand DicksOne Thousand Dicks :D! Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I must say, Death Puffins are plenty terrifying.

  • AdrienAdrien Registered User
    edited January 2008
    Quoth wrote: »
    I would like this to be used for the securing of my personal immortality. I am not joking. Lazarus Long ahoy!

    So, space travel, or mandatory sterility?

    tmkm.jpg
  • NintoNinto Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Tastyfish wrote: »
    To be honest, this isn't really anything new is it? Seems to be more along the lines of a "Hey! Look at our monument to science...now about that money" than the next big step, there isn't a lot you can do without being able to design proteins from scratch for a specific purpose. Can't really see how this is going to help with that, its basically the same as copying a cave drawing onto paper and expecting to work out how to make it.

    Once you've got everything else sorted and can actually design an organism from scratch then I suppose being able to make a basic starter kit that can turn into whatever you program it to be is going to be worthwhile, but even then I don't think that building a bacteria bit by bit is going to be quicker and easier than modifying an existing one unless you start messing about trying to get a starter kit that can replicate itself. But in that case, again you might as well go with something that currently exists or you might not want any replication at all (in order to keep control over what you've made for ecological or economic reasons)

    Yeah this progress has been compared to silicon chip design, where a step is made to improve the process considerably rather than redesign things from the ground up. I guess the point that's being made is that because it's a synthetic process from the ground up (except for the actual design part) it makes it much much easier to mix and match gene sets from different organisms. They are information sets, with a synthetic generation process, allowing for copy/paste operations on genetic code sets, or possibly even individual genes.

    This is a production efficiency revolution.

  • Aroused BullAroused Bull Registered User
    edited January 2008
    Wulf wrote: »
    Velociraptors are 'cute' until the pack of them bites your shins off. I for one plan on wearing ski-boots!

    There's no evidence they hunted in packs, either. Popular culture has lied to us.

  • TastyfishTastyfish Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Ninto wrote: »
    Tastyfish wrote: »
    To be honest, this isn't really anything new is it? Seems to be more along the lines of a "Hey! Look at our monument to science...now about that money" than the next big step, there isn't a lot you can do without being able to design proteins from scratch for a specific purpose. Can't really see how this is going to help with that, its basically the same as copying a cave drawing onto paper and expecting to work out how to make it.

    Once you've got everything else sorted and can actually design an organism from scratch then I suppose being able to make a basic starter kit that can turn into whatever you program it to be is going to be worthwhile, but even then I don't think that building a bacteria bit by bit is going to be quicker and easier than modifying an existing one unless you start messing about trying to get a starter kit that can replicate itself. But in that case, again you might as well go with something that currently exists or you might not want any replication at all (in order to keep control over what you've made for ecological or economic reasons)

    Yeah this progress has been compared to silicon chip design, where a step is made to improve the process considerably rather than redesign things from the ground up. I guess the point that's being made is that because it's a synthetic process from the ground up (except for the actual design part) it makes it much much easier to mix and match gene sets from different organisms. They are information sets, with a synthetic generation process, allowing for copy/paste operations on genetic code sets, or possibly even individual genes.

    This is a production efficiency revolution.

    We mix and match genes a lot on the smaller scale when modifing organisms, its really not that hard (even in humans, the tricky part comes in where to put the gene, the reason we've not seen a gene therapy revolution is because the original gene chosen was too close to something that caused cancer if you overwrote part of it.) In bacteria and suchlike you just don't care where they end up since you can just select for the one or two out of millions that have your mutation where you want it.

    Is it really that much easier for them to translate genes into the basic form that into something that can be transferred across kingdoms - again its not like putting human genes into bacteria, or bacterial genes into eukaryotes is anything new nor fundamentally different from translating them into a basic language. It all happens at the theorectical stage rather than involving a difficult practical process.

    Suppose its paving the way for something truly exotic, thought again you need protein design from scratch to really make use of it, where part of the design brief is something that can not interact with any existing organisms replication systems (i.e nanotech as designer viruses without the risk of information from them spreading to pathogens etc)

    It's still cool, but too soon for any major change to come from it.

  • MagicPrimeMagicPrime "We're ready to believe you..." FireSideWizardRegistered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I wonder if this means there will be Blade Runner positions opening soon?

    need to get my coat from the cleaners.

    55uviDS.png
    This neo-feudalism would be more tolerable if our betters had fancy titles.
  • Satan.Satan. __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2008
    God doesn't have shit on me.

  • LondonBridgeLondonBridge __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2008
    Heh, for a second I thought this was a gaming thread.

  • NarianNarian Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I'd want an army of Half-Man, Half-Bearpigs.

    Narian.gif
  • No-QuarterNo-Quarter Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    X-Men! The reality! Coming sooooon! I call dibbs on charging ordinary everyday objects with kinetic energy! Now where are my playing cards....

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