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UstadKhanAli

Wired article on altering DNA

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Interesting article in Wired Magazine about the altering of DNA (which they point out is not exactly a new thing, but considerably more sophisticated than before). I usually don't post stuff until I've read the whole article (hammered with work), but this seemed really interesting, and I figured I'd share.

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Something to keep in mind (blissfully and entertainingly ignored by sci-fi stories) is that a lot of what makes us what we are is DNA that only activates during ontology -- when we're developing, turning specific genes on and off at the right time, so that we end up having two arms and two legs of such and such a length, etc. Changing the DNA of adults won't turn us in to man-tigers or whatever.

 

I look forward to reading the article; thanks for sharing!

 

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Interesting article in Wired Magazine about the altering of DNA (which they point out is not exactly a new thing' date=' but considerably more sophisticated than before). I usually don't post stuff until I've read the whole article (hammered with work), but this seemed really interesting, and I figured I'd share.[/size']

 

Yeah, that is pretty incredible stuff. It's a long and convoluted slog 'tho from scientific ideas and capacities to how things get actually implemented into society.

 

What's clear is that human scientific and technological abilities are advancing faster and faster, completely outpacing society's ability to absorb and "culturize" them if that's a word.

 

I do wonder if there will be scientific breakthroughs so momentous that wars will be fought over their control and availability. Should only the rich be able to live 200 years? Shouldn't food or fuel that can be synthesized at next to no cost be given away at a next-to-nothing price? The free market won't like that one bit. Should we allow our enemies access to technology we have that they could use to destroy us? Should "nature" become obsolete and "artificial" become our total reality?

 

Plenty of material here for a lot of hollywood thrillers, that's for sure.

 

nat whilk ii

 

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What's clear is that human scientific and technological abilities are advancing faster and faster' date=' completely outpacing society's ability to absorb and "culturize" them if that's a word.[/quote']That is a word, but sadly, it's a synonym for "acculturate", which is when someone absorbs a different culture. There should be a word for it, though, and it's going to happen more and faster every year.

 

Shouldn't food or fuel that can be synthesized at next to no cost be given away at a next-to-nothing price? The free market won't like that one bit.
Actually, on the contrary: the free market just loves any commodity that it can produce cheaply and sell at a small profit to a vast market. That's what makes the super rich super rich. Frankly, gasoline is a good example already. The cost of getting from point A to point B is minuscule compared to what it used to be. There's nothing in economics that prevents making enormous profits by providing super cheap energy. Actually, the real problem of super cheap energy is when the by-products are harmful (e.g., pollution).

 

Should we allow our enemies access to technology we have that they could use to destroy us?
We try to avoid that. It gets harder and harder all the time, especially for things like cryptography.

 

Should "nature" become obsolete and "artificial" become our total reality?
Take a quick look around. We're already living in a world that's almost entirely man-made.

 

 

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Another topic of interest is what they are now learning about epigenetics. When I was in college we were taught that your genetic code does not change and the genes you were born with are the genes that you will pass on to your offspring. They now know that it doesn't exactly work like that.

 

Scientist studying obesity have known that obese people can pass genes for obesity to their offspring generationally . But now they know that people who BECOME obese can also pass those genes as well. In other words say some one had skinny parents and skinny grandparents and skinny great grandparents. And then lets say that person became obese by over eating. The old way of thinking said that person still had skinny genes and would not likely pass obesity to their offspring. Now they know that changes in a persons epigenetics can be passed on. That's one of the reasons they think obesity is on the rise.

 

Another theoretical scenario -Lets say you never played the piano and had a child at twenty. Then you spent the next twenty years practicing piano and became a virtuoso then had another child. The old way of thinking said there would be no difference in the odds of having a musically talented child. But now with an understanding of epigenetic changes could it be that the later born child might have a higher chance of musical ability than the first born?

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In the movie Jurassic Park they took DNA preserved in amber and cloned dinosaurs. I've always of thought of this as kind of analogous to digital sampling. You take a sample of a sound ( like DNA ) and make a copy.

 

Now they are talking about creating organisms from genome maps. You could take a genome and even if you don't have the original DNA you can create it from scratch. This to me is kind of like a physical modeling synth.

 

 

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