Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by baftan, May 20, 2010.
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Lets see; They take the DNA from a cell, sequence it, then recreate the DNA (this is old hat now), then they put the artificial copy back into the cell and,... wait for it,...the cell reproduces as usual.
NO BIG SURPRISE HERE.
I wouldn't call this creating artificial life, not at all.
You wouldn't, would you... Why don't you inform the rest of the world about this great discovery of yours, because most of them are way too stupid to see what you have just brilliantly realised, and they still think that humanity achieved something that has never been done before.
Why don't you start with telling the people who just did this "hardly significant and already million times done everyday copying" experiment that they actually haven't done anything new?
It is an achievement, just as climbing Mont Blanc for the first time was an achievement. There are bigger mountains to climb.
That news from 2002, about creating a viable Polio virus from mail order sequencers, was far more shocking news.
It still is frightening. 7000 nucleotides. That must be pretty easy now.
You can be sure Kim Jong II has a state of the art lab chobbling out the stuff.
not really, printing out a million base pairs certainly pushes the technology to its bleeding edge limits, I once looked at the possibility of getting a 3 kbp copy of Hydrogenase just a years ago and it cost over $6,000. Strains over 1000 bp required totally new dna synthesizing technology and even error detection and correction.
Also it would not been know if the genome would "boot up" as native DNA may have methylation sites and a variety of pre-bound proteins that make operation possible, not to mention a system for removing the native genome was needed.
I would call it synthetic, the genome was produced artificially, even if its just a digital copy of a natural organism with minor modification, of course the next step and the production of a designer genome assembled from a catalog of genes is the next goal.
Isn't it a bit like those ready meals that the manufacturers say we can pass off as home made.
Why make your own Hydrogenase at $6,000 when you can buy one off nature's shelf at about 50 cents.
Ooooh I wished it cost 50 cents, do tell me how to extract, clone, insert and produce hydrogenase for 50 cents!
Can't you buy it?
I'll have to google it and see what the lowest is I can get it for.
15 minutes later.
Nope, can't find it.
Maybe you could have become the world's main supplier for just $6000 EF.
No the company we give the sequence to would become the supplier.
$6000 Dollars doesn't sound a lot really if they had to start from scratch.
How much were you going to get for your $6,000?
I'll make a guess.
A thousandth of a gram.
Am I close?
I would add that the dangers are just too great GIVEN the primary motivations of those who will be in control of the research - I do not mean the front line scientists, per se - and their ability to eliminate governmental oversight. We don't let kids do certain things because they are simply not mature enough to do them. The same holds for too large a portion of the private sector. We just are not ready for these things as societies.
Technically worship cannot have a place in science since it is not part of the methodology, which is all science is. However there is an underlying worship of science. It goes something like....
if it can be done, it should be done.
In the context of science, this means that if something discovered or hypothesized within science can be transformed into technology, it should be transformed into technology if it can benefit this or that company..
If someone says....
this technology is too dangerous, given the current system of oversight and the revolving door between business and government oversight,
they are told that they are afraid of science, are irrational and that there can be no rational reason to say NO as a society to a technology.
Often the person is then told to go and handle to issue via legislation, but morotoriums CANNOT be right.
This happens here as sciforums.
This is raising the process of science ------->technology to a religious status, because to question a certain technology is by definition wrong. No exceptions.
This can only be based on faith.
Now you may not hold such a position. I realize this. But I wanted to point that such a position is actually rather common.
We may as well grab our ankles... cause for beter or worse... ready or not... here it coms :runaway:
If everyone who said that and had that attitude were more skeptical of certain technologies, it might not be inevitable. heck, who knows what one intelligent person like yourself could accomplish. IOW what I quoted above is not simply an observation, but an act that helps pave the way by making things seem inevitable.
Im confident that people like you will keep humanity safe.!!!
I'd say it's not so much the "primary motivations of those who will be in control of the research" as is it the overall nature of man regarding its demeanor towards non-human life in general, i.e. arrogance, ignorance, indifference, carelessness, superiority complex, etc.
This "if something discovered or hypothesized within science can be transformed into technology" assumption can not be evaluated within the context of science for two reasons:
Firstly, what does "the context of science" mean? Something can be either subject to scientific scrutiny, study or investigation, as long as the concept, object or issue can be translated to scientific criteria. The moment we define what we understand from science, the moment we decide what is scientific and/or what is not scientific, we are capable of saying "this is scientific/science" and "this is not scientific/science". This is not an arbitrary labelling contest; this is not up to individual comments.
In this sense, saying "in the context of science" actually refers to "in the politics of science" or "in the discourse of science". In other way of saying, "the context of science" means using the name "science" to defend and/or reject an issue within an argument/politics.
Secondly, "technological application of science" (transformation of scientific knowledge into technological product) is also belong to political, adventurous, economical or similar any other issue.
Just because of these two reasons, we can also dismiss your following argument: if it can benefit this or that company. This is simply not necessary, I mean, the application of science does not necessarily benefit only "this or that company". It can be used for non-profit aims. Obviously, if a company develops a technology, it will demand to use this for profit; yet, it doesn't mean that all technological applications comes from companies and all technological applications (based on certain scientific knowledge) will necessarily benefit only companies.
No, if someone says that, this person/group/company will be told to "shut up". Being afraid of science and being afraid of its applications (technology) are simply two different issues. Plus, humans can say "no" to anything they wish on any basis. Forget about a profit driven technological applications, even if nature says that you must suffer because of this or that natural event, illness, restriction, etc. humans can still say "no" and try to find a way to eliminate this obstacle in front of their well being. We call this as "civilization", in terms of its technological capability, in terms of willingness to apply this technology and in terms of socio/cultural/political regimes of the application.
I agree, anything can be used to support a religious, fanatic or simply a "wrong" idea; and the concept, word or celebrity status of "science" is not an exception, some people will use it for their own purposes. Yet, this does not mean that science gives this material them because of its structure, nature or unavoidable appearance among humans. No, this will happen because humans can push and squeeze anything in order to support their claims. We live in a world where even some religious discourses use "science" in order to support their mumbo jumbo, what do you expect?
Personally I think this is a glorious day in the world. Think about it man created life from nothing. Just think of the possibilities for this you could create a genetic virus that feeds strictly on cancer cells for a specific person. You could create a self healing organ. This is great news why is every one so down on this. Yes it could all so be weaponized of course it can anything can be a weapon. And yes it could be used to create a new invasive species yes it could, But I think the benefits far out way the bad.
Uh...not to be a downer or anything, but you guys are blowing this way out of proportion. We have had automated machines for making DNA strands for a long time now. You just punch in what genetic sequence you want the DNA strand to have, then wait around for a long time while the machine synthesizes it for you. The machine will fit on your kitchen counter between your microwave and toaster.
These guys simply used one such machine to make a DNA strand, but they punched in the code for an already-sequenced bacteria genome. Then they sucked the DNA out of a bacteria cell and stuck the new one in, and showed that the cell was able to reproduce. Don't get me wrong, it's very cool research, but they didn't invent a genetic code from scratch, or "create life from nothing," or any of the other rather sensational things that people in this thread seem to be attributing to them.
And these machines are incapable of producing anything beyond 1000 bp, as the strand grow longer on the plate they tend to cover each other and reduce the accuracy, by 1000 bps there a virtually no strands of perfect desired sequence. To achieve a 1,000,000 required pasting together many many smaller strands and repeated testing and filtering for defective sequences, newer micro scale (microchip labs) have allowed for improvement in fidelity and automated filtering out of defective strands. This achievement was a brute force undertaking that cost millions, now that the technology is developed the next ones will be a fold or two cheaper.
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