A rather important advancement has been made.

By on April 24, 2014 10:07:39 AM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

DrJBHL

Join Date 04/2002
+2168

 

Many will greet this with fear, and its misuse should be feared. However, if you can, suspend the fear for a moment, and revel in the wonder of what has been achieved.

For the first time, molecular geneticists have achieved a truly wonderful thing. They have performed the precise repair of a damaged gene, and that gene only. This was what I considered would be the ultimate triumph of Medicine.

The scientists at MIT have used two enzymes (from a bacterium) to locate and correct a single mutated DNA base pair called FAH (which causes Tyrosine build up and death) and to correct it by altering about 1/3 of the liver cells by high pressure injection. This was done in mice, not people although a very similar disease exists in people.

Sorry about the quality of the graphic. It was 'faint' and small:

The point is that the defective DNA was repaired in the living mice and the animals no longer needed additional drugs or diets.

If you wish to read more, it’s here: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/revealed-scientists-edit-dna-to-correct-adult-genes-and-cure-diseases-9273555.html

Please feel free to discuss the implications (and there are many).

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April 24, 2014 10:59:03 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

This is pretty amazing, I didn't realize we had this capability yet.  Beyond curing genetic diseases, it will only be a matter of time before people start wondering what kind of advantageous changes can be made to living organism.

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April 24, 2014 11:02:13 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

 O sheeet.

The future is now 

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April 24, 2014 12:00:33 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Ya most people aren't aware of how close to science fiction we are getting. So much ridiculous stuff is being worked on in labs right now that will hit mainstream in a decade. Real thought controlled prosthetic arms and eyes are my favorite, although all the recent advances in robotics including the google robotic competition comes close. SpaceX and their reusable rocket also deserves a mention, soon we might start mining asteroids.

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April 24, 2014 1:36:54 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Playing devil's advocate...Kahn and his wannabe superior people. The ...uh...Eugenics Wars that happened twenty years ago...in the ST universe.

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April 28, 2014 7:19:08 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The idea of genetic engineering is not new.  Sci fi novels have explored many. many aspects and possible uses and abuses of this kind of technology.  The exciting thing is that, once again, if we can imagine it, we eventually find a way to actually do it in real life.  And like every tool, it may, and can, be used for good or ill.  In all likelihood, considering our species history and track record, it will be used to do many good things -  also, some bad, perhaps even evil things. Such is our species. This amazing  new technology will breed even more techs.  What we are seeing is, for the first time, ours species ability to actually design and direct its evolution at a genetic level.  Not through cultural adaptations, or selective breeding - but to actually rewrite an embryo's genetic data, and thereby design the baby.  Will this be used to create a caste system where everyone is 'happy' with their lot?  Will we nudge all babies into being genius level prodigies? Will the inherited uber wealthy family dynasties use it to enhance the advantages they already have?  What is certain, in the short run, is that medical professionals will use it to fix aliments caused by  faulty genes.  And that is worth the other risks, IMHO. 

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April 29, 2014 6:29:48 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Designer babies............................IMo some things should be left alone. I understand the need but the potential for abuse is staggering. Past history speaks for itself. The Holocaust, The Russian pogroms, Ethnic Cleansing, Mao's cultural revolution, the Khmer Rouge, the Armenian genocide. Take your pick. All in the name of favoring one over the other. Not to detract from the importance of this breakthrough but there will be those who will abuse it. 

Just a rant...

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April 29, 2014 7:21:34 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

It is interesting that it could (like so many things) be used in a number of different ways.

There are lethal traits which could be eliminated, allowing childless couples to have a future as well...

What is however clear, is that it will happen. It would be well to remember that Sickle Cell trait occurred and became prevalent because of Malaria. As the MAlaria vaccine's use becomes more prevalent, the 'need' for the trait will become lower so that it 'could' be dispensed with (since as a homozygous it is lethal). However, biologic systems evolve, so that MAlaria might become unnoticed by the antibodies. Then, where will humanity be? Vulnerable to the parasite since the sickle cell trait will have become eliminated.

Similarly, it could be said that under current conditions, certain traits are undesirable and cause suffering. Therefore they should be eliminated. However, if conditions change, those once 'undesirable' traits might become key for survival...or, might mutate into some very desirable trait when interacting with other genes.

Interesting... 

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April 29, 2014 7:58:47 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting DrJBHL,

It is interesting that it could (like so many things) be used in a number of different ways.

There are lethal traits which could be eliminated, allowing childless couples to have a future as well...

What is however clear, is that it will happen. It would be well to remember that Sickle Cell trait occurred and became prevalent because of Malaria. As the MAlaria vaccine's use becomes more prevalent, the 'need' for the trait will become lower so that it 'could' be dispensed with (since as a homozygous it is lethal). However, biologic systems evolve, so that MAlaria might become unnoticed by the antibodies. Then, where will humanity be? Vulnerable to the parasite since the sickle cell trait will have become eliminated.

Similarly, it could be said that under current conditions, certain traits are undesirable and cause suffering. Therefore they should be eliminated. However, if conditions change, those once 'undesirable' traits might become key for survival...or, might mutate into some very desirable trait when interacting with other genes.

Interesting... 

 

Yes, this is one of the fascinating aspects of 'natural selection.'  So many aspects of life that seem negative in one context actually have survival benefit in another setting.  Its a very complicated web of life we live in.  Rearranging the strands, well, I advise extreme caution in light of unforeseen consequences. 

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April 29, 2014 8:37:32 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yes, one of the fundamental mechanisms of life on our planet is that each generation throws some variability into the mix. What's a "disease" in one setting may be the savior of the species in another.

Every generation throws a set of darts at a dartboard. Most of the darts land safely somewhere on the board, but some unfortunate darts end up as outliers. However, the dartboard is always moving, usually slowly but sometimes quickly. Occasionally what would have been an outlier before, ends up connecting with the new position of the board, while many of the other darts end up on the bar room floor.

Ignore the movement of the dartboard at your own peril.

 

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April 29, 2014 10:20:42 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Uvah,

Designer babies............................IMo some things should be left alone. I understand the need but the potential for abuse is staggering. Past history speaks for itself. The Holocaust, The Russian pogroms, Ethnic Cleansing, Mao's cultural revolution, the Khmer Rouge, the Armenian genocide. Take your pick. All in the name of favoring one over the other. Not to detract from the importance of this breakthrough but there will be those who will abuse it. 

Just a rant...

lets not forget the multiple decimations of the residents of the Americas when the Europeans arrived.  Nor the descendents of the Europeans propensity for continued decimation picking up where their parents left off.

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April 30, 2014 4:21:27 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Welcome to the future.

 

Now wait till someone pays a Chinese doctor to turn them into a human-animal chimera.

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April 30, 2014 5:46:50 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Sinperium,
Welcome to the future.

Why Blade Runner was such a great film.

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April 30, 2014 9:45:02 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

There's a classic sci-fi movie dating back to the late fifties early sixties that deals with something very similar to blade runner. The only difference being the clones weren't hunted down. In fact the clones didn't know they were clones. Forget the name of it though. 

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April 30, 2014 10:14:08 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Uvah,

There's a classic sci-fi movie dating back to the late fifties early sixties that deals with something very similar to blade runner. The only difference being the clones weren't hunted down. In fact the clones didn't know they were clones. Forget the name of it though. 

 

Was it a movie, or an episode of twilight zone?  TZ had several well thought out episodes dealing with clones.

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April 30, 2014 2:15:17 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

It was a movie. I do remember one scene in which a man and a woman are standing in front of...something...a window I think...and with them was a scientist who showed the man that he was a clone by plunging a knife into his heart. He didn't bleed or even flinch.

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April 30, 2014 2:27:12 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Uvah,
He didn't bleed or even flinch.

That's not a clone...unless radishes are cloned. 

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April 30, 2014 3:15:31 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting DrJBHL,
That's not a clone

My bad...I meant android.

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April 30, 2014 4:04:14 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Oh, android, that looked human, human skin, ... i remember that scene... but not the movie name....

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