Skip to main content

Synthetic life ..........are we ready ?

J. Craig Venter announces the boot up of the first artificial genetic sequence:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/21/science/21cell.html



Regarding the ethical issues of doing this now, he is right for TODAY...

but when the costs come down dramatically in the next 10 years (as they did for pc programming)

as the knowledge continues to be refined with bulletproof techniques...

as GDE 's(genetic development environment) are developed to allow a high level genetic language syntax to be used to build organisms using an abstraction (like coding applications but with a "maker" step) there will be a huge potential for trouble as any "gene kiddie" (analog of script kiddies today) will be able to tinker together something "for fun" that I don't know, invades all pigs and causes their intestines to shut down, or causes cows to die on the field after eating grass...who knows...as varied and nefarious as malware methods and vectors are in software coding, expect the same ecosystem of miscreants to exist for programming living things...be they synthetic or not. Venter's comment is incredibly naive and full of hubris...people like myself and Bill Joy who's expressed similar concerns feel differently.

I hope I am wrong.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

On the idea of "world wide mush" resulting from "open" development models

A recent article posted in the Wall Street Journal posits that the collectivization of various types of goods or services created by the internet is long term a damaging trend for human societies.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703481004574646402192953052.html

I think that the author misses truths that have been in place that show that collectivization is not a process that started with the internet but has been with us since we started inventing things.

It seems that Mr. Lanier is not properly defining the contexts under which different problems can benefit or suffer from collectivization. He speaks in general terms of the loss of the potential for creators to extract profit from their work but misses that this is and was true of human civilization since we first picked up a rock to use as a crude hammer. New things make old things obsolete and people MUST adapt to what is displaced (be it a former human performance of that task or use of an older product) so as to main…

Highly targeted Cpg vaccine immunotherapy for a range of cancer

Significance?


This will surely go down as a seminal advance in cancer therapy. It reads like magic:

So this new approach looks for the specific proteins that are associated with a given tumors resistance to attack by the body's T cells, it then adjusts those T cells to be hyper sensitive to the specific oncogenic proteins targeted. These cells become essentially The Terminator​ T cells in the specific tumor AND have the multiplied effect of traveling along the immune pathway of spreading that the cancer many have metastasized. This is huge squared because it means you can essentially use targeting one tumor to identify and eliminate distal tumors that you many not even realize exist.

This allows the therapy for treating cancer to, for the first time; end the "wack a mole" problem that has frustrated traditional shot gun methods of treatment involving radiation and chemotherapy ...which by their nature unfortunately damage parts of the body that are not cancer laden but …

First *extra Galactic* planetary scale bodies observed

This headline


Significance?
So every so often I see a story that has me sitting at the keyboard for a few seconds...actually trying to make sure the story is not some kind of satire site because the headline reads immediately a nonsense.
This headline did just that.
So I proceeded to frantically click through and it appears it was a valid news item from a valid news source and my jaw hit the floor.
Many of you know that we've been finding new planets outside of our solar system for about 25 years now.
In fact the Kepler satellite and other ground observatories have been accelerating their rate of extra-solar planet discoveries in the last few years but those planets are all within our galaxy the Milky Way.
The three major methods used to detect the bulk of planets thus far are wobble detection, radial transit and this method micro lensing which relies on a gravitational effect that was predicted by Einstein in his general theory of relativity exactly 103 years ago.
https://exoplanet…