Almost like playing God...

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    Daius

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    Almost like playing God...

    Post by Daius on Thu Jan 08, 2009 8:06 pm

    We have been learning about evolution in our biology class and one of the topics that we were talking about was natural selection and artificial selection. Natural selection is the environment causing a species to flourish in a way that will cause it to survive which is usually caused by an environmental change, such as darker pepper moths surviving in the industrial revolution better than lighter pepper moths. Artificial selection is human made and is the breeding of one specific trait in an animal (ex. a bulldog with a big head)

    As we were talking about these subjects, I had a rather strange though. Crossbreeding between two different species of animal. Let's say... a dog and a cat. I had asked if it was possible and, of course, it isn't because they would both have a different number of chromosomes. There would be unpaired chromosomes and would cause a termination or the new species would be a hormonal mess and not be able to survive. Although, it could be possible if there was only a 1 chromosome difference, but even then there would be problems.
    I was a little stumped, but then i had a theory pop into my head: GENE SPLICING. It was something that seemed to work. let's put it this way. Say you want to be stronger, but you don't want to work out and do it that way, plus you want to be stronger than what you would be if you worked out every day. My theory was that if you can find the genetic code for strength in a human and find the genetic code for strength in a gorilla, with the use of a Restriction Endonuclease (a chemical which cuts genetic code in a very specific spot), you could cut the genetic code from both, then splice in the genetic code for gorilla strength into a human. That human would then have the strength of a gorilla.

    Now as simple as my theory sounded to me, I also had to consider that there are over 100 different types of cells in the body. To splice just one of these cells would make it foreign to the body and be considered a mutation and naturally, be killed off. The best way to make the body realize that it isn't a mutation would to do this process at the zygote stage when a human is one cell.

    Another problem I thought of was that there are 3.1 BILLION purines and pyrimidines consisting Adenine, Thymine, Cytosine and Guanine in the HUMAN genome. To find the one sequence of letters which codes for strength in a human would be practically impossible to find unless done by a computer. Even then it would take a long time. That and you would have to find the genetic code in the Gorilla genome as well. It would all seem like a lot of work.

    When I thought of the possibilities, I also thought of the immense power I could have over humans. Want your kid to be incredibly smart? I'll just splice in the gene for intelligence into the genetic code from some other animal or perhaps even MAKE the genetic code myself. Want to be immune to cancer? Here's the genetic code for it. Thinking about this kind of scared me... I mean, I'd technically be playing God, but at the same time, I want to see if such a thing is possible.

    Sometimes the pursuit of science is scary...


    Last edited by Daius on Thu Jan 08, 2009 8:21 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Trevlac
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    Re: Almost like playing God...

    Post by Trevlac on Thu Jan 08, 2009 8:20 pm

    There was a movie made about this a few years ago. Parents got to choose the traits in their kids so that everyone was perfect. In order to get a good job you had to be right handed, white, light colored hair, and a few other things. It was kinda freaky.

    Now onto the possibility of what you say. The problem with gene splicing is that different animals are made with different "languages" so to speak. Strength in a gorilla is different from strength in a human. To make this work sure you could infuse a zygote with gorilla genes but unfortunately, when the cell splits, it will only use ribosomes that human bodies know how to make. In other words, the DNA sequence won't replicate. You'll have one hybrid cell and 1 human cell. Then they split again and eventually the hybrid cell dies but the human cell keeps going. In fact, because you modified the original data, you could potentially corrupt the future human and do more harm than good.

    Think about it like trying to use python code in perl. Sure, some similarities exist, but ultimately they are compiled and executed differently.


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    Cain Le Creuset

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    Re: Almost like playing God...

    Post by Cain Le Creuset on Thu Jan 08, 2009 8:25 pm

    When I thought of the possibilities, I also thought of the immense power I could have over humans. Want your kid to be incredibly smart? I'll just splice in the gene for intelligence into the genetic code from some other animal or perhaps even MAKE the genetic code myself. Want to be immune to cancer? Here's the genetic code for it. Thinking about this kind of scared me... I mean, I'd technically be playing God, but at the same time, I want to see if such a thing is possible.

    this reminds me of gundam SEED, horrible as it was.

    search your feelings. you know it to be true.
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    Daius

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    Re: Almost like playing God...

    Post by Daius on Thu Jan 08, 2009 8:25 pm

    I'd like to know if this has been attempted or not. You would first have to start with animals in the same family.

    Let's take a wolf and a dog. Both are in the canine family and have the same number of chromosomes. Crossbreeding these two animals would be possible, but in order to see if you can splice one difference into the genetic code is possible, you can splice in one trait, say, long fangs. If it works, then we know it would be possible within similar families. And since humans are... 99.3% related to chimps, we could gain some of their genetic traits if spliced in assuming that splicing wolf genetic code into dog genetic code can work.
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    Re: Almost like playing God...

    Post by Trevlac on Thu Jan 08, 2009 8:30 pm

    99.3% isn't enough. That percentage masks the enormous difference between us that makes us completely different animals all together. A wolf and a dog are not completely different much like us and chimps.

    Until another organism evolves to our level we can't really test this theory.


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