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Spider-goats, the future of civilization


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#1 duke_Qa

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 02:48 PM

Thought this article was hilarious enough to bring up here. Synthetic biology and the rise of 'spider-goats'. synthetic biology sounds better than genetic manipulation too, so that's a good thing imo :)

To sum it up, they took the genes from silk-producing spiders that creates silk, and put it into the milk producing genes of a goat. Separate the proteins and you have home-made silk without the icky spiders.

It also brings up the topic of bio-bricks, which is the growing field of putting different genes into components which can easily be mixed and matched to create new lifeforms that produce different products. 9th-graders have been able to use this to make glowing bacteria within an hour, and I suspect there are better articles out there about the use of it.

Also, it has been used to create bacteria that produce biodiesel, which is fancy enough in its own right. although environmental organizations are worried that this will reduce the amount of farmland for food... Well, if we ignore the fact that poor people will be the victim of such land-grabs, Mankind needs a good excuse to stop its breeders. And finding a solution to the energy crisis at the cost of a certain percentage of farmland sounds to me as a small price to pay to avoid the apocalypse. Most nations should be interested in becoming independent of oil, and if people are able to create synthetic bacterias that replace fossile fuel, we would be in a much better position than we currently are, food or not.

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#2 Pasidon

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 04:53 PM

O L D news. But yea, still cool. I still want them to combine my genetic material with that of a goat. Infinite milk and wool for me, please.

Also, they use the same science to make watermelons into perfect cubes.

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#3 duke_Qa

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 07:45 PM

Kinda got a hillbilly wibe when you wrote "I still want them to combine my genetic material with that of a goat". I'm sure there are ways to get that done :p


Square watermelons must be nice for transportation, but I'm wondering if we can make these genes create superstrong materials for a space elevator. Imagine the headlines: "cows aid mankind into space".

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#4 Pasidon

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 07:59 PM

Logical. The adimantium bones of a bovine mutant will guide us to the moon. Though perhaps mutant plants would better aid us in that department.

Kinda got a hillbilly wibe

You just now figurin' that part? Red-billy hill-neck... whatever you prefer.

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#5 duke_Qa

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 07:27 AM

Yeah that I've realized a while back, but once you start putting innuendo into your goat, someone's got to point it out :p

mutant bacterias and the likes are probably better at producing chemicals, but maybe not at the same speed as an animal with udders. I mentioned this to my father yesterday, and he's usually quite liberal, but when it comes to genetic modification he starts huffing and puffing right off the bat. I think that will be my only way of making him an old bitter geezer that thinks technology has gone too far :). Well, this and nuclear fission with thorium in the neighborhood, he doesn't like that idea either :p

Edited by duke_Qa, 17 January 2012 - 07:27 AM.

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#6 Radspakr Wolfbane

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 09:03 AM

I'm looking forward to super intelligent chimps that can act as secret agents.

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#7 Pasidon

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 02:15 PM

And vise-versa.

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#8 duke_Qa

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 05:12 PM

Who cares about genetic manipulation to create sentient creatures? it takes 20-30 years to get a finished product, and the product only competes with us natural mortals. Although uplifting is a concept that some have thought of, I dunno how much use it will be for us beyond creating hybrid humans. It could be argued that it is wise to have sentient species with radically different genes in a worst-case scenario involving very, very angry viruses. But since we're all hooked up with much the same DNA in the end, it sounds redundant.

Creating new industries and uses of biology for the total betterment of mankind is what this is good for.

Direct synthetic photosynthesis for biofuels and other materials, the energy problem practically annihilated within a decade
biologically produced nano-wires for super light and super strong composites, giving us better and more environmental friendly vehicles, even more effective space-ships and hopefully space-elevators.

Edited by duke_Qa, 17 January 2012 - 05:17 PM.

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#9 Pasidon

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 06:14 PM

Yea, uplifting isn't very science-fiction. Think about this... we've been housing certain species and giving them free resources and care, as well as exposing them to various human functions. And from what we know about biological anthropology, what happens to a species when it has free reign over resources and is exposed to such variables? It evolves. It still is probably thousands of years away from a cat becoming able to speak fluent Japanese, but uplifting has been in progress since the birth of domestication. But purposefully doing it seems foolish... knowing how sentimental mortals are to intelligent life, sentient cats would just be another major resource to house in our society. People can't even kill a dolphin without tearing up...

And yet again, yes... I'm sure we can find a fine way to tune this science into your precious space-elevator.

Edited by {IP}Pasidon, 17 January 2012 - 06:16 PM.

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#10 duke_Qa

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 06:32 PM

Should have picked different examples, but getting off this rock is quite important to me :p

I doubt they could turn a normal housecat into something with human intelligence, you'd have to start with a lion or something. Secondly, opposable thumbs or limbs capable of proper manual dexterity is a must as well. so by uplifting I'm thinking more hybrids than sentient farm-animals. Such a fate would be worse than death I suspect, at best a Stewen hawking's mind stuck in a cow.

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#11 Pasidon

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 06:39 PM

His body might as well be a cow... but yea, house animals have no reason to get thumb happy on us. But it's possible... hominids gained thumbs because the need to grip their food, but cats CAN on occasion use their paws to attempt to grip, which might spur the genetic need for more complex digits. But like I said... that is thousands, if not millions of years of genetic processing.

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#12 duke_Qa

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 10:17 PM

Which is why once geneticists have open-sourced, componented, modularized and wiki'ed together a majority of the DNA building blocks we have around us, someone somewhere will find a good excuse to put two of these together and grow something new instead of waiting. Oh how the religious will howl. Come to think of it, that might be good enough reason for 99% of those in a position to do it to do it :p

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#13 Pasidon

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 10:30 PM

So...

Pro
Trolls religious people

Con
Spawns a new race of beings to support

Come to think of it... to have hominid cats walking around would be like an Elder Scrolls game. Just get some lizards in that mix and we'll have real life Khajiit and Argonians walking around. Ooo... I do like how exotic that sounds.

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#14 duke_Qa

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 07:55 AM

I am waiting for Beowulf to drop by and whisper "yezzzz, join usssss". But yeah, the biggest problems around having such creatures around is the question of how "overpowered" they would be compared to normal humans. If it turned into a genetic-race after that, it would become a slippery slope very quickly. And if you have commonly available tools to create abhumans, you will have commonly available tools to create viruses that only kill those with a certain gene and so forth. So don't be surprised if this sort of tech will be hidden in space to avoid "proliferation".

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