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Author Topic:   Can we accelerate evolution?
Omnivorous
Member (Idle past 100 days)
Posts: 3851
From: Adirondackia
Joined: 07-21-2005


(1)
Message 8 of 77 (578462)
09-01-2010 7:40 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Dogmafood
08-31-2010 5:11 PM


Richie sapiens
Dogmafood writes:
As we gain the ability to manipulate genes, will we be able to effectively hyper accelerate the evolutionary process?
We will effectively hyper-accelerate genomic change. I don't think we can call it evolution at that point. I think we're taking about generations, not decades, before it happens.
Are we becoming the stewards of our own genome?
Yes.
Are we up to it?
What would be the standard? Genetic surgery on germ cells will eliminate most birth defects and inherited disease, though some will still occur de novo. This seems an unblemished good--if it is widely available.
Ultimately, it will be a political decision, and politicans will have difficulty denying genetic cures--and even greater difficulty permitting genetic improvements. But think of abortions: the wealthy were always able to get those discreetly and as safely as their era's medical care permitted.
Perhaps parents will buy genetic insurance for their kids to use as adults, just as parents once commonly bought small burial insurance policies, or we now buy long-term care insurance.
Again, I think we're a few generations from effective practical genome management, but I don't think the gene is going back in the bottle.
I suspect that, at least at first, only the richest, most industrialized nations will be able to offer this genomic service to only their most affluent citizens. Perhaps the poor will sell their sperm and eggs as raw material the way they now sell their kidneys and half-livers. Perhaps being born with a superior mutant allele will be the new Powerball lottery.
Will the rich become a superior subspecies, or even species? We've always lived with the rich getting richer--can we live with them getting better?
That may destabilize the world more than any disparity of wealth. I'd probably be on the barricades if my descendants were being left behind:
Everybody mutates or nobody mutates.
Edited by Omnivorous, : *Add a nod to the original Tupamaro.

Have you ever been to an American wedding? Where's the vodka? Where's the marinated herring?!
-Gogol Bordello

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Dogmafood, posted 08-31-2010 5:11 PM Dogmafood has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 11 by Dogmafood, posted 09-01-2010 8:30 PM Omnivorous has replied

  
Omnivorous
Member (Idle past 100 days)
Posts: 3851
From: Adirondackia
Joined: 07-21-2005


Message 12 of 77 (578558)
09-02-2010 12:00 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by Dogmafood
09-01-2010 8:30 PM


Re: Richie sapiens
Dogmafood writes:
Omni writes:
Everybody mutates or nobody mutates.
I doubt it.
Yeah, me too.
But I like the original so much--"Everybody dances or nobody dances."--spray painted on an exclusive nightclub trashed by the Tupamaro rebels, that I had to adapt it. And I wouldn't be surprised if something similar is scrawled on a Norm-ghetto wall someday.
In the early 60s a science teacher asked our class if we thought science would be able to change DNA, and if it should. I said of course we would be able to--we always tinker with whatever we can touch, and we always figure out how to touch what we want.
A major sci-fi fan, I was so enthusiastic about genetic engineering, she wondered who would decide what changes to make:
"We'll let computers figure that out," I replied. Heh. I was about 12 then, and everything I learned seemed to make the world bigger and brighter.
All in all, though, I'd rather see us get off this doomed rock than play with ourselves, though they may go hand in hand.

Have you ever been to an American wedding? Where's the vodka? Where's the marinated herring?!
-Gogol Bordello

This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by Dogmafood, posted 09-01-2010 8:30 PM Dogmafood has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 13 by Dogmafood, posted 09-02-2010 8:44 AM Omnivorous has replied

  
Omnivorous
Member (Idle past 100 days)
Posts: 3851
From: Adirondackia
Joined: 07-21-2005


Message 15 of 77 (578684)
09-02-2010 10:23 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by Dogmafood
09-02-2010 8:44 AM


Re: Richie sapiens
I think that's a bit naive, though sexual selection does cover a lot of ground.
Our ancestral fondness for fatty food made sense in hunter-gatherer contexts, too, but today it surely damages sexual fitness.
Intelligence and effort do usually yield some gain.
But we don't see many wealthy scientists or first-class academics in general--upper middle class is about as far as that sort of intelligence and effort will take you, no matter how keen you are.
The truly wealthy for the most part inherit their riches. That leads to political clout which in turn improves their capability to accrue greater wealth. Wealth in the U.S. is concentrated in the top few percent of the population as never before, and the trend is ongoing as the wealthy have the not-wealthy championing their tax cuts, apparently motivated mostly by racial, religious and sexual fears and hatreds.
So political culture trumps the natural selection process that made us what we are, and political hate-mongering trumps self-interest.
Exhibit 1: The Bush family.
Exhibit 2: The inbred royals of Europe.
Exhibit 3: Rush Limbaugh, Kim Il Sung, Glenn Beck.
Ad infinitum: The person who mistakes wealth for reproductive fitness shouldn't be surprised when they beget Paris Hilton.

Have you ever been to an American wedding? Where's the vodka? Where's the marinated herring?!
-Gogol Bordello

This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by Dogmafood, posted 09-02-2010 8:44 AM Dogmafood has not replied

  
Omnivorous
Member (Idle past 100 days)
Posts: 3851
From: Adirondackia
Joined: 07-21-2005


Message 17 of 77 (578696)
09-02-2010 10:46 AM
Reply to: Message 16 by Huntard
09-02-2010 10:40 AM


My understanding of past eugenic movements centers around the notion of preventing "undesirables" from breeding--often, of course, these were racial or ethnic minorities.
As long as the individual remains in charge--choosing to modify their offspring or not, choosing with whom they will mate--it seems a bit unfair to characterize it as eugenics. Deciding which fertilized eggs to bring to birth seems more like a high-powered sexual selection process.

Have you ever been to an American wedding? Where's the vodka? Where's the marinated herring?!
-Gogol Bordello

This message is a reply to:
 Message 16 by Huntard, posted 09-02-2010 10:40 AM Huntard has not replied

  
Omnivorous
Member (Idle past 100 days)
Posts: 3851
From: Adirondackia
Joined: 07-21-2005


Message 22 of 77 (578750)
09-02-2010 1:46 PM
Reply to: Message 20 by crashfrog
09-02-2010 11:33 AM


Here I come to save the day!
That means that Mighty Mouse
Is on his way!
Please keep those mighty mice securely in the lab.
My cats live in a peaceable kingdom, and they'd probably tuck their tails between bluegene's legs and run.
I read recently that GM rapeseed (source of canola oil, modified to be "Round Up Ready") has escaped its purported distance barriers and is outcompeting the wild variety except where it has shared its genes.
The mighty mouse did seem a bit obsessive; maybe the wild mouse just had enough sense to drop out of the rat race.

Have you ever been to an American wedding? Where's the vodka? Where's the marinated herring?!
-Gogol Bordello

This message is a reply to:
 Message 20 by crashfrog, posted 09-02-2010 11:33 AM crashfrog has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 26 by crashfrog, posted 09-02-2010 3:22 PM Omnivorous has replied

  
Omnivorous
Member (Idle past 100 days)
Posts: 3851
From: Adirondackia
Joined: 07-21-2005


Message 23 of 77 (578751)
09-02-2010 1:49 PM
Reply to: Message 21 by nwr
09-02-2010 12:07 PM


Genetic preserves
nwr writes:
It is likely that such large scale intervention will reduce the amount of variation in the gene pool
We could keep the island nations as genetic preserves.
Of course, that would mean the English, Japanese and Australians would have to stay at home.
Oh no.

Have you ever been to an American wedding? Where's the vodka? Where's the marinated herring?!
-Gogol Bordello

This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by nwr, posted 09-02-2010 12:07 PM nwr has seen this message but not replied

  
Omnivorous
Member (Idle past 100 days)
Posts: 3851
From: Adirondackia
Joined: 07-21-2005


Message 27 of 77 (578780)
09-02-2010 3:34 PM
Reply to: Message 26 by crashfrog
09-02-2010 3:22 PM


Re: Here I come to save the day!
crash writes:
Oh, I forgot to mention, and the video doesn't say - they electrified the floor behind the treadmill, so the mouse has to run to exhaustion.
Whoa.
Never mind the mighty mice. Keep those scientists in the lab...or out of it: I can't decide.
Just kidding all round--that's really impressive work. Now I'm fighting another bout of future envy.

Have you ever been to an American wedding? Where's the vodka? Where's the marinated herring?!
-Gogol Bordello

This message is a reply to:
 Message 26 by crashfrog, posted 09-02-2010 3:22 PM crashfrog has not replied

  
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