Understanding through Discussion


Welcome! You are not logged in. [ Login ]
EvC Forum active members: 118 (8777 total)
Current session began: 
Page Loaded: 08-18-2017 3:05 AM
358 online now:
PaulK, Phat (AdminPhat), ThinAirDesigns (3 members, 355 visitors)
Chatting now:  Chat room empty
Newest Member: BruceR.Fenton
Post Volume:
Total: 816,274 Year: 20,880/21,208 Month: 1,313/2,326 Week: 649/345 Day: 11/161 Hour: 0/2

Announcements: Reporting debate problems OR discussing moderation actions/inactions


Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
  
Prev12
3
456Next
Author Topic:   Can we accelerate evolution?
Nij
Member (Idle past 2385 days)
Posts: 239
From: New Zealand
Joined: 08-20-2010


Message 31 of 77 (580188)
09-08-2010 4:01 AM
Reply to: Message 30 by Ken Fabos
09-08-2010 2:58 AM


They were thinking about this way back when..
I remember my fifth form (Year 11) English class well for this very reason. Our film study topic was on Gattaca, in which a major premise was on the differences in class between those who were "normal" and those who were "altered".

Naturally the altering cost a huge amount, and naturally the altered children were far superior to the nonaltered, notably brothers. And naturally there arose quite substantial differentation between the two classes, to the point that "Godchildren" (normal, unaltered, depending on God for their alleles) were unable to get jobs requiring any decent amount of intellectual or physical capability, relegating them to things like janitorial work and garbage collection.

And I think that's not far off the most probable outcome.

You raise an excellent point about the patenting of new alleles, too. Developing one that enables a person to speed up their metabolism or the rate at which toxins can be cleared from the body or a better oxygen-transporting molecule for the blood.
Just think of the lawsuits that might occur should such be patented, then arise as a novel mutation somewhere down the line. Some major alteration to relevant laws might be necessary by then.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 30 by Ken Fabos, posted 09-08-2010 2:58 AM Ken Fabos has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 32 by Ken Fabos, posted 09-08-2010 4:47 PM Nij has responded

  
Ken Fabos
Member (Idle past 1681 days)
Posts: 51
From: Australia
Joined: 05-09-2010


Message 32 of 77 (580320)
09-08-2010 4:47 PM
Reply to: Message 31 by Nij
09-08-2010 4:01 AM


cause for unfair discrimination?
Our genetics are already the basis of bigotry and discrimination and, unless the changes somehow decrease those urges to put people most like ourselves ahead of those more different - very unlikely - I have no doubt it will become an issue. But making changes will potentially make the recipients of them potentially more different than is comfortable. The highly intelligent kids of average parents is already a difficult situation for those parents. SuperKids probably won't find their situation easy.

Discrimination is very widespread; just failing to be good looking limits opportunities and sees people subjected to derision and abuse. Any greater good will probably not be the basis of choices for engineering of offspring and probably face criticism for attempting to engage in social engineering; more likely health, looks and advantageous ability for those individuals - allowing them to better compete and dominate - will dominate the choices.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 31 by Nij, posted 09-08-2010 4:01 AM Nij has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 33 by Nij, posted 09-08-2010 7:40 PM Ken Fabos has responded

  
Nij
Member (Idle past 2385 days)
Posts: 239
From: New Zealand
Joined: 08-20-2010


Message 33 of 77 (580349)
09-08-2010 7:40 PM
Reply to: Message 32 by Ken Fabos
09-08-2010 4:47 PM


Re: cause for unfair discrimination?
The highly intelligent kids of average parents is already a difficult situation for those parents. SuperKids probably won't find their situation easy

Ah, but if your parents were superkids themselves, both physically as well as mentally, then you have no problem. You get the typical portrayal of upper-class people being the norm: all of them are "perfect" people. Takes a couple of generations to get to that stage, of course, and the ones who get in early will have the advantage to begin with.

Any greater good will probably not be the basis of choices for engineering of offspring and probably face criticism for attempting to engage in social engineering; more likely health, looks and advantageous ability for those individuals - allowing them to better compete and dominate - will dominate the choices

A quirk of human nature, there: we abhor any attempt to make everybody better, but if you only want good for yourself then it's the done thing and you're part of the pop trend.

And then, what happens when everybody is equally good looking and intelligent and athletic? There's surely a limit to the malleability of genetics and human nature (I believe that was part of a major philosophy in the early 20th century; Marxism held the opposite view -- infinite malleability if human nature -- IIRC).


This message is a reply to:
 Message 32 by Ken Fabos, posted 09-08-2010 4:47 PM Ken Fabos has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 34 by Ken Fabos, posted 09-09-2010 2:34 AM Nij has responded

  
Ken Fabos
Member (Idle past 1681 days)
Posts: 51
From: Australia
Joined: 05-09-2010


Message 34 of 77 (580435)
09-09-2010 2:34 AM
Reply to: Message 33 by Nij
09-08-2010 7:40 PM


Re: cause for unfair discrimination?
I expect the altered will face discrimination, at least at first, especially if it upsets the religious and it surely will. It could take some time before it would be the 'altered' that dominate and discriminate against 'normals'.

I did watch Gattaca and note that it played to the fears of 'normal' people being supplanted; us normals sympathise with the very capable but genetically flawed main character.

In SF writing especially, it's a recurring theme, sometimes from the perspective of 'normals', sometimes from the perspective of 'altereds' and sometimes both. Mostly they don't really add that much insight but occaisionally can be both a good read and cover some of the issues and dilemmas. Not much on my bookshelf right now but there is one with such a theme called 'Blueheart' by Alison Sinclair. Not a well known author but I thought worth reading both for looking at the tensions between 'adaptives' seeking to make their one-off adaptations to a water world into 'germ line' changes that would be passed to their children as well as some of the issues surrounding supplanting an existing ecosystem with 'suitable' life. What's improbable is facing those issues so far away in both space and time; the dilemmas are upon us right here and now.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 33 by Nij, posted 09-08-2010 7:40 PM Nij has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 35 by Nij, posted 09-09-2010 6:13 AM Ken Fabos has not yet responded

  
Nij
Member (Idle past 2385 days)
Posts: 239
From: New Zealand
Joined: 08-20-2010


Message 35 of 77 (580450)
09-09-2010 6:13 AM
Reply to: Message 34 by Ken Fabos
09-09-2010 2:34 AM


Re: cause for unfair discrimination?
Read a couple of reviews; sounds like something worth the time.

What's improbable is facing those issues so far away in both space and time; the dilemmas are upon us right here and now.

Hear, hear.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 34 by Ken Fabos, posted 09-09-2010 2:34 AM Ken Fabos has not yet responded

  
CosmicChimp
Member
Posts: 305
From: Muenchen Bayern Deutschland
Joined: 06-15-2007


Message 36 of 77 (580614)
09-10-2010 10:00 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by ProtoTypical
08-31-2010 5:11 PM


As we gain the ability to manipulate genes, will we be able to effectively hyper accelerate the evolutionary process?
You should just leave out altogether the idea of a hyper-evolutionary process. What you are talking about is genetic engineering or manipulation. This is outside the scope of the evolutionary meaning, populations evolving over thousands of generations.

Are we becoming the stewards of our own genome?
Yes, I would say so.

Are we up to it?
As in mankind is benefited over the long term? I would say anyone's guess. As a general rule decreased variation is more susceptible to extinction.

Edited by CosmicChimp, : expanded


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

  
AZPaul3
Member
Posts: 3428
From: Phoenix
Joined: 11-06-2006


(2)
Message 37 of 77 (580641)
09-10-2010 12:50 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by ProtoTypical
08-31-2010 5:11 PM


Proteomics
As we gain the ability to manipulate genes, will we be able to effectively hyper accelerate the evolutionary process?

As we gain gene manipulation capabilities we are, in fact, negating evolution not enhancing it.

Are we becoming the stewards of our own genome? Are we up to it?

We think we are, but there is a major issue yet to be resolved.

The gene may be the key to the protein but the protein is the key to the phenotype.

No gene fully controls a process. The resulting protein produced, in concert with other proteins from other genes, control the process and the phenotypic outcome. Altering any one of the required suite of proteins may alter the outcome.

Like a recipe for bread, substituting sawdust for yeast will disrupt the outcome but so would substituting motor oil for water.

But the problem gets deeper in proteomics.

Genes and their resultant proteins are used and reused in various combinations throughout the body.

We may find that altering a specific gene will alter a protein shape that would help in growing more neural connections in the cortex. Probably a good thing. But that same altered gene and its altered protein may disrupt the inter-cellular communication cascade needed to control testosterone levels in the testes leading to sterility. Not such a good thing.

Thousands upon thousands of proteins in various combinations leads to permutations in the hundreds of trillions. We have not even begun to understand the basic effects. Mapping the genome was the easy part. Understanding the proteomics of gene alteration is many orders of magnitude beyond that.

Until we fully understand the proteomics we are just in trial/error mode with major ethical problems in the question of devastating unintended consequences.

In my view, we will eventually get there, but we are looking at more than 200 years. Then the real ethical problems start. And no, imho, we are not up to it.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by ProtoTypical, posted 08-31-2010 5:11 PM ProtoTypical has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 38 by Taq, posted 09-10-2010 12:58 PM AZPaul3 has acknowledged this reply

  
Taq
Member
Posts: 7022
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.7


(1)
Message 38 of 77 (580644)
09-10-2010 12:58 PM
Reply to: Message 37 by AZPaul3
09-10-2010 12:50 PM


Re: Proteomics
The gene may be the key to the protein but the protein is the key to the phenotype.

That is only half of the recipe. The pattern of gene expression, the trascriptome, is just as important. When a protein is expressed during development, maturation, and environmental challenge also has impact on phenotype.

For example, some studies have suggested that overexpression of anti-oxidant enzymes can increase lifespans. I can't find the reference now, but I am pretty sure that this has been done in mice.

Mapping the genome was the easy part. Understanding the proteomics of gene alteration is many orders of magnitude beyond that.

Fully agree. Just figuring out which genes produce which proteins is a small step. You still have to understand how those proteins are modified by other proteins, alternately spliced mRNA products for the same protein, etc.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 37 by AZPaul3, posted 09-10-2010 12:50 PM AZPaul3 has acknowledged this reply

Replies to this message:
 Message 39 by Ken Fabos, posted 09-10-2010 7:49 PM Taq has not yet responded

  
Ken Fabos
Member (Idle past 1681 days)
Posts: 51
From: Australia
Joined: 05-09-2010


Message 39 of 77 (580710)
09-10-2010 7:49 PM
Reply to: Message 38 by Taq
09-10-2010 12:58 PM


Re: Proteomics
The stuff we are made of is highly multifunctional and making sense of all the interactions is surely a key to successful genetic engineering for specific outcomes. Likely there are multiple ways to arrive at outcomes and if one that is in fact inferior but by virtue of superior marketing comes to dominate there could be consequences down the line.

Just how capable we will be as custodians of our genome in the future is hard to judge from here; foresight could result in greater genetic resilience, or at least leave us with no less.

Commercial considerations - maintaining patent rights and preventing unauthorised use and distribution could be a greater drive to preventing long term problems than foresight; so far the biggest uses of genetic engineering is in crops and mostly these appear deliberately designed to not breed true.

Being wise looks a little unlikely from here with humanity about to rush in to where the wise choose not to tread.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 38 by Taq, posted 09-10-2010 12:58 PM Taq has not yet responded

  
greyseal
Member (Idle past 1357 days)
Posts: 464
Joined: 08-11-2009


Message 40 of 77 (580779)
09-11-2010 3:16 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by ProtoTypical
08-31-2010 5:11 PM


genetic manipulation isn't evolution...
As we gain the ability to manipulate genes, will we be able to effectively hyper accelerate the evolutionary process? Are we becoming the stewards of our own genome? Are we up to it?

on the first point, no - if you can successfully manipulate genes then effectively you step outside evolution. Amusingly enough, once we can modify the genetic code of living lifeforms (or their descendants which adds up to the same thing) then truly we will be in an age of "intelligent design", only the designer will be us.

It won't stop evolution from occuring, but it will mean that for specifically chosen life-forms, evolution will not be the driver for the survival and attributes of the species.

Are we becoming stewards of our own genome? Well potentially yes. If we allow genetic manipulation (and, if it is possible, it will happen - if it is made illegal it will be happen anyway) then that is exactly what we will be.

Will we be up to it? Well now you're stepping into the realm of a post-singularity world, capable of solving so many of todays issues that we can't even relate. We may yet live to see it. I suspect that if we aren't now, we will be then.


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

Replies to this message:
 Message 41 by Dr Jack, posted 09-11-2010 5:22 AM greyseal has responded

    
Dr Jack
Member
Posts: 3505
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 41 of 77 (580781)
09-11-2010 5:22 AM
Reply to: Message 40 by greyseal
09-11-2010 3:16 AM


Re: genetic manipulation isn't evolution...
I disagree. Genetic manipulation is evolution; it isn't evolution by natural selection.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 40 by greyseal, posted 09-11-2010 3:16 AM greyseal has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 42 by greyseal, posted 09-11-2010 7:23 AM Dr Jack has responded

  
greyseal
Member (Idle past 1357 days)
Posts: 464
Joined: 08-11-2009


Message 42 of 77 (580782)
09-11-2010 7:23 AM
Reply to: Message 41 by Dr Jack
09-11-2010 5:22 AM


Re: genetic manipulation isn't evolution...
I disagree. Genetic manipulation is evolution; it isn't evolution by natural selection.

well, the first definition of evolution I found is

quote:
Change in the genetic composition of a population during successive generations, as a result of natural selection acting on the genetic variation among individuals, and resulting in the development of new species.

If you take natural selection out of that equation, I don't think it's evolution any more - at least not as it has been. I'm not trying to be a pedant, you do have a point, I just don't agree.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 41 by Dr Jack, posted 09-11-2010 5:22 AM Dr Jack has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 44 by Dr Jack, posted 09-11-2010 12:37 PM greyseal has not yet responded
 Message 45 by barbara, posted 09-11-2010 1:03 PM greyseal has not yet responded

    
Tanypteryx
Member
Posts: 1552
From: Oregon, USA
Joined: 08-27-2006
Member Rating: 5.3


Message 43 of 77 (580807)
09-11-2010 12:36 PM


Unexpected Side Affects of Enhanced Phenotypes
I can see it now ....... the genes for intelligence are finally discovered, and are modified. Thousands of babies are born with the new genes for enhanced intelligence. Unfortunately, when they enter puberty it is discovered that their sense of smell is increased by a factor of 1000. Suddenly they have a better sense of smell than dogs, but the olfactory areas of the brain is unchanged, bad smells still stink, good smells still are pleasant. Our normal sense of smell causes a whole cascade of reactions in the brain, for example, triggering memories or emotions. In our genetically enhanced kids it might lead to insanity or something as harmless as sniffing the butts of everyone they meet.


What if Eleanor Roosevelt had wings? -- Monty Python

You can't build a Time Machine without Weird Optics -- S. Valley


    
Dr Jack
Member
Posts: 3505
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 44 of 77 (580808)
09-11-2010 12:37 PM
Reply to: Message 42 by greyseal
09-11-2010 7:23 AM


Re: genetic manipulation isn't evolution...
The reason I don't include selection in the definition is because evolutionary theory includes many non-selective processes.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 42 by greyseal, posted 09-11-2010 7:23 AM greyseal has not yet responded

  
barbara
Member (Idle past 2297 days)
Posts: 167
Joined: 07-19-2010


Message 45 of 77 (580812)
09-11-2010 1:03 PM
Reply to: Message 42 by greyseal
09-11-2010 7:23 AM


Re: genetic manipulation isn't evolution...
I agree that genetic manipulation isn't evolution. I also think that it is extremely critical that science fully understands how protein assembly occurs in the first place. The fact that they are multifunctional proteins is going to make alternating difficult to accomplish.

If we do accomplish this it will affect not only humans but it may affect other species in nature, after all protein assemblies are shared across many different species and we do not know the true mechanism (we think we do) that is underlying this fact.

Playing "God" is going to cause many obstacles for science by religion/politics and perhaps nature itself. if science can succeed in gene manipulation that creates immortal super beings than they must solve the environmental issues first.

Without the environment that supplies our energy needs, we become extinct anyway.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 42 by greyseal, posted 09-11-2010 7:23 AM greyseal has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 46 by Ken Fabos, posted 09-12-2010 4:22 AM barbara has responded

    
Prev12
3
456Next
Newer Topic | Older Topic
Jump to:


Copyright 2001-2015 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

™ Version 4.0 Beta
Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2017