Genetic Engineering the future

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Wilshire

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« on: August 07, 2018, 04:30:47 pm »
https://www-wired-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/www.wired.com/story/ideas-jason-pontin-genetic-engineering-for-mars/amp?amp_js_v=0.1#amp_tf=From%20%251%24s

First couple paragraphs:
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Long-term spaceflight beyond low Earth orbit and the Van Allen belts exceeds NASA’s current bounds of “acceptable risk.” Barring an unlikely series of technological tricks—including an expedited route, radiation shielding inside the spacecraft, subsurface quarters on the planet, and a hurried return—our biology is incompatible with a Mars mission. Permanent colonies there or farther out are unthinkable.

But serious biologists, including some who work with NASA, have begun to ask whether humans could be genetically altered for space travel. Their queries prompt more profound questions about our responsibilities and duties in the next phase of human evolution.

Their proposals are also richly ironic. A defining characteristic of our species is our mania for expansion. Other homins didn’t share it, so far as we know; our Neanderthal cousins, with whom we lived for 5,000 years, never left Eurasia. With us, exploration is a mad compulsion. Think of how many frail corracles and canoes set out with only the hope of land to populate all the islands of the seas!

Mars is next. But we may have to employ all our technology to create an inheritor species to satisfy our longings.

Interesting article. And I agree with the proposition that genetic engineering the the path we'll take to the future, out of both want and necessity. The proposition to do it for the good of humanity for astronaut-pioneers is as good a starting point as any.

Probably my favorite line, in response to the question " would it be ethical to call into existence a new people who had no say in their own design?"
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none of us chooses our inheritance; we are all the products of our parents.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2018, 04:34:51 pm by Wilshire »
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H

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« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2018, 05:18:54 pm »
Brings into focus the issues raised in something like Blade Runner 2049, i.e. "what are the moral and ethical implications of 'humans' who aren't actually human?"  I don't think there is, can be, or ever will be a "clear" answer to that.  It really, so heavily, depends on what you hinge "value" and "values."

Which, is tangential to a question I have offered myself from time to time, for different reasons, "what are the moral implications of killing something that has no feelings?"
I am a warrior of ages, Anasurimbor. . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury. -Cet'ingira

Wilshire

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« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2018, 05:32:23 pm »
While a difficult question, I seriously doubt humans will concede that a created "enhanced" human is post-human, or any other term that implies 'not actually human'. Starting from human stock will safeguard whatever the result is, as calling it something else diminishes the achievement. Its an ego thing.

Even if a human jumped out of the testtube tomorrow with everything proposed in the article, I don't think labeling 'it' as anything other than human would stick.

And the reverse is true, imo, when starting with any non-human stock. Blade-runner scifi-androids with perfect Strong-AI, or whatever, might as well be rocks as far as most people are concerned. Historically people aren't very good at giving rights or moral imperative to non-human entities. TO answer you question 'moral implication' of damaging a non-feeling entity, the answer for most people is simply: none. Which is why its really important to make sure we never define animals as conscious/feeling/whatever else then they become indistinguishable from humans and we have to treat them as such. Wouldn't want that.
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« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2018, 05:47:18 pm »
While a difficult question, I seriously doubt humans will concede that a created "enhanced" human is post-human, or any other term that implies 'not actually human'. Starting from human stock will safeguard whatever the result is, as calling it something else diminishes the achievement. Its an ego thing.

But what if they decide that?  I.E. what if a "created" "post-Human" sues for rights?  Or what happens when created Humans simply out preform born humans?  Born humans would simply end up out, evolutionarily speaking, right?
I am a warrior of ages, Anasurimbor. . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury. -Cet'ingira

Wilshire

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« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2018, 06:07:26 pm »
Born humans would simply end up out, evolutionarily speaking, right?
Yup pretty much this. There won't ever be 'post'humans', just humans who take over the title and then whatever they were born from going the way of the neanderthal... or Emwama incarnate.

Even given that outcome, I'm all for it.
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TLEILAXU

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« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2018, 04:30:08 am »
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LRPD5, which builds adamantine bones
Couldn't find any information about this with google.
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ESPA1 (common in Tibetans), which allows people to live with less oxygen
It's actually called EPAS1. This one is actually pretty interesting because the variant of this gene in Tibetans comes from an extinct human species called Denisovans.
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In the first stage of his plan, Mason is combining human cells with a gene called Dsup, unique to the indestructible tardigrade, that suppresses DNA breaks from radiation.
That's pretty cool. Would be interesting to see what happens in these experiments.
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Mason’s less speculative research includes editing Deionococcus radiodurans, sometimes called “Conan the bacterium,” a polyextremophile that can survive cold, dehydration, acid, and very high levels of radiation, the last by rewriting its damaged chromosomes. Mason wants the microbe to live as flora on our skin or in our guts, or on the surfaces of spaceships, protecting us from the deadly rays of space. “The microbiome is an extraordinarily plastic thing,” he says.
How exactly is this supposed to help? As a shield or something?
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Harris Wang of Columbia wants to coax human kidney cells to synthesize the nine amino acids our bodies cannot make.
Yes! Also, as many vitamins and other co-factors etc.
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A human cell able to synthesize all the organic compounds needed for health would require around 250 new genes, but if our tissues were made of such cells, astronauts could thrive by drinking just sugar water, a liberating adaptation: Missions wouldn’t have to lug bulky food or send it on ahead.
You also need a source of nitrogen, metals etc. but the principle is the same.

While a difficult question, I seriously doubt humans will concede that a created "enhanced" human is post-human, or any other term that implies 'not actually human'. Starting from human stock will safeguard whatever the result is, as calling it something else diminishes the achievement. Its an ego thing.

But what if they decide that?  I.E. what if a "created" "post-Human" sues for rights?  Or what happens when created Humans simply out preform born humans?  Born humans would simply end up out, evolutionarily speaking, right?
Why would they? Imagine the possibility that all born humans were also born with some "enhancements". Also keep in mind that performance is always relative to the environment. Somebody suited for space-travel and living Mars will not be as suited for living on Earth.

Born humans would simply end up out, evolutionarily speaking, right?
Yup pretty much this. There won't ever be 'post'humans', just humans who take over the title and then whatever they were born from going the way of the neanderthal... or Emwama incarnate.

Even given that outcome, I'm all for it.
Well, Neanderthals kind of, went extinct lol. I'd view it more as early homo sapiens getting supplanted by newer homo sapiens.