US scientists close to creating artificial life

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Reply Thu 24 Jan, 2008 07:53 pm
From Agence France-Presse

by Jean-Louis Santini


WASHINGTON (AFP) - US scientists have taken a major step toward creating the first ever artificial life form by synthetically reproducing the DNA of a bacteria, according to a study published Thursday.

The move, which comes after five years of research, is seen as the penultimate stage in the endeavour to create an artificial life form based entirely on a man-made DNA genome -- something which has tantalised scientists and sci-fi writers for years.

Read Full text here >>
 
ogden
 
Reply Sun 27 Jan, 2008 12:13 pm
@Pythagorean,
Hi Pythagorean,

Do you think this is a breach of some sacred boundary of sorts? I agree it seems strange and scary because we don't know the outcome. I'm frightened by the posible neferious applications of any powerfull science. Is it true that this science could lead to something just as great as it could evil?

Think about how Marry Shelly scared us all with "Frankentien", electricity was new and scarry back then, but now its really great. Atomic energy has been used to do great harm, but used safely, it can be a great power source. What about nuclear medicine? Should we really try to shut down scientific learning in areas that have potential for harm or should we rationally examin the risks and benifits and regulate the activity accordingly?

I guess pandoras box should never be opened, but how will we know when weve found it?
 
Pythagorean
 
Reply Sun 27 Jan, 2008 02:55 pm
@ogden,
ogden wrote:


Should we really try to shut down scientific learning in areas that have potential for harm or should we rationally examin the risks and benifits and regulate the activity accordingly?

I guess pandoras box should never be opened, but how will we know when weve found it?


Hello, Ogden.

I don't know what to do. It kind of reminds me of the stem cell debates or the cloning debate. It seems we've eaten from the tree of knowledge and I don't see how these sensitive areas can be regulated over the long term since someone will eventually see their advantage from producing these monsters and let them loose on the world. How do you put the genie back in the bottle?

Having said that, I think world wide regulation should definitely be put in place. The U.N. and the EU should be brought on board with some strict regulatory laws. We could at least attempt to limit any potential nefarious impications.

Knowing the history of man we should probably prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
-
 
Aedes
 
Reply Sun 27 Jan, 2008 03:53 pm
@Pythagorean,
My take is that we can use anything ethically and anything unethically. It's not about the technology, it's about the application. I'm all for creating bacteria that can metabolize the hydrocarbons in plastic or that have such great photosynthetic activity that they can reclaim oceanic and atmospheric carbon dioxide.
 
Lync
 
Reply Mon 28 Jan, 2008 11:44 am
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:
My take is that we can use anything ethically and anything unethically. It's not about the technology, it's about the application. I'm all for creating bacteria that can metabolize the hydrocarbons in plastic or that have such great photosynthetic activity that they can reclaim oceanic and atmospheric carbon dioxide.


I concur...though I think molecular biologists are quite a ways off from such sophisticated organisms. Manipulation of extant organisms (which already have the whole survival game figured out..) for such uses is far easier and already being widely pursued. I think the goal of this latest development is to create "from scratch" a self-sustaining organism that can survive in pristine laboratory conditions. It's an interesting technological advance, and potentially very useful for studying biological systems, but I don't think it's revolutionary in terms of the ethical/philosophical debate.
 
ltdaleadergt
 
Reply Tue 12 Feb, 2008 08:56 am
@Pythagorean,
I hope such research ends now! I personally hate the idea of me being alive with the same memory and body just not my body but my made body. You may laugh and say but this thread did not mentioned anything about human duplication but I am sure if they continued and continued they would reach it!. This sound funny now but I am sure if in 1800 you said that in 200 years time you well have flying machine weighig 50 Indian war elephant every one would laugh at you! But look now we got space craft weight 4 times of thus 50 indian elephants!
 
dancinginchains
 
Reply Sat 23 Feb, 2008 08:58 pm
@ogden,
ogden wrote:

Think about how Marry Shelly scared us all with "Frankentien", electricity was new and scarry back then, but now its really great. Atomic energy has been used to do great harm, but used safely, it can be a great power source. What about nuclear medicine? Should we really try to shut down scientific learning in areas that have potential for harm or should we rationally examin the risks and benifits and regulate the activity accordingly?


It wasn't electricity that made Frankenstein so terrifying, I'm sure even back then. The usage of electricity, which indeed was new in those days, was no doubt a smaller variable that enhanced how terrifying the novel was but the greater horror lied in the story's social commentary. It is fitting though that you mention Frankenstein because the underlying commentary within this timeless masterpiece does pertain quite closely to the issue of artificial life, especially now.
 
the thinker
 
Reply Sun 8 Jun, 2008 12:30 am
@dancinginchains,
I don't have a problem with artificial life, but at this point in time, I'm worried about what the outcome could be. It's like if a five year old were to find a chemestry set and just started playing with it, not knowing what it was or what it did, just thinking, wow, this is cool. We don't really know what we're getting in to at this point in time, and once we start walking into this territory, there'll be no going back. We need to tread carefully until we know the situation and the territory we're going in. It's just not smart to go into a crazy jungle without a map.
 
equation
 
Reply Sat 14 Jun, 2008 03:41 am
@ltdaleadergt,
<daleader> wrote:
I hope such research ends now! I personally hate the idea of me being alive with the same memory and body just not my body but my made body. You may laugh and say but this thread did not mentioned anything about human duplication but I am sure if they continued and continued they would reach it!. This sound funny now but I am sure if in 1800 you said that in 200 years time you well have flying machine weighig 50 Indian war elephant every one would laugh at you! But look now we got space craft weight 4 times of thus 50 indian elephants!


well my friend, i am a believer of the creator too. we cannot deny that we cannot create if we are created, nor can we deny that we should not create when we can create. if we are created as an existence so intelligent by a creator then we can create existence so intelligent.
there is no bars of good and evil in here.
 
equation
 
Reply Sat 14 Jun, 2008 03:49 am
@equation,
i have FAITH, and i have faith in science. and this is one of the greatest achievement of humanity. i have no fear of any kind out of it.
 
boagie
 
Reply Sat 14 Jun, 2008 08:37 am
@equation,
:)WE HAVE BECOME GODS, THE OVERMAN ARE WE, IT IS TIME FOR A NEW WORLD ORDER!!!------------ANOTHER NICE MESS YOU'VE GOTTEN US INTO STANLEY!!:p IS THERE, IS THERE ANYONE, AT THE HELM!!:eek:
 
Zetetic11235
 
Reply Wed 18 Jun, 2008 01:30 am
@boagie,
Science is man's greatest tool, in it is the key for us to master the physical universe one baby step or magnificent leap at a time. That stem cell research is not unrestricted and heavily funded is atrocious, almost as much so as public ignorance relating to it. If we do not claim and corner these technologies, others will. We could potentially be curing whole hosts of diseases should stem cell research work, not to mention the number of organ that could be created. By mastering the physical universe and only through this mastery, man ensures his survival aside form self-destruction. Science is a process by which man systematically masters the physical universe and the olny such process which actually acheives its desired ends, though a few undesired ones come out as well.
 
 

 
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