Friday, February 22, 2008

My own crazy thought process

I thought that if these writers, and others, could use stream of consciousness to write all, or in this case most, of a book; then i should be able to do the same for a blog post. Lets see what happens.

This book talks a lot about genes, from Circle aborting her child because of a 75% chance of bad alleles, not any known problem just a chance, to all the talk about creating the perfect Barbie doll human. It all reminded me of this special i watched on the discovery channel about the possibility of bringing dinosaurs back to life. It went through early theories, like the one that brought about Jurassic Park, and concluded that these were all impossible. The focus then shifted to some newer accidental findings. Many researchers trying to learn about the genome use easy to find embryos to study, chickens. While looking at many of theses embryos the researchers would occasionally find anomalies in them, such as tails that were to long of the beginnings of teeth. This prompted research into the possibility of actually creating birds with teeth or really long tails, just like their supposed ancestors the dinosaurs. Which is all a bit cool. The research found that all the ancient genes from our ancestors are still in our DNA, they just need the right triggers to turn on. This made me think of all the crazy mixed creatures that have been created. The two i immediately think of are the liger and the tigon ( both actual creatures). These two are obviously both combinations of lions and tigers. The cool thing is the very large discrepancy in size. the genes controlling growth are inhibited in each case: for the liger the gene to stop growth is basically destroyed and so these cats grow to enormous sizes, while the tigon has the exact opposite problem and causes a smaller cat.

Why is any of this related to Vas? Because the shear size of our DNA, i would like to review you all to pages 202-225ish to see just one chromosome, any forceful change would just be stupidly hard. It just makes more sense to allow things to progress and see what happens.

Also the idea of evolution of not only body, but also morality. This is of course true and obvious. The tribesmen talked about in class thought of just one thing and that is survival. Like most animals in the world survival is of the utmost importance, or at least it was then. As people evolved, in body and mind, their ability to survive increased and so more ideas would develop,such as protecting the weak.. Altruism seems to be a very new idea in human history, probably from only a few thousand years ago. The earliest evidence of this i can think of is with the Ancient Egyptians. There is evidence that this great and powerful civilization took great care of its disabled. it could do this because of its power and ability to survive and protect itself. The idea of looking out for the week can also be seen in more primitive creatures. Elephants for example take great care of their young. this is most probably because of the very few offspring that can be produced at once and the time it takes for the young one to reach a point when it can protect itself. One of the most obvious depictions of this is shown in any good elephant documentary and that is the baby elephant getting stuck in a mud hole. Unlike many other herd animals of Africa, Elephants will all band together and attempt to save the youngster. if they succeed they are all visibly happy and if they fail then there is visible sadness as the herd tends to stand around in what looks like a moment of silence before somberly continuing on.

Sorry i really don't know where i was going with that at all. and oh year follow this link to a fun little Intelligence test.


Chris K. said...

"Because the shear size of our DNA, i would like to review you all to pages 202-225ish to see just one chromosome, any forceful change would just be stupidly hard. It just makes more sense to allow things to progress and see what happens."

Really? Doctors make very "forceful" changes to living humans every day. It's called gene therapy.

The Human Genome Project has also successfully sequenced all the ~25,000 genes in human DNA. Hell, many genes are even patented by bio labs.

And besides, none of us can wait to see what happens since evolution doesn't happen in just a few generations. If we want to see change in our lifetimes, we have to do it ourselves.

Lucia said...

I really like that you discuss the evolution of morality. It is very interesting what issues arise based on the affluence and stability of a society. In a third-world country, the issue of plastic surgery, gun control, same-sex marriage, abortion, and other "moral" issues in present-day America don't exist. It is hard care about blonder hair or a bigger bust if you don't know from where you will get your next meal.
In response to the previous comment, most gene therapy is in experimental stages and has not been approved by the FDA. In fact, it has faced many setbacks as many trial-patients have died as a result of the tests. There is something to be said about the fact that evolution takes place over millions and millions of years. "Foceful changes" seem as though they would disrupt this natural flow, and I think that is part of the message of this book.