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Artificial life created!

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clarke2001 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote clarke2001 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Artificial life created!
    Posted: May 21 2010 at 06:14
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Marty McFly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 21 2010 at 06:37

Oh, of course that life can be created, it's just a matter of chemistry. The problem is / was / will be that it's damn difficult.

The genome contains blueprints, in which are encoded the names of the researchers, a website address, contact email and quotes from James Joyce, Richard Feynman and a biography of Robert Oppenheimer.

Hey, this is serious.

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Even my cat believes that :-)
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Post Options Post Options   Quote PsYcHoTiC_MaDmAn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 21 2010 at 09:31
its not artificial life. its a publicity stunt naming it as so, designed to get a lot of hype around the bio-ethics of it, because scientists are "playing god"....

the only thing truly created here is the synthetic DNA (a feat they'd previously achieved) a truely synthetic cell would require the manufacture of the phospholipid bilayer, ribosome's, something along the lines of RNA polymerase, as well as the synthetic DNA.

this is essentially a development of cloning, a breakthrough, but not artificial life. and personally I dont see it as the huge breakthrough claimed, there are other methods of genetic engineering that are somewhat easier to do, (regarding claims for converting waste to fuel etc etc) such as the use of plasmids, which are already used to produce insulin

and whilst this might offend some people, the only people who really are going to take issue with this are religious nuts, to "play god", god has to exist first, but going down that route puts this more in the atheist thread.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote PsYcHoTiC_MaDmAn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 21 2010 at 11:51
been looking into this a bit more.

phospholipids are pretty easy to make - (comparatively anyway) phospholipids have been shown to form the lipid bilayers. the Miller-Urey experiment showed how easy they are to form.

ribosomes have been synthetically reproduced, reverse engineering them from existing ribosomes link

RNA polymerase has also been artificially produced link

with the ability to transcribe artificial DNA (the polymerase), and construct proteins (with the ribosomes) and enclose them in a synthetic phospholipid bilayer. that would be a truly synthetic cell

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Finnforest Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 21 2010 at 12:06
As long as they look like the Cylons I posted in the other alien thread, I'm all for itBig smile


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Post Options Post Options   Quote thellama73 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 21 2010 at 12:20
This is not actually artificial life, but I am quite nervous about the possibility of artificial life. I am not a particularly religious person, but I think the moral and ethical implications are pretty daunting. I oppose human cloning for the same reason. It's a slippery slope that we should be very careful about pursuing. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote PsYcHoTiC_MaDmAn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 21 2010 at 12:58
I've read more than a few stories on this, and the thing that keeps coming up is "ethics/morals". I cant see the implications in that sense.

yes, if used to create super-bio-weapons then there is an obvious ethical issue there, but otherwise its equal to genetic engineering/selective breeding.

for the time being this will be limited to simple prokaryotes, as the single circular chromosome is easier to work with. ethically, I dont think anyone really cares about the welfare of microbes, and without some form of sentience its not really possible to define suffering, whilst the most ardent environmentalist will mourn the loss of animals/plants, their unlikely to think twice about disinfecting a work surface.

obviously as this develops towards more intelligent forms of life, ethics to avoid unnecessary suffering are required. and conversely research shouldn't cause the suffering of other life forms. (such as the creation of pathogens)

I spent a bit of time thinking on this, and realised I have a slightly paradoxical if not hypocritical view on life in general. I think all life should be respected (not out of some daft notion that theres a soul, just that its alive) and this applies from microbes to multicellular organisms. the paradoxical nature of this however concerns pathogens. whilst obviously their bad in the sense they cause needless suffering/death of other organisms, without it there would be less cause for evolutionary change. so do you kill them, or not. I haven't quite worked out an answer for that,

regarding cloning, thats another grey issue for me, I dont see it as a negative thing in once sense, but feel its somewhat of a retrograde action, change is required for life to be life, cloning sort of invalidates it, however, cloning only involves genetic material, there is  a huge amount of change that could occur epigenetically, human cloning is more a social issue. so whilst I dont believe in a soul, what makes a person is more than just a genetic blueprint


Edited by PsYcHoTiC_MaDmAn - May 21 2010 at 13:02
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Post Options Post Options   Quote harmonium.ro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 21 2010 at 16:43
As long as they provide me with my own Angelina Jolie for private use, I'm happy. Approve
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Post Options Post Options   Quote stonebeard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 21 2010 at 16:47
Originally posted by thellama73

This is not actually artificial life, but I am quite nervous about the possibility of artificial life. I am not a particularly religious person, but I think the moral and ethical implications are pretty daunting. I oppose human cloning for the same reason. It's a slippery slope that we should be very careful about pursuing. 


It will take tens of generations if ever for people not to have an icky feeling about literally cloning people and having clones of people chilling around like it's The Island or something.

Besides, intelligent life is so ridiculously different than something alive it doesn't even matter.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote stonebeard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 21 2010 at 16:56
Originally posted by PsYcHoTiC_MaDmAn

I've read more than a few stories on this, and the thing that keeps coming up is "ethics/morals". I cant see the implications in that sense.

yes, if used to create super-bio-weapons then there is an obvious ethical issue there, but otherwise its equal to genetic engineering/selective breeding.

for the time being this will be limited to simple prokaryotes, as the single circular chromosome is easier to work with. ethically, I dont think anyone really cares about the welfare of microbes, and without some form of sentience its not really possible to define suffering, whilst the most ardent environmentalist will mourn the loss of animals/plants, their unlikely to think twice about disinfecting a work surface.

obviously as this develops towards more intelligent forms of life, ethics to avoid unnecessary suffering are required. and conversely research shouldn't cause the suffering of other life forms. (such as the creation of pathogens)

I spent a bit of time thinking on this, and realised I have a slightly paradoxical if not hypocritical view on life in general. I think all life should be respected (not out of some daft notion that theres a soul, just that its alive) and this applies from microbes to multicellular organisms. the paradoxical nature of this however concerns pathogens. whilst obviously their bad in the sense they cause needless suffering/death of other organisms, without it there would be less cause for evolutionary change. so do you kill them, or not. I haven't quite worked out an answer for that,

regarding cloning, thats another grey issue for me, I dont see it as a negative thing in once sense, but feel its somewhat of a retrograde action, change is required for life to be life, cloning sort of invalidates it, however, cloning only involves genetic material, there is  a huge amount of change that could occur epigenetically, human cloning is more a social issue. so whilst I dont believe in a soul, what makes a person is more than just a genetic blueprint


You have to embrace hypocrisy in issues like this. In taking a step, you're killing bacteria and organisms. You're not going to stop walking are you? One wouldn't pray for the souls or for forgiveness for killing bacteria, would they? No, people move on with their lives. There is no right answer. There is no should. But in general, it makes sense not to kill anything that would care about it. Unless it's human. Or cute. Or looks like a human....everyone's a hypocrite. It's the curse of humans.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote PsYcHoTiC_MaDmAn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 21 2010 at 17:03
Originally posted by stonebeard



You have to embrace hypocrisy in issues like this. In taking a step, you're killing bacteria and organisms. You're not going to stop walking are you? One wouldn't pray for the souls or for forgiveness for killing bacteria, would they? No, people move on with their lives. There is no right answer. There is no should. But in general, it makes sense not to kill anything that would care about it. Unless it's human. Or cute. Or looks like a human....everyone's a hypocrite. It's the curse of humans.


I know, however thinking on this subject did make me wonder about the whole bio-ethics thing. luckily not believing in souls/god means that I only have my own actions to justify to myself

I personally dont see what teh fuss is about. but others are warning of great dangers of the breakthrough.


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Post Options Post Options   Quote thellama73 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 21 2010 at 17:09
Originally posted by PsYcHoTiC_MaDmAn

Originally posted by stonebeard



You have to embrace hypocrisy in issues like this. In taking a step, you're killing bacteria and organisms. You're not going to stop walking are you? One wouldn't pray for the souls or for forgiveness for killing bacteria, would they? No, people move on with their lives. There is no right answer. There is no should. But in general, it makes sense not to kill anything that would care about it. Unless it's human. Or cute. Or looks like a human....everyone's a hypocrite. It's the curse of humans.


I know, however thinking on this subject did make me wonder about the whole bio-ethics thing. luckily not believing in souls/god means that I only have my own actions to justify to myself

I personally dont see what teh fuss is about. but others are warning of great dangers of the breakthrough.


For someone who claims to put no stock in religion, you sure do talk about God a lot.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote KoS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 21 2010 at 17:18
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Post Options Post Options   Quote PsYcHoTiC_MaDmAn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 21 2010 at 17:37
Originally posted by thellama73



For someone who claims to put no stock in religion, you sure do talk about God a lot.


the only times I've talked about religion are in the atheism thread, and on here.

given that there is a lot of press on this subject talking about playing god etc etc, it seems a valid point to discuss.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Henry Plainview Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 21 2010 at 22:28
Originally posted by thellama73

This is not actually artificial life, but I am quite nervous about the possibility of artificial life. I am not a particularly religious person, but I think the moral and ethical implications are pretty daunting. I oppose human cloning for the same reason. It's a slippery slope that we should be very careful about pursuing. 
I personally don't see any ethical concerns with cloning from a religious standpoint until we get to the point of human cloning, but that's so far off it doesn't even matter.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Triceratopsoil Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 21 2010 at 23:45
I can't wait to see the devout religious types freak out over absolutely nothing
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Bonnek Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 22 2010 at 03:12
Originally posted by HTCF

I can't wait to see the devout religious types freak out over absolutely nothing


Why should they worry?
Don't they say that the essence of our being is our "soul"?

Now, since that doesn't physically exist you can't clone it, nor construct its DNA.
So there's nothing for them to worry about. Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Marty McFly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 22 2010 at 05:36
^ Ultimate argument Bonnek, you got them :-)
There's a point where "avant-garde" and "experimental" becomes "terrible" and "pointless,"
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Slartibartfast Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 22 2010 at 09:11
Life is either life or it isn't.  Artifice doesn't even enter into the equation. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JJLehto Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 23 2010 at 13:05
As long as where not on the first step of a path to a Fear Factory-esque future...
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