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Are Genetically Modified Humans The Next Space Race?

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posted on Apr, 11 2016 @ 10:20 PM
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In 2012, CRISPR molecules, which occur naturally and are used by microbes to edit their own DNA, were successfully repurposed to remove and replace DNA in a human cell. In 2015, a group of Chinese scientists became the first to genetically modify a human zygote using CRISPR technology. And Western scientists were shocked, absolutely appalled, I say!

However, another study out of China was released last week, wherein a different group of geneticists made modest gains in their results. The response from the Western scientific community this time around was a lot more ambivalent.

Triponuclear zygotes were used in the study, which occur naturally in 1-4% of pregnancies. Basically, when an egg is fertilized by sperm from two different donors, it gets three sets of chromosomes. These zygotes aren’t viable (you can see where this is headed), and gestation is halted early in the pregnancy.

Various groups in China have been experimenting with CRISPR editing in zygotes since 2015, and have refined their ability to precisely target particular genes, but as of the most recent study, there’s still a failure rate of 85%. Of the small number of viable specimens, several exhibited unintended mutations. Toggle one gene, and you can set off a chain of changes throughout multiple sequences.



But a 15%< success rate is still seen as enough of a hopeful result for Great Britain to greenlight genetic testing on zygotes last February. America might get a piece of the action, too. In December of 2015, the International Summit of Gene Editing (which includes a number of American geneticists among its members) pretty much gave the big thumbs up to gene editing in humans, with the sole proviso that the zygote should not be—ahem—implanted.

In fact, several conferences have been convened in the West recently to discuss the ethical ramifications of genetically modifying humans. The risk of passing on mutations to offspring in an uncontrolled environment seems to be topping the charts, but another major concern centers around the concept of personhood, which America defines very differently from China:


“Confucian thinking says that someone becomes a person after they are born. That is different from the United States or other countries with a Christian influence, where because of religion they may feel research on embryos is not O.K.”


The Chinese have thoroughly addressed concerns about passing on mutations, and it boils down to, “we don’t use viable zygotes”. But let’s read between the lines here:


Chinese scientists adhere to globally accepted ethical and scientific norms, said Ms. Zhai, the medical ethics committee member..

But many scientists experience pressure not to do so, she acknowledged.

“Inside China, there are people who are opposed to international standards, citing cultural differences,” Ms. Zhai said. “This force is actually quite powerful sometimes.”


It could be that she’s referring to the State putting the squeeze on Chinese scientists. Depending on the amount of pressure, it’s safe to say that testing with diploid zygotes might be on the cards.

The pros here are obvious, especially to people suffering from genetic diseases and their loved ones. The cons include the uncontrolled spread of engineered traits, the creation of a genetic overclass, clones for parts, etc…

I know it's ridiculous given the gravity of the topic, but the biggest pro in my book is that genetic modification is probably the only way long-duration space travel will be possible. After all, no one wants to end up like this guy:



What do you guys think?


edit on 11-4-2016 by Spookytraction because: (no reason given)




posted on Apr, 11 2016 @ 10:42 PM
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a reply to: Spookytraction

I think you have come up with a highly plausible and exciting conspiracy theory. If your follow-up is as good as the OP, you may have a hit on your hands. Maybe even a career!

A star and flag for your efforts.



posted on Apr, 11 2016 @ 10:50 PM
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a reply to: Astyanax

Thanks, that is a tremendous compliment coming from you.

My concern is that when the impetus driving the research is to outpace economic/military competitors, it's bound to get sloppy, fast. What are your thoughts?



posted on Apr, 11 2016 @ 11:34 PM
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a reply to: Spookytraction

Sadly, I don't believe human cloning or the genetic modification of humans will ever be achieved.


edit on 11/4/16 by Astyanax because: of Superman



posted on Apr, 11 2016 @ 11:44 PM
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a reply to: Astyanax

Given the current technical limitations, maybe not. But it won't be for lack of trying (or funding).



posted on Apr, 11 2016 @ 11:50 PM
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a reply to: Spookytraction

I agree genetic manipulation could indeed create a race adapted for space travel. Two features I can think of that would be handy. Self repairing DNA we have observed this in labs already. And increasing the life span by a couple of hundred years.



posted on Apr, 11 2016 @ 11:52 PM
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originally posted by: Astyanax
a reply to: Spookytraction

Sadly, I don't believe human cloning or the genetic modification of humans will ever be achieved.



I'd guess it's already been done by now do you think research stopped with cloning a sheep. If it was done of course this would be kept secret imagine the backlash it would cause people were upset over the sheep.



posted on Apr, 12 2016 @ 02:44 AM
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a reply to: dragonridr

THERE is a conspiracy theory that postulates Greys are us from the future.



posted on Apr, 12 2016 @ 03:15 AM
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originally posted by: cavtrooper7
a reply to: dragonridr

THERE is a conspiracy theory that postulates Greys are us from the future.


It would explain a lot wouldn't it.



posted on Apr, 12 2016 @ 03:42 AM
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a reply to: Spookytraction

I think I once started a thread here on the concept that alien abduction experiences might be implanted cover memories for interventions of top secret experimentation, possibly done by the government, for creating an ideal astronaut for space travel.

I was once contacted by a man who was writing a book on his hypothesis that these were cover memories of that sort, saying what he had found in his own research was that people who had these experiences repeatedly had parents, or grandparents, that were in the military and had been used in some sort of experimentation. His thinking was that they were following up on the offspring of the subjects to study how the effects continued to evolve as they are passed down genetically.

I think all kinds of testing with genetic modification could have been done, and it only makes sense to me that keeping tabs on way genes mutate through generations as well, would be done. There would be ethical concerns though, if it is found that tests on one person (perhaps with their voluntary knowledge) effected their children- who didn't give any consent to be test subjects. This would obligate them to keep a veil of secrecy around it, like they did with MKUltra.

It doesn't seem far fetched at all, I find myself thinking, hell, if I was a scientist, I would be all over this work!

-And even with newer techniques and experimentation, if you already a bunch of human guinea pigs, and an established covert operation for working on them, why would you care about what is legal and what isn't at this point?
So many things to work on, for so many uses! We want someone who can stand the long flight to Mars? Would it be nice to have people who had a sort of genetic disposition or ability to put themselves into a sort of hybernation state, in which they can slow down their vital functions at will?
That's just one benefit to search for, off the top of my head.
I would be surprised if such manipulation isn't already happening covertly.



edit on 12-4-2016 by Bluesma because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 12 2016 @ 09:54 AM
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a reply to: dragonridr


I'd guess it's already been done by now

Possibly it has. My point is rather that other factors besides technology render it unlikely. Social ones, for example.

Anyway, I don’t propose to debate the point and derail the OP’s fascinating thread.



posted on Apr, 12 2016 @ 11:00 AM
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"I Think I'm A Clone Now"

Isn't it strange
Feels like I'm lookin' in the mirror
What would people say
If only they knew that I was

Part of some geneticist's plan (plan-plan-plan)
Born to be a carbon copy man (man-man-man)
There in a petri dish late one night
They took a donor's body cell and fertilized a human egg and so I say

I think I'm a clone now
There's always two of me just a-hangin' around
I think I'm a clone now
'Cause every chromosome is a hand-me-down

Look at the way
We go out walking close together
I guess you could say
I'm really beside myself

I still remember how it began (gan-gan-gan)
They produced a carbon copy man (man-man-man)
Born in a science lab late one night
Without a mother or a father, just a test tube and a womb with a view

I think I'm a clone now (a clone now)
There's always two of me just a-hangin' around
I think I'm a clone now (a clone now)
'Cause every chromosome is a hand-me-down

I think I'm a clone now (a clone now)
And I can stay at home while I'm out of town
I think I'm a clone now (a clone now)
'Cause every pair of genes is a hand-me-down

Signing autographs for my fans
Come and meet the carbon copy man
Livin' in stereo, it's all right
Well I can be my own best friend and I can send myself for pizza so I say

I think I'm a clone now
Another one of me's always hangin' around
I think I'm a clone now
'Cause every chromosome is a hand-me-down

I think I'm a clone now (a clone now)
I've been on Oprah Winfrey - I'm world renowned
I think I'm a clone now (a clone now)
And every pair of genes is a hand-me-down

I think I'm a clone now (a clone now)
That's my genetic twin always hangin' around
I think I'm a clone now (a clone now)
'Cause every chromosome is a hand-me-down

I think I'm a clone now (a clone now)



posted on Apr, 12 2016 @ 11:06 AM
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originally posted by: Bluesma
a reply to: Spookytraction

I was once contacted by a man who was writing a book on his hypothesis that these were cover memories of that sort, saying what he had found in his own research was that people who had these experiences repeatedly had parents, or grandparents, that were in the military and had been used in some sort of experimentation. His thinking was that they were following up on the offspring of the subjects to study how the effects continued to evolve as they are passed down genetically.



Hi Bluesma, thanks for a fascinating contribution. While it would be foolish to think that there aren't private concerns tinkering with GM tech under the radar, the tools we would have had back when the MILs were in full swing wouldn't have been up to the task of fine-grained editing. Not only that, but even now the products of such testing aren't genetically stable, and even with the cutting edge tech coming out of China, gene editing in adults is still a long way off. And finally, I know the US military is capable of some very stupid and shady stuff, but allowing their catch-and-release test subjects to pass along their (potentially unstable) chromosomes all willy-nilly is very, very unlikely.



posted on Apr, 12 2016 @ 11:06 AM
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originally posted by: cavtrooper7
a reply to: dragonridr

THERE is a conspiracy theory that postulates Greys are us from the future.
More than that, it states we should always look up to see their UFOs. Time travelers from the stars and the future, but what if...

What if as in your average every day, its a dodge, a slight of hand, to throw you off from the real story....

It has been proven way beyond a reasonable doubt that we are not, never were, alone. We as a species, as a race, dont even know for certain where we came from. And looking at all the research and OOpa's that clearly show technology, it is not unreasonable to deduce, we, may in fact be that next space race (species) created in self ignorance to further a unknown agenda. Hell, for all we really know, all life forms may ultimately be, GMOs.

Just as humanity didn't create electricity or nuclear power, or DNA, we certainly didn't create genetic manipulation. We just stumbled upon it, figured it out, and try to use it in some capacity. Looking at the complexities of the universe and the extreme timelines involved it again would not be out of the realm of possibilities that someone in the deep past, if not in our own galaxy but one not far off, or even right below our own feet, could have accomplished these same achievements.

It is absolutely unimaginable to me that we are the sole intelligence in this vast reality we call the "Universe".



posted on Apr, 12 2016 @ 11:16 AM
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originally posted by: Spookytraction


Hi Bluesma, thanks for a fascinating contribution. While it would be foolish to think that there aren't private concerns tinkering with GM tech under the radar, the tools we would have had back when the MILs were in full swing wouldn't have been up to the task of fine-grained editing. Not only that, but even now the products of such testing aren't genetically stable, and even with the cutting edge tech coming out of China, gene editing in adults is still a long way off.


Well, perhaps I didn't say it clearly- what I meant was not that such sorts of GM were already being done back then, but that if there is a history of covert experimentation, an effective system and "pool" of potential subjects available already, then the legal questions would be easy to ignore as irrelevant. (Perhaps I misunderstood the direction of the topic, in referring to the different ethical concerns and laws in the US versus China?)




And finally, I know the US military is capable of some very stupid and shady stuff, but allowing their catch-and-release test subjects to pass along their (potentially unstable) chromosomes all willy-nilly is very, very unlikely.


But, how do you propose they might control what the subjects do or not afterwards? Sterilization or something?

They didn't control the reproductive behaviors of the subjects used in MKUltra, even though various drugs with unknown effects were used on both men and women.
edit on 12-4-2016 by Bluesma because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 12 2016 @ 11:26 AM
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originally posted by: Bluesma

Well, perhaps I didn't say it clearly- what I meant was not that such sorts of GM were already being done back then, but that if there is a history of covert experimentation, an effective system and "pool" of potential subjects available already, then the legal questions would be easy to ignore as irrelevant. (Perhaps I misunderstood the direction of the topic, in referring to the different ethical concerns and laws in the US versus China?)



Okay, I savvy. In the OP, I was pointing to the fact that the mainstream American scientific community appears to be softening their ethical stance in response to the progress made in China. If you draw the same conclusion that I have, which is that Chinese researchers are being coerced by the state to proceed against their own ethical objections, it's easy to imagine U.S. interests treating research that should be conducted in a slow, highly controlled manner as a race against the Chinese. As you say, given our military's record with illegal human experimentation, that doesn't seem like much of a stretch.



But, how do you propose they might control what the subjects do or not afterwards? Sterilization or something?


Perpetual confinement or sterilization, you got it.



posted on Apr, 12 2016 @ 09:54 PM
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a reply to: Spookytraction

CRISPR: hilarious!

Has our society out-stripped our biology's ability to miss-understand its change requests?

WTF!



Me:


Human biological systems don't deal in ambiguity.


Sorry!

That's not true.

Our cells excel at ambiguity.

Apologies,








edit on 12-4-2016 by Bybyots because:




posted on Apr, 12 2016 @ 09:57 PM
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a reply to: Spookytraction

According to the bible, god genetically modified the first man thousands of years ago... if you believe that sort of thing!



posted on Apr, 13 2016 @ 01:07 AM
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From an open minded and well informed perspective, i believe that genetic modification for medical purposes would be extreme beneficial. however you would need global set rules on just how much you can modify.

But you can 100 percent garuntee that like movies / stories, that black market modifications would occur on both criminal and mainstream civilian level.

which would lead to a whole new level of policing to combat illegal modifications.

Now. being a conspiracy / information site.. theres a million discussions that could be had on various topics all leading to this. for instance. someone mentioned god genetically created us. someone might then say.. well hey if god created us in his image, which was somewhat perfect.. why do we have all these imperfections....

Well then you could say along the same track. that of course there was already other humans around. which is how. apart from assuming massive incest.. would attribute for the sudden explosion of people.

Assuming such is true.. and assuming in this case that god was probably an alien who created the perfect beings. then we should assume that the other humans were created by other aliens... (enter all the possible alien types).
Now assuming all of the above. would it make complete sense that the reason we experienced all these random changes / defects / diseases / maladys of the body... that it was probably caused by the genetic mismatch of the various human types.

Therefore. if one could determine what the original.. or feasibly perfect human was.. then perhaps we should all be modified appropriately and be done with it..

But no that wouldnt happen.. due to differences / diversity / government control / behind the scenes bigwigs.. everyone always has their own views.

now before i slip down a path even further in genetic modification.. I personally would love if someone could alter my body and take out the bad stuff that makes me sick long term.. but otherwise i would be happy with myself.

in the end tho.. in regards to talking about space.. it made me think of an Anime show i watched once. where earth was pretty much all water, and mostly abandoned cept for those surviving on ships... however other humans also lived in space fighting battles with a alien race, not even remembering earth existed.. till an event causes the two existence to collide and rediscover the past.

so the question will always be.. whats the limit to it all. and who will control / enforce it.




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