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originally posted by: Navarro
Is it possible to manipulate an active gene in order to make it dormant? If so, would that process involve the addition of data? If so, would it be possible to stipulate the half-life of the nucleotides specific to that additional data, without reducing the halflife of the nucleotides involved in the genes themselves? Could the nucleotides in question be made to degrade within a period less than a human lifespan?
In essense, I'm wondering if a bacteria or virus could be engineered in such a way as to plan it's evolution for biological warfare purposes. I'll give an example of what precisely I'm imagining:
Consider a pathogen contained within a resilient shell, capable of thriving in both warm and cold climates and temperatures. One that can travel on particles of dust, and survive in water. One that's particularly infectious to a variety of animal, including humans and livestock. Imagine that it's transmission rate is thus high, but the pathogen produces no symptoms, leaving it to appear benign. Some years later the nucleotides which identify its dormant genes as dormant degrade, activating its genes in reserve, producing a scheduled and planned evolution. Imagine next that those active genes generate symptoms which produce rapid fatality, and other genes resistant to antibiotics. A cascade of death then ensues.
Is this possible given our current level of understanding?
originally posted by: reldra
I believe that all the questions you ask are possible, if not already being done.
originally posted by: intrptr
a reply to: Navarro
If you're talking about weaponizing a strain of virulent disease to make it more virulent, they select the most horrific kinds with the most virulent traits to begin with.
Being dormant for long periods isn't one of those traits, they want it easily spread but short lived outside the body. Airborne can come back to bite, remaining in the soil where diseased bodies were buried for decades.
Thats why their ain't no life on Monkey Island.
"Russia has researched the genetic alteration of smallpox," Alibek told me. "In 1990 and 1991, we engineered a smallpox at Vector. It was found that several areas of the smallpox genome" -- the DNA -- "can be used for the introduction of some foreign genetic material. The first development was smallpox and VEE. VEE, or Venezuelan equine encephalitis, is a brain virus. It causes a severe headache and near-coma, but it is generally not lethal. Alibek said that the researchers spliced VEE into smallpox. The result was a recombinant chimera virus. In ancient Greek myth, the chimera was a monster made from parts of different animals. Recombination means the mixing of genes from different organisms. "It is called smallpox-VEE chimera," Alibek said. It could also be called Veepox. Under a microscope, Alibek said, the Veepox looks like smallpox, but it isn't.
More recently, Alibek claims, the Vector researchers may have created a recombinant Ebola-smallpox chimera. One could call it Ebolapox. Ebola virus uses the molecule RNA for its genetic code, whereas smallpox uses DNA. Alibek believes that the Russian researchers made a DNA copy of the disease-causing parts of Ebola, then grafted them into smallpox. Alibek said he thinks that the Ebolapox virus is stable -- that is, that it will replicate successfully in a test tube or in animals -- which means that, once created, Ebolapox will live forever in a laboratory, and will not uncreate itself. Thus a new form of life may have been brought into the world.
In essence, I was imagining the work of a mad scientist intent on purging the Earth of humanity, or killing as many as possible in that attempt. Alternately, a government produced Doomsday Weapon. Or perhaps a pathogen of rapid global genocide, where the assailant would inoculate those its regards as worthy of life prior to unleashing it on the world. Massive population reduction for instance.
originally posted by: syrinx high priest
antibiotics are doing the job already
I was hoping for a unique and certain method though. Something that spreads like a rumor, behaves as innocent as a kitten, is as patient as a crocodile, yet suddenly pounces like a cheetah, and attacks with the ferocity of a black bear