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Rat Made SuperSmart: Similar Boost Unsafe in Humans?

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posted on Nov, 16 2009 @ 12:11 PM
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By modifying a single gene, scientists have made Hobbie-J the smartest rat in the world, a new study says.
A similar gene tweak might boost human brainpower too, but scientists warn that there is such a thing as being too smart for your own good.

Intelligent Redesign

When Hobbie-J was still an embryo, a team led by Joe Z. Tsien at the Medical College of Georgia injected her with genetic material that caused the overexpression of the gene NR2B, which helps control the rate at which brain cells communicate.

The change allowed Hobbie's brain cells to communicate for a whisker of a second longer than those of normal rats. This, the researchers believe, is why she's much smarter than the average rat.


How might this affect humans?

If NR2B can be manipulated in humans, scientists speculate that it could significantly help Alzheimer and Dementia patients. However, two obstacles may/may not be overcome. (1)it is unethical to genetically modify human embryo's and (2)scientists cannot determine what/how the impact of "mega-memory" would be for humans.

"There is a reason we forget," he said. "We are supposed to leave our bad experiences behind, so they do not haunt us."
For this reason, if a drug does become available for human use, Liu said he would only advocate its use in people suffering from significant mental problems such as Alzheimer's disease.
"The danger of extending memory in healthy people could be considerable" Liu said.


What do you think? advancement in medicine and benefit to population, a new tool to combat a debilitating mental disorder (or) dangerous genetic modification that could lead to untold problems?



Ed: fix link

[edit on 16-11-2009 by LadySkadi]




posted on Nov, 16 2009 @ 12:15 PM
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People talk about how the elites took coc aine years ago, while it was still not illegal, to help studying. Who knows what long term effects it had on them.

Same like these things, people will be able to pay for these treatments for themselves, to give them selfs extra boosts.

We are just at the beginning.

Do we really want 7 billion know it alls, and i bet we would all have different answers as we all live in our own worlds, lol.



posted on Nov, 16 2009 @ 12:16 PM
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reply to post by LadySkadi
 


Flowers for algernon?

I myself am always hesitant when science or medicine says it can improve us. The complexity of the human body seems to make us continuously rethink our approaches. So many things that have been done in the name of improving the species have backfired.

Solving alzhiemers I am for though

The thing about memory is sometimes we have to forget. Memories sometimes fade, and in the face of the atrocious this is a coping mechanism. I don't mean forget everything, but supermemory could be seen as a curse.



posted on Nov, 16 2009 @ 12:21 PM
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"We are supposed to forget, to leave the bad memories behind so they don't haunt us."

If that's the argument against increasing intelligence, then why don't we just drug the public into a stupor for the sake of happiness?

Hell, put it in the water!



posted on Nov, 16 2009 @ 12:55 PM
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I can just see it now. A whole generation of genetically engineered geniuses (genii?) who can remember everything they have ever read, but won't be able to tie their own shoes.

Of course they could always pay someone else to tie their shoes for them.
Where do I get in line?

[edit on 11/16/2009 by Sparky63]



posted on Nov, 16 2009 @ 01:35 PM
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reply to post by andy1033
 

You're right, I doubt that the ability to buy oneself the "drug" if it were available and if it worked, could be prevented. Money talks.



posted on Nov, 16 2009 @ 01:39 PM
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reply to post by Seiko
 

It's such a huge question mark... of course, medical advances that could improve the diagnosis for people with Alzheimer's and Dementia is a plus and something I fully support. I suppose that in drug form, manipulation could be controlled, to some extent and may be appropriate for certain populations. Manipulation of a gene at embryonic level is a whole different scenario and there is no way (that I can believe) that something on that level could be predicted and controlled.



posted on Nov, 16 2009 @ 01:48 PM
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how do you measure the smartness of a rat and how do you compare it to it's peers?

i think this stuff is fantastic, smarter, fitter, healthier humans that live a better quality of life, for longer on less resources should be the main aim of science.

otherwise, what is science for?



posted on Nov, 16 2009 @ 01:54 PM
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reply to post by Seiko
 


I thought "Flowers for Algernon" myself... We read that book in fifth grade and it scared the hell out of me. Of course at the time I was living with my grandmother who was degenerating quickly, so... Yeah.

My second thought? Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH.

Coming soon to a rose bush near you!



posted on Nov, 16 2009 @ 01:56 PM
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reply to post by pieman
 


Difficult to know for sure how intelligence is measured in Rats, but observation and task completion in comparison to other Rat-peers, seems to be the standard.

The lab rat can remember objects three times longer than her smartest kin, the study says. Thanks largely to this memory boost, she's also much better at solving complex tasks, such as traveling through mazes using only partial clues to find rewards—a key method for measuring rat intelligence.


[i think this stuff is fantastic, smarter, fitter, healthier humans that live a better quality of life, for longer on less resources should be the main aim of science. otherwise, what is science for?]

I can agree with the "idea" behind your sentiment (above) but I can't help but wonder how and in what way would science ensure that what we want to see happen, actually does... Genetic modifications... inherent in the concept is risk and uncontrollable outcomes, no?


[edit on 16-11-2009 by LadySkadi]



posted on Nov, 16 2009 @ 02:12 PM
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Originally posted by LadySkadi
inherent in the concept is risk and uncontrollable outcomes, no?


perhaps.... the latest studies suggest that genetics can be manipulated, pieces of genetic code might express, or not, depending on environmental factors. this is why twins are not always exactly identical.

if we can unlock the mechanism that causes this and manipulate it, we have the opportunity to suppress the action of genetic code that causes difficulty or to insert code and choose weather or not to then allow it to express.

fingers crossed.



posted on Nov, 16 2009 @ 02:18 PM
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"We are supposed to leave our bad experiences behind, so they do not haunt us."


If people are having to relive their past experiences they may not be able to function in society. But eventually they will overcome this period of grief and those that are able to readjust will be a much greater danger to society because they will at that point be completely desentitized to their basic human emotions.

If you've ever wondered how some people can be cold blooded killers and show no remorse whatsoever, wait until some of these "super human" mutants are unleashed onto the public.

Maybe these people will be the police force of the future?

[edit on 16-11-2009 by Alxandro]



posted on Nov, 16 2009 @ 02:20 PM
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Lol, we should keep our crappy memories because it would be detrimental.


Could you imagine if everyone had an Eidetic memory?

You could learn anything you want just by watching. You will remember every article, every book you've ever read word for word. Your learning curve would be increased exponentially. Everyone on earth would be transformed into pure genius. Anyone under 145 IQ would be considered mentally handicapped.

You could literally learn the entire sum of human knowledge.

Could you imagine what we could accomplish with that kind of power? Could you imagine what we would be capable of?

Could you imagine why they don't want to use it on everyone?
--------------------------
I'm not sure if this would give you an Eidetic memory, but from what I gathered that is what it does.



posted on Nov, 16 2009 @ 02:37 PM
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Sure they've shown one correlation but genes are more like puzzle pieces than keys, they don't just lock into one other piece. There are many effects of one gene changing. Add to that that 98% of DNA is thought to be"Junk DNA" even though they keep finding out that it in fact does stuff (the epigenome for instance) and there is no telling what the long-term effects of something like this could be. Basically this is why GM food has been shown to cause cancer, because there are unanticipated effects from genetic modification at our current level of knowledge.



posted on Nov, 16 2009 @ 03:14 PM
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reply to post by LadySkadi
 


So that's how Dick Cheney got so smart?!?!?


Oh wait, he's not in office anymore, it's less funny now.


I believe genetic tampering will be the downfall of society as a whole.

Over all, society can be corrupted through these practices, because even though the laboratories practice safe methods and measures, there will come a time when this science is manipulated via a man or woman with an agenda, and instead of splicing intelligence into the genes of a rat, they will splice something else more heinous into it which will only mutate and cannot be stopped.

I say nix the gene-splicing completely, because if we are not careful, we will become the next extinct do-do.

Tampering with the genetic make-up of DNA is far more dangerous not just because of the potential for wiping out a species, but because people in Washington D.C. will use it for a weapon.

Imagine a plague of these genetically altered rats, released as a weapon carrying bio-engineered plague, and they are far more intelligent than the average rats.

Genetic enhancement, cloning, and cross-breeding human body parts into pig bodies in order to replace body parts are all something that can dangerously get out of hand, because the black and white lines of society are greyed.

[edit on 16-11-2009 by SpartanKingLeonidas]



posted on Nov, 16 2009 @ 03:27 PM
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Originally posted by SpartanKingLeonidas
Tampering with the genetic make-up of DNA is far more dangerous not just because of the potential for wiping out a species, but because people in Washington D.C. will use it for a weapon.


like everything else, genetics seems easier to use destructively than it is to use it constructively. virus' use genetic modification to replicate themselves so, technically, the government can already use genetics as a weapon.

i don't think the possibility of negative uses for science is a good enough reason to avoid development.


Genetic enhancement, cloning, and cross-breeding human body parts into pig bodies in order to replace body parts are all something that can dangerously get out of hand, because the black and white lines of society are greyed.


do you think the black and white lines are a good thing. rich/poor, healthy/unhealthy, smart/stupid, contented/oppressed, obese/hungry. seems like grey would be preferable.



posted on Nov, 16 2009 @ 03:38 PM
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The most important question here is this, "Did they name the rat Willard?"
That would be the icing on the cake.



posted on Nov, 16 2009 @ 03:39 PM
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Originally posted by pieman

Originally posted by SpartanKingLeonidas
Tampering with the genetic make-up of DNA is far more dangerous not just because of the potential for wiping out a species, but because people in Washington D.C. will use it for a weapon.


like everything else, genetics seems easier to use destructively than it is to use it constructively. virus' use genetic modification to replicate themselves so, technically, the government can already use genetics as a weapon.

i don't think the possibility of negative uses for science is a good enough reason to avoid development.


Genetic enhancement, cloning, and cross-breeding human body parts into pig bodies in order to replace body parts are all something that can dangerously get out of hand, because the black and white lines of society are greyed.


do you think the black and white lines are a good thing. rich/poor, healthy/unhealthy, smart/stupid, contented/oppressed, obese/hungry. seems like grey would be preferable.


Well, I wholeheartedly disagree with you on the negative side not being enough.

There is far more danger to the negative side then the positive establishment of curing a disease by tampering with the genetic make-up of the DNA.

The black and white lines I was referring to was in the ethics of science and gene splicing, not social issues like being rich verses being poor, or healthy verses not being healthy, and while they are societal issues, they are not exactly the same as wiping out a species via genetic manipulation and breeding in blonde hair and blue eyes.

While I understand eugenics, bio-engineering diseases, and gene-splicing, I am adamantly opposed to any and all forms of mutating a society via a petri dish.

Sorry, how many times must the line drawn in the sand be brushed over with a foot and one step taken further into madness before society has had enough of science in manipulating the species?

There has to be a line drawn, that will never be crossed, circumvented, or bought through political election, or else we will make ourselves extinct, while trying in vain to play God with our own genes and living forever.


Careful the monsters you hunt, lest you become one yourself.



posted on Nov, 16 2009 @ 03:43 PM
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Like anything its far easier to destroy than create. They have messed up gm foods, now they are trying the dice with peoples dna.

I wonder what things like harrrp do?



posted on Nov, 16 2009 @ 03:44 PM
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reply to post by LadySkadi
 


To me this sounds like the story "Flowers for Algernon"


Charlie Gordon has an IQ of 68 and works a menial job which his uncle had secured for him 17 years previously so that Charlie would not have to be sent to an institution, the Warren State Home. Wanting to improve himself, Charlie attends reading and writing classes at the Beekman College Center for Retarded Adults; his instructor is Alice Kinnian, a young, attractive woman. Professor Nemur and Doctor Strauss, two Beekman researchers, are looking for a human subject on whom they can test an experimental surgical technique for increasing intelligence. They have already performed the surgery on a mouse named Algernon, leading to a dramatic improvement in his mental performance. Based on Alice's recommendation and his own motivation to learn, Charlie is picked to undergo the surgery.

The procedure is a success and, three months later, Charlie's IQ has reached 185. However, as his intelligence, education and understanding of the world around him increases, his relationships with people deteriorate. His coworkers at his job, who used to amuse themselves at his expense, are now scared and resentful of his increased intelligence and he is fired as a result. Charlie also embarks on a troubled romance with Alice; even though they develop strong feelings for each other, he is prevented from having a physical relationship by the spectre of a younger Charlie whom the older Charlie feels is always watching. Unable to get close to Alice, Charlie starts a purely sexual relationship with Fay Lillman, a vivacious and promiscuous artist.

Charlie discovers a flaw in the theories that led Nemur and Strauss to develop their intelligence-enhancing procedure. Shortly thereafter, Algernon starts behaving erratically, loses his new intelligence, and dies. As Charlie does further research, he determines that he too will inevitably revert to his old condition.


en.wikipedia.org...

Err...Seiko beat me to it.


[edit on 16-11-2009 by Nutter]




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