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Bio-Engineering: The Future of everything we make

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posted on Nov, 21 2010 @ 03:44 PM
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Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Nov. 21, 2010) — Researcher Jean-Paul Meijnen has 'trained' bacteria to convert all the main sugars in vegetable, fruit and garden waste efficiently into high-quality environmentally friendly products such as bioplastics.


There have been many successful experiments done with bacteria to convert all kinds of things into usable materials and fuels. I believe the future of plastics, hydrocarbon fuels, and other synthetic materials lies in bio-engineering.

Example:
BIOENGINEERED SPIDER SILK

AMHERST, Mass.(1/6/96)- Scientists have long envied the strength and elasticity of spider's silk, but have been unable to synthesize it. Now researchers at the University of Massachusetts report progress in creating spider's silk using genetic engineering techniques.
Dragline silk is the fiber from which spiders make the scaffolding of their webs. It has been estimated by scientists to be at least five times as strong as steel, twice as elastic as nylon, waterproof and stretchable.

"Dragline spider silk is actually stronger than Kevlar synthetic fiber- and Kevlar is several times stronger than steel," says polymer scientist David Tirrell who wrote a review for the journal Science describing the current research of several groups around the country trying to replicate the properties of spider silk. Tirrell is well-known for his research in "bioengineered materials," a new area of polymer research involving the creation of synthetic proteins to make materials with advanced properties.


This is just another facet of how bio-engineering can work. Imagine these bioplastics and bio-engineered fibers, like the one above, can create super strong yet super light body armor, windows, sunglasses, clothing, safety equipment...A whole slew of possibilities are available to us via this great technology.
edit on 21-11-2010 by projectvxn because: Edit title.




posted on Nov, 21 2010 @ 04:04 PM
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its another step for science lets hope its only used for good



posted on Nov, 21 2010 @ 04:18 PM
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"Training bacteria," now there's 2 words I wouldn't expect to be so close together in one sentence.
Man, this tech coupled with nano-tech is really going to change our world.
Found an interesting paper on the potential uses of bioengineering, very cool!

Cool new ideas in biotech and bioengineering

• Brain-machine interfaces
Remote control rat

• Artificial organs
Using integrated circuit technology to print neural circuits

• Diagnosing diseases by smell
Artificial nose

• Cell therapy
Bacteria and viruses genetically engineered to poison cancer cells

• Nanotechnology
Self-assembling tubes that kill bacteria by poking holes in their membranes

www.stanford.edu...

The advancement of tech these days is amazing and makes for exciting times. Throw in the singularity principal and wow, get ready for some hyper leaps into our future.
Cool stuff projectvxn


Peace,
spec



posted on Nov, 22 2010 @ 01:37 AM
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I studied engineering in university, and I've felt for a long time that biological engineering has the most untapped potential of any of the engineering fields. Some of this may be because my knowledge of the biological sciences is less than that of the other sciences. However, I still think this is the case. We've had a reasonably solid understanding of physics, for instance, for a very long time, particularly classical physics. There have, of course, been changes and additions, but even a century ago, we had a decent knowledge of kinematics, calculus, electromagnetism, and so on; most advances in modern physics have been in quantum mechanics. A century ago, we didn't even know what DNA was, to name one biological example.

Also, for better or worse, there are many ethical and legal issues that slow or prevent research in biological fields. Some of this is good (like making sure new drugs are safe, even though it takes years) and some of this is downright detrimental to discovery, at least in my opinion. (like bans on stem cell research)



posted on Nov, 22 2010 @ 01:49 AM
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The problem with bioengineering, as it has arisen in my lifetime, is that our bioengineers are only focusing on specific objectives and specific results, and they're not taking into consideration the fact that extant organisms have evolved over hundreds of millions of years, inseparably intermeshed with the Earthly biosphere.

That is to say, you can't just take a bacterium that has evolved for 700 million years eating methane and "train" (reprogram) it to eat something else without unraveling an extraordinarily complex piece of the Earth's environmental tapestry.

It's about as close to introducing an extraterrestrial organism into our ecosystem as you can get, and our bioengineers quite simply DO NOT know or even suspect the long-range environmental impact on Earth.



posted on Nov, 22 2010 @ 01:57 AM
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reply to post by projectvxn
 

Oh yes, I completely agree. This really is the way forward.

Materials science and mechanical engineering will one day be regarded much as we do alchemy today--a blundering and hopeless attempt to replicate the apparently miraculous work of nature, doomed to failure but containing within it the germ of a future science that actually works. As alchemy was to chemistry, so materials science and engineering to the bioengineering and 'biofacture' of the future.



posted on Nov, 22 2010 @ 02:20 AM
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I would feel more comfortable with advances in nanotechnology, with nano-machines replicating the characteristics of microbial Life, rather than actually employing microbial Life in our near-sighted experimentation.

I mean, we could switch a colony of nanites on and off at will. A colony of nanites wouldn't be prone to mutating into something else, as would a colony of genetically modified bacteria or a virus colony. Think about that.

What I would like to see is nanotechnology blaze the trail to the stars, okay? Fire off a multitude of nanite colonies into space, programmed to BUILD habitations fit for humans wherever they may land.

So, fifty years from now, for example, when the first humans arrive on Mars, there could already be a flipping Howard Johnsons hotel waiting for them, okay, complete with running water and self-contained atmosphere, all constructed by nanite colonies working tirelessly, around the clock, using only available materials on the Martian surface — nanite colonies placed there decades early by a few small probes.

See, I don't envision bioengineered microbes accomplishing such feats, particularly on the harsh, radiation-drenched Martian surface. They would rapidly mutate into useless colonies under constant radio-bombardment if they didn't die off immediately.

Nanites wouldn't even flinch.



posted on Nov, 22 2010 @ 04:27 AM
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Originally posted by CharlesAustinMiller


I mean, we could switch a colony of nanites on and off at will. A colony of nanites wouldn't be prone to mutating into something else, as would a colony of genetically modified bacteria or a virus colony. Think about that.



Mmmmm - yeah sure we could!

All this is predicated on the development of some form of A.I, without which we are not going to develop nano-tech to any extent.

You are rapidly going to get into a self reinfocing technological singularity as as nano assemblers build even smarter self designing A.I systems.

Picture a network of nanites communicating via R.F and acting as thier own supercomputer - that is completely beyond anybodies ability to control, we have enough problems with bacteria and insects, let alone tiny critters that are a million times smarter than we are!

That is why TPTB - will stop the 'smart monkey' project from ever getting that far - if they allow us to continue as a tech capable species it will be as a micro chipped serf population, directly under thier control!



posted on Nov, 22 2010 @ 04:30 AM
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reply to post by CharlesAustinMiller
 


I think we have less to worry about in contained bacteria farms whose sole function is to convert waste matter and other organic materials to products we can use, than a programmable robot with the ability to cause damage at the cellular level, or be used by (PDF)governments or terrorists as weapons, or even one day create a Grey Goo scenario.

The point is, there are risks to all technologies.
edit on 22-11-2010 by projectvxn because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 22 2010 @ 05:05 AM
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Originally posted by CharlesAustinMiller
I would feel more comfortable with advances in nanotechnology, with nano-machines replicating the characteristics of microbial Life, rather than actually employing microbial Life in our near-sighted experimentation.



You think there's a difference?



posted on Nov, 22 2010 @ 08:10 AM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
You think there's a difference?


Actually, yes. There must be a difference. There is an insistent question at the core of robotics and bio-engineering: Should we build them to execute programming, or build them to think like a living creature?

It's just that stark difference that we should be pondering right now.

Organic Life [and bio-engineered Life] on one side of the table... Hard, cold, Artificial Intelligence and its hardware on the other. Science has paced around this table for decades — How can we bioengineer the extant beasties to do our bidding without calling it slavery? You know that discussion is going to come up. It's the barnyard debate.

Just saying, when you create a living creature and put it to work assembling widgets, then you're in a Master-Slave situation, which has its own futuristic political ramifications. I am really dreading living through the next couple of decades, simply because of all the nattering liberals who are going to crusade for the RIGHTS of the damned biobots. To make it worse, the biobots might mutate from exposure to external conditions, and proceed to disassemble widgets. Or they might do it on a large scale, going epidemic bad with dire results.

With nanites, you send the message, the nanites churn. Switch-off, nanites go inert. On/Off

When has LIFE ever gone inert?

I think it's very, very important that we include a kill switch. You know, Asimov's positronic brains and the Laws of Robotics and all that are very nice, but I think you just need a kill switch.

See, we humans MUST have the last word.

So, let's avoid all the ridiculous and embarrassing confrontations with civil rights for fabricated lifeforms, and just go pure synthetic. It's the least messy venture.



edit on 11/22/2010 by CharlesAustinMiller because: typo



posted on Nov, 22 2010 @ 10:16 PM
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reply to post by CharlesAustinMiller
 


There must be a difference. There is an insistent question at the core of robotics and bio-engineering: Should we build them to execute programming, or build them to think like a living creature?

You think there's a difference? :shk:

You state this with such assurance an uninformed person may actually be convinced. But you are wrong: there is no such question.

Whatever 'thinking' is, the overwhelming majority of living things don't do it. Unicellular organisms, bacteria and the like, don't think. Neither do plants or most of the so-called 'lower' animals. Do insects think? Fish? Chameleons? Snakes? Octupuses are said to be fairly intelligent (whatever that means) but what about snails?

Only a relatively small number of fairly complex animals do anything that could be regarded as 'thinking'. Most living things merely execute genetically inherited programs peculiar to their species.

And even animals that may be said to possess some kind of cognition function mostly through the running of autonomous programs. Do you think about your digestion, your sense of balance, your immune system, your breathing? No--they all function according to programs built into your genes.

Beyond that lies the question of what thinking actually is. Is it anything more than really complex and sophisticated programming? That is a real debate, and it has been going on since the ancient Greeks.

Your 'insistent question at the core of robotics and bio-engineering' doesn't exist.


It's just that stark difference that we should be pondering right now.

What is the difference? Can you define it in scientific terms?


Science has paced around this table for decades — How can we bioengineer the extant beasties to do our bidding without calling it slavery? You know that discussion is going to come up. It's the barnyard debate.

We have been doing this since the beginning of agriculture. Selective breeding is genetic engineering. Every crop and breed of livestock we eat has been heavily 'bioengineered'. If you want to know just how heavily, consider the difference between wheat and emmer, corn and teosinte, or 'barnyard' animals and their wild ancestors. All these creatures have no option but to serve us, because they have been bred to do just that. Dogs are purpose-bred general-purpose animal slaves. We put yeast to work making bread, wine and beer. Apart from a few tender-hearted people (the ones you characterize, wrongly, as 'liberals'), no-one worries about all the animals, plants and microorganisms we have 'enslaved' to serve our ends.



edit on 22/11/10 by Astyanax because: of ]



posted on Nov, 23 2010 @ 01:28 AM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
Your 'insistent question at the core of robotics and bio-engineering' doesn't exist.

Then I may assume you're a very young person? The question of should we or shouldn't we "play God" and create autonomous lifeforms to do our bidding has been the fodder of science fiction for well over a century. Too bad that you're not up on the literature.

Asimov, through his various robotics novels and stories and odd writings, sought to explore the interaction of Man as God and Robot as servant or slave. He even invented Laws of Robotics, which may yet be useful to us as we crank out ever-more sophisticated synthetic androids.

My point is that plowing into genetic research and GM "biobots" is going to, eventually, lead to a debate of the ethics of forced labor on sentient organisms. See, you're not looking at the big picture, people aren't getting smarter, we're not "evolving" to keep pace with our burgeoning technology. I think biobots are a dead-end. Pure synthetics will circumvent the ethical hoopla.



posted on Nov, 23 2010 @ 02:49 AM
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reply to post by CharlesAustinMiller
 


Then I may assume you're a very young person?

You may certainly do so if you wish. Making assumptions based on egotism and ignorance is, however, a stupid and dangerous thing to do.


The question of should we or shouldn't we "play God" and create autonomous lifeforms to do our bidding has been the fodder of science fiction for well over a century.

I believe the first novel to address these issues was Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. In his magisterial history of of the genre, Billion Year Spree, Brian Aldiss nominates it as the first science-fiction novel. It was first published in 1818, so 'well over a century' is right. More like two.


Too bad that you're not up on the literature.

See my earlier remark about assumptions.

Science fiction is not science.


My point is that plowing into genetic research and GM "biobots" is going to, eventually, lead to a debate of the ethics of forced labor on sentient organisms.

You don't even understand what is being discussed on this thread. We aren't talking about your precious biobots. We are talking about things like vat-cultured filet mignon, houses and household appliances grown from seeds, living toilets that eat human excrement and convert it to energy and useful raw materials, clothing that adapts by means of biological processes to protect the wearer from changes in the weather and environment, bioengineered insects used as household cleaners and a myriad other things we heven't even envisioned yet.


See, you're not looking at the big picture.

Actually, the picture you are looking at is only a fragment of the picture the OP is looking at. My post should have made you realize that, but you were so inebriated with the exuberance of your own verbosity you failed to catch my meaning and have continued along your the well-trodden path of synthetic tabloid moral concern.

I urge you to withdraw from this gracefully, while you still have the chance. No-one will think the worse of you for having made a foolish mistake.


edit on 23/11/10 by Astyanax because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 23 2010 @ 08:21 AM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
You don't even understand what is being discussed on this thread. We aren't talking about your precious biobots.

I know. You're sputtering about goo, and I'm talking about more imaginative things. Trying to BREATHE LIFE into a dead thread, you see. Oh, but no, you wouldn't see, because you're the reason the thread is dying. Try less nitpicking and more imagination.

Chin up.
edit on 11/23/2010 by CharlesAustinMiller because: typo



posted on Nov, 23 2010 @ 08:46 AM
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Originally posted by projectvxn
reply to post by CharlesAustinMiller
 


I think we have less to worry about in contained bacteria farms whose sole function is to convert waste matter and other organic materials to products we can use, than a programmable robot with the ability to cause damage at the cellular level, or be used by (PDF)governments or terrorists as weapons, or even one day create a Grey Goo scenario.

The point is, there are risks to all technologies.
edit on 22-11-2010 by projectvxn because: (no reason given)
Hopefully these risks will change the approach scientists will take when dabbling with nanotech. Refering to the weapon scenario: I would think that it would be too expensive to use. And what if they unknowing inject into themselves somehow? Besides, I'm pretty sure there would be nanotech to fight that nanotech anyways, kind of like the immune system.

Also speaking of materials, check out carbon nanotubes.
edit on 23-11-2010 by technical difficulties because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 24 2010 @ 10:23 PM
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reply to post by CharlesAustinMiller
 

Your post barely deserves a reply, but I have five empty minutes to fill.


You're sputtering about goo

Where did you see me use that word? Bioengineering is about making things using processes that are essentially biological in nature. Wine-making is an ancient example. My original response to you--which you still haven't understood, quite clearly--is that, to paraphrase the late Sir Arthur, any sufficiently advanced nanotechnology is indistinguishable from biotechnology. Get it now?


I'm talking about more imaginative things.

Repeating artificial tabloid hysteria about grey goo and slave clones is imaginative?


Trying to BREATHE LIFE into a dead thread, you see.

By dragging it off topic? Oh, well done.

Besides, the thread seems alive and well to me--despite your antics.


Oh, but no, you wouldn't see, because you're the reason the thread is dying. Try less nitpicking and more imagination.

Is that a beam in your eye, or an entire sequoia?



posted on Jan, 20 2012 @ 03:44 AM
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From my understanding of the bio bricks and bio engineering its about coding any genetic system like a program.
As from the horizon bbc special playing god.!

Well programmed cell death terminates a cell , so all we have to do is make the genetic code that stops this , therefore meaning cells will never die ! allowing humans to spread across the universe!

my other solution to life

is making humans part plant part animal
like a sea slug that can both eat and photosynthesise

by splicing the code for photosynthesising cells into human DNA , humans can therefore generate energy by being in direct sunlight , and would therefore solve most of the worlds food problems !


Edit: the benefits far outweight he risks !


edit on 20-1-2012 by sapien82 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 20 2012 @ 06:22 AM
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The seaslsug was found recently to have adopted its main food sources ability to photosynthesise and is now able to feed on algae and use the sun to generate energy.

part plant part animal

I we use synthetic biology to take the gene coding sequence from this part animal part plant creature.
we can then use the same gene and place it into human cells on the surface of our skin
then by simply standing in sunlight our bodies would be able to generate energy which we can use in replacement
or to supliment our dietary requirements, and since sunlight is an abundant source of energy in itself
we would therefore be required to eat less , and farm less.

this could also help world food shortages in poor countries



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