reply to post by Brujobrett13
Ok, so this one was fun for me. I remembered reading once about proposed human genetic enhancements that aimed at adding the ability to skin cells to
use sunlight to produce food the way plants do. I forgot about it until I read your post. I couldn't find the article I read last time but I did
manage to find another more updated one with some promising results.
I used to have mixed feelings about the whole Transhumanism thing, but I am starting to like some of the proposed ideas, and I will tell you why yours
was at the heart of it.
Chloroplasts are solar-power plants of the plant cell, just like the mitochondria that animals and fungi rely on (plants have mitochondria too
though). Just as mitochondria were once proteobacteria, plastids (of which chloroplasts are the most noteworthy) were once cyanobacteria, and both
still have their own DNA and a very bacteria-like membrane. They have evolved to get very comfortable with the relationship, offloading much of their
essential genes to the host nucleus, and now they can’t live without their hosts (then again, we can’t live without our endosymbionts).
This means, however, that if we humans wanted chloroplasts for ourselves, or our livestock or pets, we would need to genetically modify the host
animal to express proteins required for chloroplast function. It has been estimated that about 70-90% of the genes required for chloroplast function
are provided by the plant’s genome (Martin et al, 1998). In the case of the sea slugs, some of these genes appear to exist in the animal’s genome,
although probably not enough for the chloroplasts to be able to reproduce. Which is why the slugs use kleptoplasty - removing the chloroplasts from
It would probably be most feasible for chloroplasts, along with the required genes, to be added to skin stem cells and applied as a skin graft, as
there is a lot of research in this area for burns victims. This approach has been used to produce proteins in mice (Larcher et al, 2001), and so
should be feasible for producing sugar by photosynthesis in humans. At first this graft may require regular replacement, but eventually the
chloroplasts will be sustainable within the skin.
so the idea is not new, but who cares. The way I see it, this sort of enhancement is more important than faster running speeds or increased strength,
or even heightened intelligence.
When we solve basic issues of the human condition like hunger by genetic enhancements we actually take the next step into evolution of the human
psyche. If you have really strong or smart people who are scared of death or are motivated by hunger you have the same problems we do now, but only
with less controllable people and more capable people of doing their share of harm reacting to their human condition.
Nothing would change. If people no longer needed to worry about food, we would begin to see life itself differently. We would think on a new level.
When man began herding food and raising crops, he ended his nomadic life and took the next step in his evolution. He built cities, and population
centers of all shapes and sizes.
More importantly we started using the excess energy we had spent running after food to contemplate the world around us. If our belly was empty we
would have to solve that problem first before looking at apples falling and wondering "why" that happened. If Newton was a nomadic savage he would
have eaten said apple and not invented a world of math we now employ for great things.
We can expect the same sort of return from solving hunger all together. When food is no longer needed we will see the entire universe in a new light.
Not in the edible or not categories we now place it in.
We look to a planet and say "it is not habitable" because of this or that reason. What would we breath or eat, ect...
What if we looked at planets as a possible home because of their mathematical perfection, or relationship to the planetary system they occupy instead
of their particular traits. We could look at every planetary body as a home if we could adapt to it. We think we are in a static state of being. If we
knew that we could change in any way to adapt to any environment we would see all planetary bodies in a new light. They would all of a sudden be
considered in new ways instead of being "dead" or not.
Everything would change by our perceptions changing and our perceptions would change by our condition changing.
Change the human condition and we will evolve. Change the details and we will remain the same.
That to me is what makes you a mutant or a superior being. The state of your human condition. Is it really different?
I love your idea. While it is not exactly original, it is ground breaking.
So I salute you!
edit on 22-11-2012 by zedVSzardoz because: (no reason given)