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Spidermen

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Only tangentially related to the superhero, but similarly amazing. Wow!

<a href="http://msnbc.com/news/689567.asp?0dm=C218N" target="_blank">Spider-Mammals on the Horizen</a>

WASHINGTON, Jan. 17 — Here’s an amazing but true story to tide you over until the Spider-Man movie appears this summer: Cow and hamster cells can produce spider silk of their own, given the right kind of genetic coaxing. This latest twist in the quest to reproduce spiders’ remarkable fiber, for use in everything from bandages to bulletproof vests, is reported in Friday’s issue of the journal Science, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


Gengineering, a new frontier for exploration and commerce. Do we have the ethics to handle it?

[ 01-18-2002: Message edited by: THT ]</p>
post #2 of 8
I do NOT want to see the giant webs a cow could spin.....gross.



SdC
My signature irritates people. However, my cat can still jump a watermelon, and the Apollo is the next chip coming to the Powermac line. Although, at this point, I'd believe that Cyrix is the next...
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My signature irritates people. However, my cat can still jump a watermelon, and the Apollo is the next chip coming to the Powermac line. Although, at this point, I'd believe that Cyrix is the next...
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post #3 of 8
I think genetic engineering will be a great thing with proper controls in place.

It would be awesome if we could find a way to synthetically produce spider's "silk".
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post #4 of 8
My fear with any of this kind of stuff is that the market, as well as military interests, are pushing things very fast through the pipelines.

We may, in the future find that there will be domino effects that we cannot now account for, spreading out from each transgenic experiment like waves from a storm that only really show themselves when they break in shallow waters. THere are so many interconnected threads (punn intended) that connect with species and their breeding and reproduction that we may come to regret the haste to adopt such wild creations. Or worse, the genetic creations will become Pattented Properties and anything that gets infected with their 'pollen' will as well: for example Monsanto and crops of corn polluted with their transgenic Round-up Ready pollen.

This cross pollenation is just the tip of the iceberg (potentially) and its showing up all over the world, even as far as the MNTs of Peru, the home of corn.

If this leads to some unavoidable monoculture of corn that has some unforseen latent genetic anomoly that we did not account for then we could very well be f^cked, besides the fact of its direct impact on fostering resistance to what it was intended to combat.

Oh and now this spider thing . . . totally irresponcible . though it is pretty cool.

Just think custom made corporate-nature just a push of the ole plunger....how 'cool'
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"Narrative is what starts to happen after eight minutes
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"They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."
--George W Bush

"Narrative is what starts to happen after eight minutes
--Franklin Miller.

"Nothing...

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post #5 of 8
There was a piece on NPR this afternoon about a herd of genetically altered goats up in Canada that produce milk that has the spider silk protein in it.

Just finished reading the article. I see they had a sidebar at the end about Nexia Biotechnologies and the Montreal goat farm. Seriously cool stuff.
shooby doo, shooby doo
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post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
<strong>Originally posted by pfflam:
We may, in the future find that there will be domino effects that we cannot now account for, spreading out from each transgenic experiment like waves from a storm that only really show themselves when they break in shallow waters.</strong>

Is the Frankenstein scenario applicable in reality?

Or should I say that humanity is smart enough to recover from the bad effects of any new technology they create? That is, our instinct for survival is so great that that we will always keep in step with any technological advance we may have.

There are perhaps several cases where a new technology was able to catastrophically damage humanity. Nuclear weapons and nuclear power is a case in point. (Interestingly enough, gengineering can solve some of our nuclear waste problems.) Mass production and a global economy is another technological development that could have had catastrophic effects but was caught in time to prevent severe damage, if Mad-Cow disease could be used as an example.

How much different is gengineering from breeding and cross-pollination programs?
post #7 of 8
[quote] How much different is gengineering from breeding and cross-pollination programs? <hr></blockquote>

I think that the problem is is that we think we know that it is not different. When in fact we don't know that much about genes, especially not trangenics and effects in the whole of the ecosystem.

Also, I didn't say that it would end humanity or anything that bad, but it wouldn't need to go that far to be truly awful.

By the way the effects of a technology are always far more profound then just a slight shift in the economy. I think there is a shift in our very perceptual models and sense of being in the world, as well as the whole social formation and also the ecology. The effects of industrialism (steam engine, trains steel and glass) included World War 1 . . . and, I believe that WW1 was really stretched out over 25 years and encompas also WW2.

Also perhaps we haven't really felt the effects of industrialism yet, and global warming might be what is looming as such a effect.

McLuhan said every shift in technology necessitates war .... Hm?
"They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."
--George W Bush

"Narrative is what starts to happen after eight minutes
--Franklin Miller.

"Nothing...

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"They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."
--George W Bush

"Narrative is what starts to happen after eight minutes
--Franklin Miller.

"Nothing...

Reply
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
<strong>Originally posted by pfflam:
I think that the problem is is that we think we know that it is not different. When in fact we don't know that much about genes, especially not trangenics and effects in the whole of the ecosystem.</strong>

My argument was that the effects wouldn't really matter. We'd be able to adapt and correct our mistakes. Ie, is the Frankenstein scenario really applicable in reality?

<strong>Also, I didn't say that it would end humanity or anything that bad, but it wouldn't need to go that far to be truly awful.</strong>

The most innocent of things can result in truly awful things

The introduction of non-indigenous animals into Australia made several species extinct. The very presence of Columbus and friends in the New World killed a great majority of the native American population just through smallpox. The very act of humanity simply growing in population will adversely change the environment.

<strong>I think there is a shift in our very perceptual models and sense of being in the world, as well as the whole social formation and also the ecology.</strong>

I would very much agree. That's why the question of ethics was proposed. In my mind it also is very much a question of American dominance in military, economic and technological power.

It is the dynamism in our culture that's beautiful, not the static, everything should be as it should be, part of our culture.

<strong>The effects of industrialism (steam engine, trains steel and glass) included World War 1. . . and, I believe that WW1 was really stretched out over 25 years and encompas also WW2.</strong>

I think it didn't really end until the end of the Cold War in 1989. Communism was a repudiation of rampant capitalism as the driving force in industrialism. As has always been the case in history, technological power (which typically translates into economic power) will always win out, and Communism is on its last legs.

<strong>Also perhaps we haven't really felt the effects of industrialism yet, and global warming might be what is looming as such a effect.</strong>

I would be careful with static models of global warming. It's a dynamic system and we don't know all the variables. It doesn't mean we don't try either. We should.

However, I would argue that we can adapt to the changes that may result.

<strong>McLuhan said every shift in technology necessitates war .... Hm?</strong>

Like what? It's a dynamic system. It could be said war drives technological shifts.
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