Are We Close to Creating Super-Mutant Humans?

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May 09, 2007

Are We Close to Creating Super-Mutant Humans?

Future_human_2Nearly every day we are inundated with new genetic discoveries. Scientists can now pinpoint many specific genes including being lean, living a long life, improved self-healing, thrill seeking behavior, and having an improved memory among many other incredible traits. Many believe that these genes can be manipulated in ordinary humans, in effect creating Super-Mutants.

Isaac Asimov, the famous thinker and sci-fi writer wrote, “The advance of genetic engineering makes it quite conceivable that we will begin to design our own evolutionary progress.”

The options are nearly limitless. Theoretically, if a gene exists in another species, it can be brought over to a human cell. Imagine some of the incredible traits of the animal kingdom that humans miss out on- night vision, amazing agility, or the ability to breath underwater. The precedence for these types of radical changes is already in place. Experimental mice, for example, were successfully given the human ability to see in color. If animals can be engineered to have human traits, then humans can certainly be mutated to have desirable animal traits.

Recently, a National Human Genome Research Institute team reported a mutation in a gene that codes for a muscle protein known as myostatin which can increase muscle mass and enhance racing performance in whippets. Some wonder if human athletes could benefit from having a gene or two artificially mutated to give them a little extra strength and speed.

It is even thought possible to so drastically alter human genomes that a type of superhuman species could emerge. The fear with germline engineering is that since it is inheritable, offspring and all succeeding generations would carry the modified traits. This is one reason why this type of engineering is currently banned- it could lead to irreversible alteration of the entire human species.

Ethics, not scientific limitations, is the real brick wall. Most scientists believe manipulating genes in order to make an individual healthy is a noble and worthwhile pursuit. Some are against even that notion, arguing that historically amazing individuals have sometimes been plagued by genetic mental and physical disorders, which inadvertently shaped the greatness of their lives. Should we rob the human race of character shaping frailty? Very few scientists would dare to publicly endorse the idea of using genetic engineering to make a normal, healthy individuals somehow superior to the rest of the human race.

“The push to redesign human beings, animals and plants to meet the commercial goals of a limited number of individuals is fundamentally at odds with the principle of respect for nature,”
said Brent Blackwelder, President of Friends of the Earth in his testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee.

However, would it be so bad if the human race was slightly improved? What if a relatively simple procedure could make an individual and his or her offspring more compassionate, intelligent and thoughtful? Currently scientists are using gene therapy in an attempt to wipe out disease, but what if we could save many more lives by wiping out war instead though engineering humans to be less bloodthirsty, hateful and narrow-minded?

After all, Nature isn’t always right. Nature has naturally selected many people to carry the burden of uncomfortable and often lethal genetic disorders. If nature knows best, then shouldn’t we quit trying to “improve” upon nature by “curing” people of genetic conditions we consider inferior? Many say we shouldn’t change human genetics, UNLESS it’s the RIGHT thing to do. Who gets to decide where the line is between righteous endeavor and the corruption of nature? These are the questions facing our generation.

Posted by Rebecca Sato

See: What do Robots Dream Of?

Comments

Come ooooon... Let's just do it. This is like the most exciting adventure one can experience...
I volunteer for experiments. Change me! Modify me! I take all the responsibilities.I can keep it a secret if you want me to...

By the way we are a part of the nature and therefore we can't really change it. The nature might change itself by using things like us. But changing is already in its nature. So actually nothing's going to change...

Sadunkal-- I'm totally with you! Its exciting and adventurous and I'm willing to risk death to be mutated. They can even sterilize me to make sure I don't pass on my new mutant genes if they want. They torture lab animals all day long. Wouldn't it be MORE ethical to torture willing human volunteers? -- Rebecca Sato

I don't understand Rebecca. I read sadunkal's posts and whether he's funning us or not in the 1st, he is quite right in the second. It sounds like you had a bad day and decided to rip into him. No one is asking you to 'risk death' to be 'mutated'. Your idea of 'mutated' might be someone else's salvation. And as for your view on ethics.... if someone else volunteers for anything willingly, it's none of your business. And if it saves some bunnies along the way, this is a good thing, for all life is valuable.

Regards
Dave

Funny... Was she really being ironic? I don't really know her but I don't think so... I noticed that I forgot to leave my contact information for the experiments, so here: sadunkal@hotmail.com

Just so you all know, I wasn't being sarcastic. I think being mutated into a "superior" being would be awesome. However, I sympathize with anyone who can't tell when I'm being serious. I'm a bit of an overly enthusiastic freak.

Of course I support gene manipulation for those who have medical conditions! I'm just going the extra mile and saying why can't I have eagle eyes? (Again, I'm not being sarcastic, why can't we harness the gems of evolution and improve ourselves genetically?)

But there is the risk of something going wrong (don't be naive). I am willing to assume that risk.

Also, many people are against human mutation because it could be passed on to unsuspecting offspring. That's why I offered to get sterilized. That way no one can whine about it effecting future generations.

Unfortumately, science still has no concrete idea about the nature of most "animal adaptations" that you are so willing to accept into your genetic code. For example, if you get the far-sightedness of an eagle, the trade off is likely the loss of massive numbers of cones in the human eye, giving you great visual accuity, but lousy color spectrum. Worse, you may no longer be able to genuinely "see" as you perceive it, but only be aware of objects in motion, a trait common in predators. Hard to say, since no one cares to find out for themselves. Same goes for enhanced strength, or "gills", or any number of "enhancements". The trouble is that without a clear blueprint, no one knows what the cost or tradeoff would be, and likely it won't be pretty. I doubt in the cold light of that logic, most people would volunteer for experimentation.

I'd be mighty tempted to volunteer for known human adaptations though. The metabolism of an Olympic runner, skin that is less prone to eczema, better intuition...

Though I might wait to see how the first adopters fared with the treatment.

:o i want to volunteer to its intresting and i got nothing better to do so yea mail me on ricktenbokkel@hotmail.com

this is stupid. we can't genetically arlter human beings thats the first step to a utopia. ever read the giver? If you haven't im sure you've read a brave new world. do me a favor and think about it.

and if you haven't read those books have you ever seen I am legend? I know that a huge disease probably won't happen but something horrible will happen and you'll be sorry for even thinking about it.

Id vaulenteer for sure :)
rzl.cc@hotmail.com

give me improved metabolism toooo lol night vision.improved strength . ability o grow new teeth in adult hood sign me up too i take all responisblitys actually i think i might wait 10 more years lol

let me have one kid first before any mutations then after that i would be prepared

sterilize me . modify me ,change me i keep it a secret too

I am very interested in gene research. Experiment on me to make me stronger, faster and smarter. Ready to be recruited!

Im interested in signin up.take full responsibilities... I wz somehow born weak cnt do much plus i have a Big Scar on half on my faceand one eye z blind.......so my life has been a pain all my life... so if there is Genetic modification which cn b done sure sign me up
ggahwita@yahoo.com.
holla at me.....

Im interested in signin up.take full responsibilities... I wz somehow born weak cnt do much plus i have a Big Scar on half on my face and one eye z blind.......so my life has been a pain all my life... so if there is Genetic modification which cn b done sure sign me up
ggahwita@yahoo.com.
holla at me.....

Personally, i would be more than eager to start an all-out nuclear war against the United States at the moment when they would allow those blasted muties to live with the normal humans.

And no, i'm not a religious psycho, but i'm still firmly against the all kind of genetic engineering. Since when humans were allowed to be transformed into freaks?

And you, fucking assholes, who would like to be genetically engineered: you should be killed! You're nothing but arrogant assholes, who think that we normal humans are inferior to your "master race"!

I will laugh when the USA will bathe in nuclear fire. DEATH TO AMERICA!

Tbh, i think the whole "We should have respect for nature" bit is rather laughable. To nature, we're born, we breed, we die and our bodies are recycled. That's all anything REALLY is, from nature's viewpoint...

And, @purity: i do believe that you should calm down a tad... Did you take your medicine?

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