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Re: Future Vegetarians

Jun 12, 1998 06:18 PM
by Pam Giese

> From: "Brenda S Tucker" <>
> The first way is to take a real chunk of meat and put it in the
>  This program takes every observable molecule of meat and memorizes it,
> perhaps for a miniscule section of the real thing, and then repeats the
> observed and memorized portion an appropriate number of times to arrive
> the size we want.  When the analyzer has arrived at an appropriate
> "program" it then begins to work through the molecular combinations with
> its "elemental soup" for raw material.

Analyzer?  What proof can you give that such a device exists?

I design data bases and computer systems to support a company engaged in
genetic engineering of corn and soybeans and I have never seen or heard of
such a device outside of Star Trek( i.e. their replicator).  Current
devices can user PCR or RFLP to analyze the genetic fingerprint of a cell,
but no one has the technology to recreate the complete DNA structure from
just the protein and allele sequences.  This is beyond the current state of
science.  As of yet, science does not even have the complete genetic map of
any species, so artificially fabricating it at will is beyond everyone's
mean.  This is why there's so much clamoring and activity in the field as
in order to patent a gene, you must be able to prove the link between
location and function.

Most genetic engineering involves the insertion of foreign DNA into another
species (the other major type is the acceleration of an operand gene or a
purposeful mutation).  For example much of the European Corn Bore resistant
corn is developed by taking a bacteria that is repugnant to Corn Bore and
"inserting" it in a line of corn.  This is a laborous task and prone to a
lot of trial and err scientific experimentation.  The resultant corn
germplasm is the nutured and hopefully will end up as something looking
like corn (maize).  There are multi-generational quality tests done to
ensure that the trait exists as well as ensure equivalency between the
transformed corn and the original.

Harvesting living cells for cloning and transformation is were many of the
hard ethical questions lie.  Maintaining embryos for the purpose of
harvesting tissue for further cell replication is well within our current
science.  The current collective intelligence of genetic knowledge is 13G
of genetic sequence information and is currently increasing at the rate of
a G a month.  All research stations share in the unprecedanted
collaboration, usually referred to as the Human Genome Project.  Current
estimates are that the Human Genome will be completely mapped by 2005.
Does this means that knowing the map, scientists will be able to
manufacture humans out of any scraps of DNA lying around?  No.  But they
will be able to do a better job screening children for a battery of
afflications and educate couples with a history of disorders for their
likely hood of passing on afflictions.


"Blessed are the cracked, for they shall let in the light..."

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