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Old 01-20-2011, 11:16 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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Not my strong suit, but I can't help wondering about this:

Evolution occurs because mutations take place, a few of which have survival value, and then are retained by the organism, which become more favorably disposed. Those mutations that militate against survaival are quickly eliminated by attrition.

If we become so adept at genetic engineering, we will identify and intercept all mutations in utero, unable to distinguish the favorable ones from the unfavorable, and will then put an end to any possibility of Homo sapiens becoming a more advanced lifeform with more favorable survival characterstics.
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Old 01-20-2011, 12:57 PM
 
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Does evolution occur because of mutations or because the environment changes and adaptation occurs..... Survival of the fittest.
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Old 01-20-2011, 01:19 PM
 
Location: SW Missouri
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
Not my strong suit, but I can't help wondering about this:

Evolution occurs because mutations take place, a few of which have survival value, and then are retained by the organism, which become more favorably disposed. Those mutations that militate against survaival are quickly eliminated by attrition.

If we become so adept at genetic engineering, we will identify and intercept all mutations in utero, unable to distinguish the favorable ones from the unfavorable, and will then put an end to any possibility of Homo sapiens becoming a more advanced lifeform with more favorable survival characterstics.
I would say that some adaptions would not be easily recognized. For instance, let's say that a fetus mutates to adapt to breathing air that is higher in carbon monoxide. This trait would not become evident until the child was born and oxygen levels could be measured under favorable and unfavorable conditions.

Also, you have to consider....what mutations would be more favorable? In our world, unlike primitive man, our survival is not based on physical characteristics but rather we have evolved to a place where our thought processes are the determining factor.

Now! If you could determine genetically who would be stupid and who would not, you'd have something there.

20yrsinBranson
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Old 01-20-2011, 09:52 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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The premise of my point is that we have the capability to identify, in utero, every fetus who carries a mutated gene. If we assumed a policy of terminating every fetus that presents a mutation, we would be aborting every possibility of ever altering our species above exactly what it is now. Even if, as you suggest, a mutation is necessary in order to breathe a new atmospheric mix, we would unwittingly abort the mutants. And you cautioned against exactly the risk I had in mind: How would we know which would save the species?

As you have indicated, we would have no way of knowing if a mutated gene carries a potentially increased or decreased survival value, we just extinguish them all if they are different from the norm, to prevent all mutations. That would nip every possibility of upward evolution in the bud.

We are still not very close to that, but the general thrust of genetic engineering is headed in that direction, and the capacity to do exactly that seems to be the carrot on the end of the genetic engineering stick. The incentive driving genetic research is to eliminate the risk to parents of giving birth to a mutant, squashing them all without waiting to see if it is the mutation that will propel us to the next higher level of life forms.

Case in point: It is widely thought that, of the several dozen greatest thinkers in human history, many, if not most of them carried an autism gene. Genetic engineering would be put in place to save parents the nuisance of having to raise a troublesome young Einstein, Newton, Mozart, Shakespeare, just by aborting them along with all the other millions of autistic children.

Last edited by jtur88; 01-20-2011 at 10:12 PM..
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Old 01-20-2011, 10:25 PM
 
Location: Brooklyn, New York
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Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
The premise of my point is that we have the capability to identify, in utero, every fetus who carries a mutated gene. If we assumed a policy of terminating every fetus that presents a mutation, we would be aborting every possibility of ever altering our species above exactly what it is now.
This is not possible, because 100% of all fetuses have some kind of genetic mutations, since DNA replication process is close but not 100% perfect. Most of the mutations are relatively minor though.
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Old 01-20-2011, 10:34 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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Originally Posted by Gantz View Post
This is not possible, because 100% of all fetuses have some kind of genetic mutations, since DNA replication process is close but not 100% perfect. Most of the mutations are relatively minor though.
OK, does that mean that in-utero DNA scans will only be looking for particular, known mutation genes, which can be assessed and evaluated on an ad-hoc basis?
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Old 01-21-2011, 05:53 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
Not my strong suit, but I can't help wondering about this:

Evolution occurs because mutations take place, a few of which have survival value, and then are retained by the organism, which become more favorably disposed. Those mutations that militate against survaival are quickly eliminated by attrition.

If we become so adept at genetic engineering, we will identify and intercept all mutations in utero, unable to distinguish the favorable ones from the unfavorable, and will then put an end to any possibility of Homo sapiens becoming a more advanced lifeform with more favorable survival characterstics.
Interesting here Jtur ..... however i'd imagine genetic altering would have to go on in a massive scale to have a universal effect as we are up to about some 7 billion now correct?

Sometimes i wonder if vaccinations (i'm not pro or against) are doing this since we evolved and mutated our immune systems over some ..... 1.8 million years since humans first evolved as i wonder if humans in the future will lose their ability to fight diseases in the future. Hell even some large scale multiple sclerosis clinical trials currently are giving hookworms and whipworm eggs that are showing benefit as these parasites calm down inflammation and certain macrophages in the gut and body as we evolved with certain parasites living inside us to Coexist with each other.
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Old 01-21-2011, 07:20 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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Originally Posted by 6 Foot 3 View Post
Interesting here Jtur ..... however i'd imagine genetic altering would have to go on in a massive scale to have a universal effect as we are up to about some 7 billion now correct?
.
I tried to defuse that in my earlier remarks, but perhaps not clearly enough. Everything that is a part of the global culture now was once limited to a privileged few, like chemically-treated drinking water, glazed houses against the climate, the capacity to create fire on demand, anti-biotics, mechanical and/or pharmachemical birth control. roundup-ready agribusiness. Coca-Cola---all of them now nearly universal, and with profound impact on what human culture might have become otherwise.

Looking at what has happened to, say, telephony in the past couple of decades, there is nothing to discourage us from thinking that in the imaginable future, a wand can be waved over a gravid woman and predict the impending offspring's genetic makeup with near-perfect accuracy, coupled with a 'what happens if I push that red button' technology of doom, at affordable cost globally. If in fact foeti are allowed to develop in-utero in the first place. Presto---massive scale.

Last edited by jtur88; 01-21-2011 at 07:32 AM..
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Old 01-21-2011, 08:33 AM
 
Location: Brooklyn, New York
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Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
OK, does that mean that in-utero DNA scans will only be looking for particular, known mutation genes, which can be assessed and evaluated on an ad-hoc basis?
That wouldn't stop evolution though, since a lot of evolutionary processes are not single generation events, but are compounding over several generations/thousands of years. In fact, if a mutation is big enough that you can detect it right away in your offspring, it is probably a very harmful mutation to begin with that won't be passed down naturally anyway.

Even if you can scan the DNA for any mutating genes and alter some genes to have desirable effects on your baby (such as if you want your baby to have blue eyes and higher IQ and run faster or whatever), it still wouldn't stop natural evolution to develop things such as higher lung capacity due to higher CO2 concentration in the air. This change would be so small that it would not be detectable from generation to generation. Another thing is, a lot of artificial gene manipulation will result in recessive genes anyway, so if you leave a couple of generations alone they will go back to the mean.
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Old 01-21-2011, 08:47 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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Originally Posted by Gantz View Post
That wouldn't stop evolution though, since a lot of evolutionary processes are not single generation events, but are compounding over several generations/thousands of years. In fact, if a mutation is big enough that you can detect it right away in your offspring, it is probably a very harmful mutation to begin with that won't be passed down naturally anyway.
.
Mutations are not selective on a human-value quality scale. A mutation will be either beneficial or detrimental to survival, and it's not a matter of the "big" ones being detrimental and the "little" ones being beneficial. If you cast a net to catch all mutations above your mesh size, they will all be caught, irrespective of whether they would result in favorable or unfavorable offspring.

If all mutations are allowed to pass through the net, then natural attrition will weed out the unfavorable traits, and natural selection will reward the favorable, and the aggregate result of strengthening of the gene pool. By screening out all mutations indiscriminately, you obstruct natural selection, which is the only mechanism by which there can be natural genetic improvement.

What if you have a mutant with a gene that allows the child to visualize a universe in more than 3 dimensions, or can memorize more data than your PC, or can adapt to very high or low temperature environments, or is immune to cancer, or can tickle himself --- A big, dominant gene.. Oh-oh, you say, kill the mutant, because we don't know what that gene can do, it's just an undifferentiated mutation red-flagging the routine scan.

Last edited by jtur88; 01-21-2011 at 08:59 AM..
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