On BioScience and Life and Such

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Correct me if I am wrong

In Uncategorized on March 19, 2014 at 12:54 pm

Background: The Hyperion Cantos book 1 and 2  and The New York Times on mitochondrial manipulation (see further description on bottom of page).

It is my impression that theres an underlying, and absolute, assumption that genetic engineering will lead to less diversity.

But,

If given a choice of a range of possible engineered enhancements, would all societies, ethnicities and subgroups have the same preferences ?

I think not.

Then it follows that future genetic engineering will lead to greater diversity. Strange and unpredictable diversity.

The difference would be that it is now humankind deciding which different variants that are brought to life, not “nature”.

We would still need to accept and accomodate the “different” individuals in our society, probably even to a greater extent.

Would that not be a good thing ?

If you keeep putting up hurdles to stop implementation of advances in genetic engineering, are you not halting the development of a “natural” way to save humankind in the future ?

Genetic engineering is by this reasoning, the natural way forward.

It should be cool an unpredictable, just like nature is today.

The Hyperion Cantos book 1 and 2 describes a struggle between three parties: 1) artificial intelligence (AI), 2) a probable extension of our present tech-savvy society dependent on AI and 3) an AI-independent “natural” biologically diverse society (based on genetic engineering !?). Spoiler: The “natural” biological society wins.

Quote from NYT-article: “Some told the officials that the technique could introduce new genetic mutations into the human gene pool. Others warned that it could be used later for something ethically murkier — perhaps, said Marcy Darnovsky, executive director of the Center for Genetics and Society, “to engineer children with specific character traits.””

Enhanced by Zemanta

Too much time on the train

In Uncategorized on February 10, 2014 at 8:33 am

You can recognize a good tale/story when you pause from it to continue your life, and realize that your life is dull and insignificant in comparison.

An excellent story is the same, but now your second thought when you pause is that everything you do in your dull an insignificant life leads up to that great story.

A truly brilliant story makes you realize that you are living it yourself, or could be if you didn’t focus on someone elses story.

I did not want to write this

In Uncategorized on October 24, 2013 at 11:09 am

This happened

Many, many yars ago – I was a PhD student. At a conference, late evening, at the bar. A female post-doc in a low-cut dress and a jacket, asked me if I could buy her a drink. I did, even though I didn’t have much money and she had more. We talked, mostly on work related issues, but after a while she steered the conversation on to personal matters. She removed her jacket. There was a dance floor and she wanted to dance.  We did, but it was awkward as she danced in a provocative manner. We sat back down at the bar. She slipped her room number into the conversation a couple of times. She wanted to dance again but I managed to find an excuse and left to find my own room and go to sleep.

The whole episode troubled me for the rest of my PhD-period as I was unsure of whether this would influence my chances of finishing my PhD, – she was after all influential in the lab.

This has happened to me several times later. I have other examples of women in influential positions, wearing low cut dresses,  sometimes high heels  – touching my hand, sometimes my thigh, and asking me to participate in dancing, sometimes provocative dancing.

I’m not sure if they are aware of what they are doing, – ….. oh wait …  I am perfectly sure they know what they are doing, …. and what effect it has on me.

I wish these things wouldn’t happen as I feel as though I am being taken advantage of. I know I should have stopped things as events were closing in on my personal boundaries, but being in a vulnerable position in my career when these things happened …. I simply didn’t manage to.

Women in power needs to be made aware that wearing sexualized outfits, dancing in a provocative manner and touching other people can lead to serious distress and sometimes psychological damage to vulnerable individuals.

Note: I have left out names and description of places to protect those involved, and myself. This post is purely fictional.

Updated junk DNA post

In Uncategorized on August 5, 2013 at 8:40 am

Just updated: Hammering nails in the “junk-DNA” coffin with this Cell paper “Orchestrated Intron Retention Regulates Normal Granulocyte Differentiation

Why ?

1. The junk-DNA discussion, even the scientific one, refuses to die even though it is not a very interesting one, which is interesting in itself.

2. Cool/strange/scary expression in the title of the paper: “Orchestrated Intron Retention” ….

Tidbits from the www that makes you think

In Uncategorized on January 24, 2013 at 9:25 am

From a comment on a post on my friendfeed (I hope its ok that I quote this from you Kamilah Reed):

This makes me think of the mantis oothecae that I saw the mother lay on the edge of our deck. I saw her stand guard there until the cold killed her. The egg cases still out there, toughing it out through all this nasty cold weather. I can’t wait to see if we’ll actually have dozens of baby mantises next year. We’ve had them before, but I didn’t see where the case was last time.

I recently finished The Social Conquest of Earth (recommended), and found myself buying into Edward O. Wilsons arguments on social evolution vs. kin selection. We have become social beings based on traits like compassion of and empathy with, other individuals of our kind.

Based on th quote above though, you might want to expand the reach of those human traits to include other species as well. This quote encompasses empathy, compassion and sympathy towards a species far removed from our own. Importantly, a species I do not particularly care much about myself. Without the particular context of the story, I would gladly have gotten rid of those eggs, but since I find myself intrigued by the sacrifice of the mother-Mantis, I probably wouldn’t.

So, to all of you out there dooming the human race, despair not, – there may be hope. There are individuals out there that will share stories and facts that saves us – be thankful for diversity and keep listening.

Mantis religiosa trademark

Mantis religiosa trademark (Photo credit: macropoulos)

Enhanced by Zemanta

Qustions I can’t seem to find answers to

In Uncategorized on November 29, 2012 at 11:58 am

What is it with genetic information that is so scary. I honestly do not understand this.

The more we learn about the human genome the more we understand how little it by itself, determines. Sure, it is our genetic framework or DNA-recipe-book or whatever other analogy you want to use. But, for almost everyone of us, our DNA sequence itself does not mean much in terms of  personal or professional opportunities or even health. DNA-information is pretty useless without context basically.

DNA sequencing trace

DNA sequencing trace (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Still you apparently need laws and regulations and ethical boards and counselors to protect your genetic information. Not only from the public, but sometimes even from yourself.

Your lifestyle and health (and that of your family), your friends, your living environment – those are things that really, really matters – the true life-determinators or the context if you will. Which by the way, is useful information (that can be misused or exploited) also in the absence of knowledge of your DNA-sequence.

This information however, most people are allowed to  put on the internet for everyone to see. And they do so gladly.

This is puzzling to me.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Sorting your self out – the eugenics way

In Uncategorized on December 13, 2011 at 3:36 pm
Eugenics

Image by gennie catastrophe via Flickr

I recently heard a talk by Lone Frank (author of the book “My Beautiful Genome” where during the discussion after the talk, she made the point that we should not hide the fact that eugenics is coming. She continued to specify that we are talking about personal eugenics – not the kind of eugenics practiced in authoritarianism.

I think this is a very good point and one that is missed by almost all opponents of the new genomic era, an era which, let’s be Frank about this, is sure to bring the sorting society to reality.

Why is personal eugenics different ? Well simply because there is a choice involved – that really is the whole difference. It involves replacing the sentence “Only healthy seeds must be sown” in the illustration above with something like “You can choose healthy seeds to be sown”. In a near-future transhumanist society a poster like this would most likely be an add for some ART/IVF-company and not propaganda from some dictatorship government.

While these may seem like subtle changes, they make a huge ethical difference. The discussion we need to have is not about eugenics forced upon us, but about eugenics as a personal choice.

Criticism of transhumanism is certainly in its place many times, and constructive criticism is surely needed to restrain our sometimes naive enthusiasm for technology. But, using comparisons to authoritarian eugenics (like the one practized in nazi-germany) is however, not very constructive (or even valid), since the principle of free choice is so central in transhumanist thinking.

Any true transhumanist will acknowledge the universal and absolute right for anyone to say no to technology, if they wish.

Any true transhumanist believes strongly in equality for all – whether “natural” or “enhanced”. Some so much so that they seek to avoid harming any life-form whatsoever.

I resent any comparison of transhumanism to racist/nazi – thinking. I believe transhumanism is about the opposite – equality for all. In fact I believe that embracing most, if not all technological developments is the only way to achieve this.

On our way there, we need to sort out our response to personal eugenics.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Honors to ….

In Transhumanism, Uncategorized on December 6, 2011 at 9:38 am

Professor Moran at Sandwalk who is relentlessly responding to (the same) intelligent design claims. It’s a battle that may never be won. Beliefs based on faith is impossible to argue rationally against. Converting them to science is doing it the right way – but, no doubt – the hard way.

English: Transhumanism H+ symbol Русский: Симв...

Mary Meets Dolly for fighting against transhumanism and human enhancement – even though at the root of transhumanism you will find improved artificial limbs and medical technology made to heal disease and improve health. Who is opposed to that ? Strange how religion justifies suffering.

The Biotechnology board in my home-country who keeps having conferences on how knowledge of our own genes is dangerous is so many ways – even though most of us live unharmed lives with most of our traits (inherited or not) exposed.

Temperature predictions from some climate mode...

To the environmentalist movement who keeps warning us about global warming . If nobody cares, then converting people to science may not be such a good idea after all. Could some divine force intelligently design us out of this mess or are we intelligently designed into it with no escape ?

To me for writing another blog-post even though blogging is dead.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Certifiably certified

In Uncategorized on December 20, 2010 at 10:41 am

post to news.thinkgene.com

Our lab is now ISO-13485 certified. Let me assure you that a lot of hours went into this.

If you for any reason, need a lab to make you a molecular biology diagnostic test, we’re the ones to call.

Enhanced by Zemanta

What really happened to will

In Uncategorized on November 24, 2010 at 11:28 am
The no free-will bus campaign
Image by morgantj via Flickr

There’s a lot of talk about free will these days.

Following these discussions the following questions occur to me:

1. Is will incarcerated ?
2. If so, why ?

You shouldn’t free anything or anyone just on a hunch….

More accurately:

3. Is freedom a term that can adequately describe the state of our will ?

Enhanced by Zemanta