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Re: Mice given bat-like forelimbs through gene switch

--- Dann Pigdon <dannj@alphalink.com.au> wrote:

> Cloning happens naturally in a lot of species; every
> day in most
> micro-organisms, and less often in the form of
> parthenogenesis in more complex
> organisms. 
> Retroviruses are be able to combine the DNA of
> different species. In fact,
> endogenous retrovirus sequences have become a
> permanent part of the human
> genome. Up to 8% of our genes once belonged to other
> species.
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endogenous_retrovirus
> Bacteria are able to exchange gene sequences not
> just between different members
> of the same species, but between different bacterial
> species. That's how
> antibiotic resistance can spread from one bacterial
> species to another, whether
> or not all of the species involved have actually had
> direct contact with that
> particular antibiotic.
> Why should such behaviour be acceptable in one
> organism but not another?


Because, unlike other "organisms" (technically
retroviruses and bacteria are not organisms), we have
both a history of seriously screwing these things up
(e.g. africanized killer bees) and the capacity to
create genetic changes at a much faster rate than most
ecosystems can handle.

Besides a moral disagreement with the concept of
direct genetic manipulation of creatures for our own
personal (mostly monetary) gain, I'd rather not lose
another dozen, or so species to extinction because
some company thought it would be neat to make bloody
glow in the dark soft drinks.

At the very least, I think it would be best to remove
the ability of any genetic creations to either
reproduce, or live on their own without supplements
from us (this is starting to sound very Jurassic
Park). Just some kind of fail-safe in the inevitable
event that one of these genetic manipulations winds up
getting out into the wild.


P.S. This thread is quickly approaching the end of OT
tolerability. Folks interested in continuing this,
might want to consider doing this off-list before it
gets shutdown. That, or we could just mention random
dinosaur names in each post. 

_Ankylosaurus magniventris_

"I am impressed by the fact that we know less about many modern [reptile] types 
than we do of many fossil groups." - Alfred S. Romer

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