[extropy-chat] BIO: overtorqing the luddites

Robert J. Bradbury bradbury at aeiveos.com
Mon Feb 16 11:08:34 UTC 2004

On Sun, 15 Feb 2004, Adrian Tymes wrote:

> Motivations are the same there as with any sport
> (fame, prize money, et cetera) - but at least they do
> not shun technological improvements, unlike many other
> sports.

Actually this isn't true -- I was surprised to learn that
NASCAR races seem to limit engine air intake so the max speed
is ~180MPH rather than ~230MPH.  This makes the races "somewhat"
safer (the car only rolls 3 times instead of 20 times when it
bites the dust) and makes the contest involve a little more
skill (racing effectively requires getting into the wind shadow
of the car in front of you) rather than being just a competition of
"brute force"  It is more like ice skating in the Olympics where
a reduction of air friction plays an important role.

With regard to:
> 1. Reproductive cloning ... [snip]

I'm reasonably certain you do not have to take an embryo
to the "baby" stage to harvest germ cells capable of forming
a subsequent generation.  So one just pickes off the cells
required from a developing embryo and allows them to produce
a clone (or a unique child if you can get both female and
male germ cells).

I think the amount of development required may be overestimated
now.  Scientists are being very conservative in papers and what
they tell the press and one has to consider how far we have
come in the last decade.

> 2. In a case like this, the "children" are more like
> the twin siblings of the "parent" (singular)

Only if you are using cloning as the reproductive method
rather than something like germ cell maturation and actual
fertilization, most probably allowing the fertilized cells
to produce the "child", while preserving the developing
embryo that was the source of the genetic material to be
developed into a "parent" at a later date.

Something I've never seen data on is how late one can freeze
developing blastula or embryo (rather than say eggs or sperm)
and still get functioning organisms from them upon reanimation.
And in any case the number is "soft" given improvements one might
expect in everything from antifreeze molecules to 21st Century Medicine's
vitrification processes.

Sorry I wasn't clear enough about this.

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