[ExI] Purified humanity Re: Your Genome Is a Post-Apocalyptic Wasteland

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Sun Oct 6 17:33:03 UTC 2013

On 2013-10-04 05:00, Rafal Smigrodzki wrote:
> ## In the next 20 years we might have the technologies sufficient to
> edit a human genome to remove all the garbage of the ages. No
> endogenous viruses, a much shorter genome with enhanced copy
> protection - imagine having no redundancy in genes, making most
> mutations deadly - this would give a much smaller "mutational
> cross-section" = many fewer parts to go wrong but if it goes wrong, it
> goes all the way to necrosis, rather than becoming an undead enemy, a
> neoplasm. The organism would be resilient, energetically efficient and
> completely cancer-proof. And all that even before splicing in any
> really new stuff.
> I wonder what would be the performance of such an organism.

Us too. We have been discussing this at FHI at some length, trying to 
find good references and models. There seem to be a significant 
mutational load on most organisms, but converting the theory into 
predictions for actual mental or physical performance has so far eluded 
us. Anybody who has some good pointers into the literature is most 
welcome to share them!

Removing redundancy to make mutations directly lethal might not be 
optimal for all genes. A lot of mutations seem to just reduce 
performance, so you increase the risk of being born with reduced 
performance genes. After all, being heterozygous for sickle-cell anemia 
is not lethal, yet pretty annoying.

Dr Anders Sandberg
Future of Humanity Institute
Oxford Martin School
Oxford University

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