Re: SuperGerms and Longevity

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Tue Jun 13 2000 - 05:23:30 MDT

KPJ <> writes:

> |I understand that bacteria are biologically very different from the kinds
> |of cells which make up our bodies. We need to find something that can
> |prevent them from reproducing without harming our cells, something so
> |fundamental that they can't evolve away from it. Hopefully, research
> |will hit upon a "magic bullet" like this within the next few years.
> The fundamental biochemical processes of life appear everywhere. Bacteria
> have this magical weapon: they take parts of DNA from other life forms and
> incorporate into their own DNA programming. This could make it somewhat
> hard to eliminate them.

Well, that is not really what usually happens. Bacteria often exchange
plasmids, small loops of DNA containing "recipes" for various genes
which may or may not be useful. Among the most important for us are of
course plasmids coding for antibiotics resistance. As for stealing DNA
from multicellular species, I think that is very rare. Viruses however
sometimes do it.

> Anyways, we would only wish to get rid of _some_ of the bacteria.
> Humans would find a world without bacteria a less than perfect
> world, I am sure.

There was some essay I read when I was young describing what would
happen if all bacteria suddenly died. A quite depressing essay.

The trick is to control the bacteria that hurt us and our interests,
or possibly change ourselves and our interests so that they become
irrelevant. Getting rid of bacteria is overkill and far too hard.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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