Re: C14 cryonics question

Anders Sandberg (
10 Nov 1998 20:00:33 +0100

Spike Jones <> writes:

> for those who are up to speed on cryonics, a question please:
> our tissues are mostly carbon and carbon has an isotope (C14)
> with half life about 6kyr. when C14 undergoes beta decay, the
> remainder is a nitrogen atom. looks like the dna chain would
> be broken there. would the cell then be dead? dependent
> on a nanobot to find and repair the break? have there been
> calculations done on this? spike

According to the chemistry textbook I have in my bookshelf the abundancy in living material is one in 10^12. The human genome is roughly 6e9 nucleotides, each having around 10 carbon atoms - hence each cell has 6e10 carbon atoms in the genome. The chance of having just one C14 is one in 17; of these just 1% suffers decay in a century. The problem is likely minor compared to other sources of damage.

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