Re: Engineering Yog-Sothoth for Fun and Profit

Date: Wed Jul 25 2001 - 02:10:51 MDT

In a message dated 7/24/01 11:19:55 PM, writes:

> wrote:
>> Dr. Peter G. Schultz, director of the Genomics Institute of the Novartis
>> Research Foundation, wants to subject bacteria with extra synthetic amino
>> acids to stresses like heat or poison to see if they evolve and adapt
>> than natural bacteria. "Will those forms of life with a bigger
>> set be superior to the ones who have 20?" he asked.
>Is it just me, or does this sound like a really bad idea?

Nope; I'd be really concerned too. 25 years of lab experience has shown that
swapping genes has a minimal environmental effect. This doesn't indicate that
adding nifty new amino acids to the code is safe. Chance of major improvement
is small, but effects could be disastrous; so we should be pretty paranoid for
a decade or so.

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