Re: Nanotech control systems (was Re: Transhuman Beach Party)
Thu, 9 Sep 1999 23:11:04 EDT

In a message dated 9/9/99 7:13:05 PM Pacific Daylight Time, writes:

>They have engineered Drosophila with legs growing out of the head
> and I believe with extra sets of wings. It simply involves adding
> putting a gene that makes and "X" and under the regulation of
> the "Y" region control element, i.e.
> if (I_Am_In_Region_Y)
> Synthesize_Collection_Of_Cells_for_X();


They didn't engineer Antennapedia or Bithorax, they found them. We probably could engineer them now; alterations to developmental genes are pretty routine for the major experimental animals. Also, those particular mutations are to region-identifying genes.

> If it looks like something you already grow, you could probably assemble
> them in a fairly ad hoc fasion.

Yes, but it gets harder away from pet organisms. Details matter; a lot of these
things are concentration-dependent and you have to get the concentrations right. It's a real problem for "engineering" people - in addition to ethical issues
about lack of choice there's a very high chance that you'd make a few goofs fine-tuning the process and that's *really* unacceptable.