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  #1    
Old October 1st, 2013, 09:35 PM
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What it says on the box. We transfer genes all the time between organisms - even placed human genes in animals to study their effects. But should we insert non-human DNA into humans? Is it ethical? What are the benefits to society that could come out of this? Would the benefits outweigh the moral cost? Where do you draw the line?

For those of you with a religious background, what would your interpretation be? I'm wondering about this, because religion isn't aware about DNA and disease at a biological level. Would it even be wrong to insert human DNA in animals?
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Old October 1st, 2013, 09:38 PM
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I think it's not a good idea these days, because we don't fully understand many things about DNA and genes, but I don't have any problems with it when it comes to morals. I fully expect transfer of DNA between different species to be a thing sometime in the near-intermediate future.

Also seeing as I'm not religious I have no problems with this in that department - but I can see how some people would.
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Old October 1st, 2013, 11:12 PM
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Yes! I'm also not religious, so the whole humanity is a superior race modelled on god thing doesn't concern me, and can you imagine how many furries would want this? It might be incredibly useful, giving us capabilities like animals have, like the eyesight of an eagle or immunity to diseases, as long as lethal animal disease doesn't mutate to affect people and we wipe out everyone, humans can use our knowledge of science for the improvement of our species and the world.
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Old October 2nd, 2013, 12:22 AM
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I'm against any genetic manipulation of humans. Human experimentation itself is problematic and on the verge of being unethical, and allowing the possibility of creating human tiers based on genetic differentiation would lead to more discrimination and conflict.
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Old October 2nd, 2013, 02:59 AM
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I am all for this problem is it's inhumane and whatnot people will argue that it's wrong and stuff but honestly if we have the ability to create super saiyans then why not. Yeah people could use it for wierd stuff but people could use it for good stuff. If scientists can improve on the DNA and make it's effects not physical (from the outside) it could be a great health benefit. If a person is deaf what is wrong with injecting some super wax-moth DNA into them so they can hear? Honestly I am all for DNA injection.
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Old October 2nd, 2013, 06:53 AM
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Eff yes we should! Jellyfish can revert back to earlier stages in their lives I want to as well!
Also, we could have gills as well. Imagine the possibilities it's incredible.
I'd much prefer to become a cyborg but hey that's just me.

Also on topic: That would make a sweet movie, Cyborgs vs Synthetic mutants.
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Old October 2nd, 2013, 08:53 AM
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What exactly constitutes human, though? And to be technical, there are trillions of microbes, pathogens, other microscopic life, gut flora, etc, that already live symbiotically within our own bodies, each with their own genetic codes, etc. So it's not that much different. If you want to turn off biological markers for major diseases, be my guest. But if we're going for something like bioilluminessence, well that can wait, lol.
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Old October 2nd, 2013, 12:32 PM
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We have all kinds of artificial things in our bodies, like pacemakers, and we do organ transplants, so we're not exactly pristine. Changing what we are physically has been something we've been okay with for a while.

But we should look before we leap. I've nothing against the idea, no moral qualms, but I think we should try as best as we can to understand all the consequences of doing something like this. When you deal with a single person with a single lifespan it's not such a moral issue to modify them, but to change our DNA, that is, something that could be passed down to others, is something that has much wider reaching consequences. Unless there is a pressing need (like, I dunno, some new confounding epidemic) we should go slow if we are going to make any changes.

And really, what changes are necessary? What exactly are we looking to change? Curing terminal genetic diseases or making people taller and prettier? Do we make these changes because we don't want to have so many children born with, say, autism? Is it okay to make those kinds of decisions about what kinds of futures and chances people will have? I'm not saying it is or isn't, but that's, I think, the heart of the debate.
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Old October 3rd, 2013, 07:47 AM
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Hmmm... This is a new one. The only other time this was brought up is in Theosophy, where it was believed the Atlantians experimented on animals and other humans in a way that mixed the two together. It was eventually seen as morally wrong and Morya destroyed the practice...if I have my Theosophy right...

The thing we have going on now is the human/machine issue.

But any form of mixture, no matter what it may be, should be virtualized so we can see - to as great detail as possible - what the effects would be, before actually inserting anything. As long as that's the case, and the recipient REALLY WANTS the insertion, then sure.
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Old October 4th, 2013, 05:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlahISuck View Post
What it says on the box. We transfer genes all the time between organisms - even placed human genes in animals to study their effects. But should we insert non-human DNA into humans? Is it ethical? What are the benefits to society that could come out of this? Would the benefits outweigh the moral cost? Where do you draw the line?

For those of you with a religious background, what would your interpretation be? I'm wondering about this, because religion isn't aware about DNA and disease at a biological level. Would it even be wrong to insert human DNA in animals?
I think there are two issues to be discussed here:

1. Would the idea of introducing non-human DNA in humans be conducive of any (harmful) consequences? In other words, would this be good utlitarianism?

2. Consequences aside, is there something inherently unethical about the idea?

Scientists would be more fit to discuss 1, to me 2 seems the more interesting question. I can't seem to find anything morally reprehensible with the idea whatsoever- no matter what ethical theory you subscribe to, religious or not. Maybe someone can argue it's unnatural (and therefore, un-human), but its not obvious that our "humanity" is located in our genome sequences. Even if we were to grow wings and gotten rid of most diseases, we would still be just as human. Our lives would be considerably easier, but that doesn't seem to reduce our humanity anymore than pacemakers or synthetic organs do. One could argue: perhaps permanent, sustained changes in the human species is different from transient changes, in that permanent changes seem to go against the doctrine of God's perfect creation of Man. But even that's not very obvious. Maybe slippery slope arguments can be made as well.

Anyhow, the above is armchair philosophizing. Until we get some concrete idea as to how or why changes in human genome would be made and what the results might be, it's really hard to assess the associated moral dilemmas (if any).
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Old October 4th, 2013, 06:32 AM
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Technically, you can't exactly say that we do have 100% "human" DNA right now, so I'm pretty... well, might as well.

I just hope there's no some kind of insane movement by anti-whatever groups that ruins things for everyone.
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Old October 5th, 2013, 02:11 PM
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I am for humans augmented with animal DNA. I hold false the "ethics" line of thought for two reasons. One some of those who hold that it is unethical are stating thus because it conflicts with their view of the world (be it for religious reasons or otherwise.) These I don't mind as such but their argument that it is wrong "because god wanted us the way we are" (again following what I have received from both highly and semi-religious people) I would put it to them that if "God" had wanted us with no "impure" DNA though-out our body's then he or it depending on your viewpoint would be flawed in its assumption that that bacteria would not be free-flowing.

The other argument that stands against DNA-augmentation is that the processes is not fully understood and such posses a risk of cross species viruses. That I fully support further investigation into DNA-augmentation. However I fully support the cause and would donate monetary funds to the cause.
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Old October 5th, 2013, 03:17 PM
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Who says our DNA doesn't already contain coding from other creatures along the evolutionary line?
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Old October 9th, 2013, 08:18 AM
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I don't enjoy the prospect of altering humans in a significant way - the general ethical and more pragmatic worries ("what unknown effects could snail genes have on us?") stuff doesn't really factor into my own concerns, more the societal consequences.

I'm in favour of modifying humans if it will save them from a life-threatening disease, or cure some sort of disability. I don't think anyone would refuse a blind man the opportunity to see again. However, my problem is that everything with humans is a slippery slope. We love pushing boundaries, we do it from childhood to our last years. This can be positive: black rights > women's rights > gay rights. However, in this particular situation I see it as negative. Curing blindness turns to curing subpar vision turns to boosting a dwarf's height to turning "John who's always felt a bit short at 5 foot 3" to a 6 foot man. Treatments that start off as important turn into cosmetic. Soon, everyone is modified in some way, because they felt like it.

Now perhaps that's not a problem inherently, but I think it would cause something of a rift in society, arguably on a huge scale. I'm not a conservative person, but I'm against this. If that's the case, do we really think conservatives + FAIRLY liberal but weary people aren't going to be against a "post-human" movement? Considering the likely rapid evolving of such a thing, it could (I stress *could*, this is perhaps a bit extreme) get to the point where the "conservatives" and the non-conservatives form a different class. Regular humans can't compete with altered ones for jobs and so on - they'd be like very disabled people today. There'd also be pressure on people to change their kids to give them the best chance in life etc, I just don't think it'd be healthy for society.

As I said, that's perhaps a tad... apocalyptic. However I do think it's a real concern and on a smaller scale, an inevitability. So I need to ask: do we need to do something with such massive consequences? I'm all in favour of needed progress that has some negative repercussions, but I don't know if post-humanism is anything other than progress for the sake of progress.

If there was some sort of way to ensure that throwing animal DNA or w/e into people would be done only for necessary stuff like immunity to lethal diseases, curing crippling disabilities and so on, I'd be fine with it. However, I just don't know if it'd be able to be kept to that and I do not see the need for anything beyond the two examples of healthy usage I listed above.
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Old October 9th, 2013, 04:37 PM
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Um, it may have already been mentioned but ....

This already happens regularly. ERVs are common, and flora in your own digestive tract can influence your DNA. DNA is not some strict code, we define it as a code to anthropomorphize it so we can better understand it, but it's not a strict code. If anything, it's a recipe, and recipes always change, that's why DNA/RNA survived the organic soup long enough to spark life. Controlling the changes would offer better health, and longer lives. Vaccines alter the DNA, not directly like ERVs but they are a controlled alteration of your DNA in many cases, resulting in an immunity to a virus you were not born with.

But .... and this will probably surprise some people, hopefully not many people, every combination of markers in our chromosomes exists in other animals. Ethics are simply a sub culture's opinion of what is right and wrong, they change a lot between cultures and eras, so to ask if anything is ethical the appropriate response would be "according to who and when?"
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Old October 10th, 2013, 09:18 AM
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Transplants of non-human organs into humans are common. Take a pigs heart or liver for instance. DNA is riddled within each of our own organs and by transplanting animal organs into our own we are then introducing animal DNA into human patients. I for one have no problems with it. It's already happening and there is little that anyone can do to change it.



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I think it's not a good idea these days, because we don't fully understand many things about DNA and genes
DNA isn't as mysterious as it was 10, even 20 years ago. There have been significant amount of research, study and experimenting done with DNA to understand it and scientists have already been manipulating it to separate desired structures from undesirable ones, (IE: understanding viruses and how it affects the system). Stem Cell research has also been a great breakthrough, unfortunately this country can't seem to understand what it means to separate church from state and lets the churches dictate to the government what science is allowed to do. If it cures cancer or other major diseases then I say go for it, take my eggs while you're at it and have at it.

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I'm against any genetic manipulation of humans. Human experimentation itself is problematic and on the verge of being unethical, and allowing the possibility of creating human tiers based on genetic differentiation would lead to more discrimination and conflict.
I'm actually all for human experimentation. The only way we can completely understand if something will work for a human is to use a human as an example. In this, I say that those in jails and prisons who are there for life without a shadow of a doubt guilty should be used in experiments. They can help further our research and our tax dollars aren't going to be paying for them to just sit around watching cable TV and playing basketball out in the courts. As someone who is going into the field of psychiatry with a minor concentration in neuroscience it would be vital for me to have humans in my research, especially if I am to try and find cures for or abnormalities in the brain.
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Old October 10th, 2013, 09:24 AM
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Transplants of non-human organs into humans are common. Take a pigs heart or liver for instance. DNA is riddled within each of our own organs and by transplanting animal organs into our own we are then introducing animal DNA into human patients. I for one have no problems with it. It's already happening and there is little that anyone can do to change it.
To clarify, this is not about the introduction of foreign DNA into the human body through transplantation, but the insertion of foreign DNA into the human genome. Humans cells would be able to create foreign proteins.

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I'm actually all for human experimentation. The only way we can completely understand if something will work for a human is to use a human as an example. In this, I say that those in jails and prisons who are there for life without a shadow of a doubt guilty should be used in experiments. They can help further our research and our tax dollars aren't going to be paying for them to just sit around watching cable TV and playing basketball out in the courts. As someone who is going into the field of psychiatry with a minor concentration in neuroscience it would be vital for me to have humans in my research, especially if I am to try and find cures for or abnormalities in the brain.
This frightens me.
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Old October 10th, 2013, 10:13 AM
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To clarify, this is not about the introduction of foreign DNA into the human body through transplantation, but the insertion of foreign DNA into the human genome. Humans cells would be able to create foreign proteins.
Ah okay, I must have misread. So you mean gene splicing?

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I'm actually all for human experimentation. The only way we can completely understand if something will work for a human is to use a human as an example. In this, I say that those in jails and prisons who are there for life without a shadow of a doubt guilty should be used in experiments. They can help further our research and our tax dollars aren't going to be paying for them to just sit around watching cable TV and playing basketball out in the courts. As someone who is going into the field of psychiatry with a minor concentration in neuroscience it would be vital for me to have humans in my research, especially if I am to try and find cures for or abnormalities in the brain.
This frightens me.
How? Do you mean using those already on death row that are going to die from injection or electric chair in use to further research? I think someone would much rather opt to be used to further medicine than to die by being injected by poisons. Or do you mean comparing brains that are otherwise "normal" to one that is considered "abnormal," finding the differences and searching for ways to unlock or repair where neurons may not be able to transmit and causing chemicals of the brain to be disrupted? Between stem cell research, examination of those few people with genetic immortality, and the comparison of neurons from one brain to another there may be ways to uncover the mysteries of Alzheimer's and memory loss, and the only way to understand a human brain, is by studying the human brain.
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Old October 10th, 2013, 10:30 AM
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Ah okay, I must have misread. So you mean gene splicing?
Yep.

Other people probably have more to say about the second point, although a discussion of rights and freedoms would probably be relevant. I'm not too sure about the ethics of consent, however, if someone consents to be used in such a way...
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Old October 10th, 2013, 10:41 AM
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Yep.

Other people probably have more to say about the second point, although a discussion of rights and freedoms would probably be relevant. I'm not too sure about the ethics of consent, however, if someone consents to be used in such a way...
Gene modifications in such a manner has almost no effect on the host organism. For one thing, you'd have to alter trillions of cells almost simultaneously for it to happen. Assuming any organism, even humans, could even survive such a procedure, there would be little to no change in the organism, even humans because we are animals. What it could alter is the function of one organ, even if all the cells in the body had such a change, because cells are not effected by the entire sequence, each cell is only effected by a portion, depending on the cell's function in the colony.

The only possible way such a change could have a drastic effect on an organism is to alter the reproductive cell, the very first cell of the organism to exist, which happens all the time anyway just not in a controlled manner.
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Old October 11th, 2013, 07:12 PM
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The current advantage that can be gained from genetic modification is a stronger immune system, and not much else. That said, if in the next 40 years they begin to modify the genome to drastic levels to where people are part reptilian, then sign me up for that. I'd love to have a tail, even if it makes using the bathroom more difficult.

I mean, when most people fantasize about genetic modification, they think of humans with wings and eyes that can see in the dark like birds and cats respectively. They never bother to think of the negative parts of the modifications. Wings are difficult to hide, and your eyesight would be so good that you'd probably go insane.
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Old October 11th, 2013, 08:01 PM
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Eff yes we should! Jellyfish can revert back to earlier stages in their lives I want to as well!
Also, we could have gills as well. Imagine the possibilities it's incredible.
I'd much prefer to become a cyborg but hey that's just me.

Also on topic: That would make a sweet movie, Cyborgs vs Synthetic mutants.
His avatar is the aperture science icon I think he knows more than we do...

Anyway I volenteer to be part of these testings as long as they let me go even if the experiement fails.

I would like wolf DNA because of speed strength and agility not to mention the perks of a pack mentality so i don't need to worry about anything unless the pack leader does and he is the one who makes everything happen
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Old October 11th, 2013, 08:09 PM
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Ah okay, I must have misread. So you mean gene splicing?



How? Do you mean using those already on death row that are going to die from injection or electric chair in use to further research? I think someone would much rather opt to be used to further medicine than to die by being injected by poisons. Or do you mean comparing brains that are otherwise "normal" to one that is considered "abnormal," finding the differences and searching for ways to unlock or repair where neurons may not be able to transmit and causing chemicals of the brain to be disrupted? Between stem cell research, examination of those few people with genetic immortality, and the comparison of neurons from one brain to another there may be ways to uncover the mysteries of Alzheimer's and memory loss, and the only way to understand a human brain, is by studying the human brain.
...As good as that sounds on paper, do you know how many humane groups would protest and cry out at this?
In fact, the same applies to everything regarding this topic. I'm all for it, it'd be interesting to see where non-human DNA in humans leads us, especially if it means longetivity and health. But then you start to think...what determines if you qualify for one of these or not? If Carol and Steve are blind, what would qualify them to get non-human DNA? What if they don't have money? Then you end up with one superior breed of humans who don't have to worry about disease or anything just because they were born rich and you get the inferior race..which escalates until you get to some sort of dystopian-reality.
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Old October 12th, 2013, 01:15 AM
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...As good as that sounds on paper, do you know how many humane groups would protest and cry out at this?
In fact, the same applies to everything regarding this topic. I'm all for it, it'd be interesting to see where non-human DNA in humans leads us, especially if it means longetivity and health. But then you start to think...what determines if you qualify for one of these or not? If Carol and Steve are blind, what would qualify them to get non-human DNA? What if they don't have money? Then you end up with one superior breed of humans who don't have to worry about disease or anything just because they were born rich and you get the inferior race..which escalates until you get to some sort of dystopian-reality.
Well, the glaring problem of the topic is a lack of definition. "Inserting animal DNA" could introduction of viruses adapted as part of the cell colony of the human body as a new cell. Or transplants, which all inherently add a new DNA to the mixture already present in the body. It could mean designed ERVs, to insert DNA into the reproduction cells of the host organism, thus altering the potential offspring. However, physical changes to an already established organism, such as a teenage human or older, would prove too much shock for the physiology, and almost always result in cancer or death. The few things we could change in the human after development would be immunity and basic physiological traits, which we do both quite often, though we use chemicals for the latter without any permanent changes to the genetic structure.

As for "humane" groups, most of those are insane anyway, a bunch of know-nothing naysayers with too much time on their hands thanks to the medical and technological advances they are so against. Best to just laugh at them and move on.
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