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Genetic Modification
Topic Rating: +1 (1 votes) 
January 12, 2014
4:37 pm
vampyremage
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I was speaking about this topic on another forum and I thought it was an appropriate topic to bring up here. Assuming it were possible with some relative degree of safety to have oneself genetically modified, would you consider doing it? If so, how far would you go with it? Would you stick to simply correcting problems and/or disabilities, would you improve your appearance in a traditionally human fashion, would you change your appearance in a non-human fashion or would you try and improve your characteristics in a non-human fashion?

Personally, I identify as a transhumanist. If such a technology were possible there are many things I'd want to do with it. I would quite willingly modify my appearance in a fairly significant non-human fashion including, if possible, improving traits beyond normal human levels and adding traits that are not normally possible for humans. I have little attachment to the idea of physical humanness and thus the idea of deviating from it causes me much more fascinating and interest than it does apprehension.

January 12, 2014
7:18 pm
Chris Carter
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Can you offer a few specifics as to what traits you would improve upon or add? I've never put much thought into this but I assume I'd certainly agree to improved eyesight, including seeing in other spectrums, as well as ultra precise hearing. I guess these are improvements on current abilities rather than completely new physical changes though.

Church of Body Modification, President

January 12, 2014
9:02 pm
vampyremage
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I was thinking mainly in terms of enhanced senses or adding new senses not normally accessible by humans. Things like improved vision or hearing, night vision or echolocation. It could also cover things like enhanced strength, speed or stamina, tougher more damage resistant skin, the ability to digest foods not normally digestible or the ability to breath in environments humans are not normally able to breath in. I guess I'm taking ideas right from science fiction.

January 13, 2014
4:29 am
KendrahLi
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I think about this frequently. I would love to be able to reverse a few genetically triggered health problems and would be wonderful to have rapid healing. These I feel are doable with our technology, or at least near future doable and I do hope for the ability to do it. I'm very weary of being sick and slowly dying at only 32.

In a huge leap of faith towards something most likely never possible, but it'd be cool. I'd also love to be able to have scales and spikes in large areas of my body like arms and legs for protection, enhanced vision, perhaps even the ability to have a breath weapon of sorts. Mental abilities would be great too, like being able to move things, control situations/animals/other, etc.

-= www.khaotyk-artwerx.com =- Ex Ignorantia Ad Sapientiam; E Luce Ad Tenebras
January 13, 2014
7:37 pm
Dirtnap
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I am very much a transhumanist myself. I have a list somewhere of all the sensory modifications I would make, were it possible, like electroreception from sharks, or the infrared sensing abilities of a snake. Enhancing the human eye's nictating membrane to work like it does in most animals as a third transparent eyelid would be amazing, as would replacing finger/toe nails with retractable claws, or growing optional use gills.

There are three big gene changes I would want, though, above all. The first being would be to replace the MSTN gene with the Follistatin Gene. This has two-fold benefits. For starters, the MSTN gene inhibits muscle growth in humans. Most apes do not have it, which is why pound for pound, we are the weakest of all primates. Follistatin is a myostatin inhibitor, so this change would increase muscle development at an impressive rate. Today's best bodybuilders couldn't touch the weakest person born with such a genetic modification.

Secondly, I want that gene from wood frogs that causes them to have organic antifreeze proteins that allow them to be frozen solid for long periods of time, then thawed out and still live. Don't like the world as it is, walk north, tell someone to come find you in 50 years.

Thirdly, I want the gene that allows lobsters to express telomerase. The fact that we can't replicate telomeres during cell division is a rather heavy factor in the aging process. Lobsters have biological immortality, I wouldn't mind having that.

The gene from alligators that allows them to regrow teeth when worn down or lost, and perhaps the gene that allows lizards to regrow limbs. That's just what we could do with genes we already well know and understand. I'd take every bit of that. If we could enhance things, like create a gene to control carcinogen release and angiogenesis inhibitors to control cellular replication so we could regrow whole limbs or the like subconsciously, that would be huge as well, and I'd take the risk of beta testing something like that, for sure.

January 14, 2014
3:49 am
Oakbear
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All the super power adaptions would be wonderful, but I think the interesting questions are about still identifying or being identified as human still. If I still needed to work, I suppose remaining broadly human in appearance would be necessary. If not, I think I would make significant changes.

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." - Nietzsche
January 14, 2014
5:02 pm
Sommersett
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I think it is very endearing that everyone, thus far, has wanted healing or protection abilities.

Along with the amazing list Dirtnap presented, I'd also like some melanophore cells complete with the ability to change color for camouflage. I'll also take some lethal venom maybe from a Stonefish or a spider or snake. NOT because I have any plans for these abilities, but because if I'm going to have defensive abilities I'd like offensive ones as well!Wink

Everyone has something to say about the Mona Lisa until you're standing in front of it speechless.
January 14, 2014
8:35 pm
vampyremage
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I love those considerations about whether or not one would still be considered human. What is human and how much deviation from what's considered traditionally human would it take to be no longer considered human? Some roleplaying games such as Shadowrun and Rifts play with this concept rather well. If X amount of modification makes one no longer human, is that a consideration in one's choices to enhance oneself in such a fashion?

January 29, 2014
7:15 am
Dirtnap
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Sommersett said 
I think it is very endearing that everyone, thus far, has wanted healing or protection abilities.

Along with the amazing list Dirtnap presented, I'd also like some melanophore cells complete with the ability to change color for camouflage. I'll also take some lethal venom maybe from a Stonefish or a spider or snake. NOT because I have any plans for these abilities, but because if I'm going to have defensive abilities I'd like offensive ones as well!Wink

 Oh yeah, I mentioned my having a fairly comprehensive list somewhere else? >_> I had more specific offensive abilities, and the like on it. You'll even notice I mentioned retractable claws in place of fingernails, that could have defensive and offensive purposes. That said, humankind already has an exceptional mind, so the ability to outlast and survive any predation goes a long way towards making us better predators as well. If our lungs were more efficient, and we could hold our breath longer, thing of how much farther a habitat we could explore, sure. But it's all in how it's put to use, for example echolocation would be an amazing sensory increase, and some would use it as a way to avoid bears in the wild, while others would use it to more quickly find deer to kill in the same environment, after all.

Pigment adaptation for sure, imagine if birthmarks, patterns on the skin, and even skin color itself were only as temporary or permanent as the person carrying them wished them to be? You could sport tattoos of your design at will, without the need of any assistance to apply for anyone. It would make tattoos and brandings even more interesting in my opinion. You can change the pigments in your skin, but not the ones put under it. >_> I'd go a step farther and want a bioluminescence gene as well, for purely asthetic reasons (since eye and other sensory enhancements would leave us without a need for light in the dark). Then your tattoos can glow in the dark at will. :D If you could change your skin more easily than even your clothes, how many people would still feel a need for clothes as a medium of decoration?

 

Oakbear said 
All the super power adaptions would be wonderful, but I think the interesting questions are about still identifying or being identified as human still. If I still needed to work, I suppose remaining broadly human in appearance would be necessary. If not, I think I would make significant changes.

vampyremage said 
I love those considerations about whether or not one would still be considered human. What is human and how much deviation from what's considered traditionally human would it take to be no longer considered human? Some roleplaying games such as Shadowrun and Rifts play with this concept rather well. If X amount of modification makes one no longer human, is that a consideration in one's choices to enhance oneself in such a fashion?

I started working on a novel (possibly a series of them) a few years back for NaNoWriMo that touched on this very point. The protagonist was a pacifist who got modified to have antlers like a deer, and his parents having had minor modifications that he never even realized put him just far enough outside the baseline genome to lose his rights as a human being, and the consequences it lead to. I should really get around to finishing it one of these days.

February 3, 2014
8:17 pm
Sommersett
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Dirtnap I encourage you to write.  I have 2 books on the back burners, so I can relate to the urge.  My inspiration and suggestion to you is position your characters as chess pieces keeping in mind a sideways move or timely retreat is check mate in many situations.  My books are in the self help genre and children's genre… totally different than this one!!!  IDK where the chess reference is coming from, I just feel like your readers may also enjoy chess.

Everyone has something to say about the Mona Lisa until you're standing in front of it speechless.
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