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Go to: Will we ever clone a mammoth?

Michael Fisher's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by Michael Fisher

Comment 8 by Roedy :

We are missing the "hardware" needed to execute the DNA ~ the mommy womb.

Of course. However, I think creating an artificial womb would be an easier task than understanding DNA sufficiently well to construct a being to spec. We are working at the task from both ends -- how to keep fertilised eggs alive, and how to keep ever-younger premature infants alive.

It is the analogous problem to inventing hydroponics. It is like hydroponics for embryos. I don't see any problem in principle.

It has not analogous to the problem of inventing hydroponics. In embryo development how can the DNA be read if the materials needed to read it have not yet been produced? The answer is that they are provided by the mother in the form of mRNA and proteins. The early stages of development are controlled directly by the mother's genotype. "The womb" as I put it in shorthand is an entire environment & it's hand-in-glove with the embryo. To get the right environment for developing the embryo you need what the embryo becomes in advance. Using an elephant to bridge that gap is wishful thinking because the "mammoth" that results would vary from a "true" extinct mammoth in ways that we can't measure or test or correct for. We would have to guess. The information encoded in DNA is NOT SUFFICIENT to build a creature. It is a recursive problem.

I trust everyone read Aldous Huxley's Brave New World when artificial wombs had replaced human ones.

We have human wombs with which to model an artificial human womb. We do not have a Mammoth womb so we can't make an artificial mammoth womb & test the results against a real mammoth womb

Thu, 07 Jun 2012 08:08:01 UTC | #946070

Go to: Will we ever clone a mammoth?

Michael Fisher's Avatar Jump to comment 4 by Michael Fisher

Comment 1 by Roedy :

Given enough time, we may understand DNA well enough that we can design a creature, and figure out some DNA sequence that would generate it. We then could build a mammoth,

Untrue. We are missing the "hardware" needed to execute the DNA ~ the mommy womb. Also if we used a modern day elephant womb as the "hardware" we would never be sure we had a normal mammoth offspring

or a least a creature that looked and acted as we expect a mammoth to behave.

Whatever that means. We can guess mammoth behaviour by looking at modern elephants & perhaps Mammoth trackways & extrapolate, but we would never know if we had it right. Also, since Mammoths are long-lived social animals some of their behaviour is culturally transmitted.

If we became extinct & aliens tried to recreate us using our DNA & say a chimp womb...

Wed, 06 Jun 2012 22:39:54 UTC | #945973

Go to: Church puts Pat Tillman on a Christian cross for Memorial Day

Michael Fisher's Avatar Jump to comment 25 by Michael Fisher

Comment 19 by S. Austin :

...Based on that video, and knowing that type of nicey-nice, well-meaning but rather provincial woman very well, I'm betting 99.999 percent that she had NO idea in this world that she was putting an atheist's name on a cross and had no ill intent. [...] get our asses off our shoulders.

The woman assumed he was a Christian. She should have researched her subject. If a famous American Muslim sportsman/woman had joined the military & died in service would she have had the sensitivity not to memorialise him/her with a cross & used a Muslim symbol instead?

Out of curiosity ~ what does "get our asses off our shoulders mean" & where is it said? Never come across that expression before. :)

Tue, 29 May 2012 20:03:26 UTC | #944310

Go to: Human Evolution Isn't What It Used to Be

Michael Fisher's Avatar Jump to comment 4 by Michael Fisher

Matt Ridley QUOTE:

"If you write about genetics and evolution, one of the commonest questions you are likely to be asked at public events is whether human evolution has stopped ... the short answer is probably "yes." I say this for two reasons.

First, it's clear, from glancing around society, that clever people—who on average have slightly bigger brains—aren't having more babies than less-clever people.

Second, the fossil record strongly suggests that our brain size peaked at 1,500 cubic centimetres around 20,000 years ago and has since shrunk to 1,350 cc"

So Ridley is employing the popular, incorrect conception of "Evolving" ~ i.e. greater intelligence, greater speed, greater agility etc.

If our average brain size has indeed decreased over the past 20k years this is still a line of evidence that we have evolved in the sense that the proportions/mixes of alleles within the human population may have changed over that 20k years [Assuming it can't be put down to say a change in eating habits from hunter/gatherer to a potentially more impoverished urban burger diet :) ]

Thu, 24 May 2012 23:38:14 UTC | #943383

Go to: A Mathematical Challenge to Obesity

Michael Fisher's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by Michael Fisher

This is a joke right? Assumptions galore from top to [ahem] bottom.

Sun, 20 May 2012 22:57:02 UTC | #942518

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