Human Evolution

I found the first video – ‘What will humans look like in 100 years?’ – to be the most interesting for a number of reasons. I specifically found the part when he talked about the theoretical transition from man made prostheses to, well, man grown prostheses to be fascinating, partially because of how simple it is to say versus how many barriers there currently are. He discusses George Church’s work to incorporate an entire human genome into a programmable cell and how it is in theory possible to alter this genome to our advantage, then how the ethics of doing so must be addressed. His arguments for why this is absolutely necessary are interesting, such as his definition of ‘ethical’ being ‘what is best for human survival.’ His discussion of numbered life civilizations is such a foreign way of thinking about life and his examples of potential alterations indicative of a life three civilization – including cells re-splicing in response to radiation and breathing by ‘having oxygen flow through your blood instead of your lungs’ – are so outlandish that it is difficult to think of them as currently relevant. These abstract concepts are followed by a concept that is extremely interesting and being worked on currently: replacing/altering specific fundamental chemicals, like those used to build nucleic acids, in order to create alternate systems of chemistry that might allow for greater adaptability and provide immunity to effectively everything on earth. I have been interested the process of abiogenesis, but only for the specific chemistry that life we know of uses – when considering that there’s no reason life had to start out exactly as it did, the possibilities for creating life seem to expand greatly; I would be curious to know more about experiments altering things like base pairs and amino acids, as discusses by the speaker. On a different note, I enjoyed watching videos of cell processes on the following channel immensely: https://www.youtube.com/user/XVIVOAnimation. (We might have looked at one of these in class? I can’t quite remember.)

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