Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Playing God?

It's interesting to see how this "God person" keeps popping up lately ... :-)
BBC has a great start of this year with quite a few documentaries on new science and last night I watched Horizon on synthetic biology. (here's a short compilation of information on synthetic biology).
As with physics, I also don't have the "biology chip" installed, so finding that nowadays goats can produce milk that can then be turned into silk is quite mindboggling to me!
As with the latest physics, this is also really exciting science though, also because of implications for health care ... and we still go for making the blind see again and the lame walk, right?
But even this invention to have goats produce milk to create silk is nice, as now the caterpillars are dying as a result of the production of silk. And now thanks to our friend spider new options are opening ... (nice to see spiders from a friendly angle too!)
And if this new technique can also create diesel, why not have it create entirely environment-friendly new energy?
I watched this video by professor Jamie Davies of Edinburgh University:

It also goes into the developments of children and people from all walks of life going into this field in backyards, garages and kitchens, like in Sunnyvale. It's called biocurious (this should be one of the websites, I can't check it today as it is on strike against the censorship of the web by US government; my own sites are also on strike!).
I feel quite silly that I wasn't aware of all these new and exciting developments before, so it's time to catch up!
Here's a video on synthetic neurobiology:

I could not find any backyard projects in Amsterdam, but here is a link to the international competitions that Jamie Davies was referring to.
Yes, this stuff will stir up the ancient ethical questions ... but as long as we have israelis creating nuclear explosions in Japan ... do we really want to stop all new developments ...?
And as you can see in the illustration at the top of this post, synthetic biology must have been on the back of my mind all along ...

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