Could DNA form anything?

jread
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Could DNA form anything?

Good evening my friends. I was thinking about this the other night and I want to see what y'all think.

Is it possible for DNA to theoretically form things that have never existed? I'm thinking like, aliens, crazy things, monsters, weird plants, etc, etc.

Is there a limit to the possible combinations and strings of DNA which may be used in creation of a living thing? Or in other words, is there a set amount of all possible combinations of DNA chains? 

Could these living things that have not yet existed, perhaps someday be created in a lab using some undeveloped scientific process, theoretically?

 

Those are it really, I don't think I have any more questions to ask. Forgive me if the questions are scientifically irrelevant. By the way, if I got some terminology wrong in my questions, feel free to correct me. Thanks! 

The implication that we should put Darwinism on trial overlooks the fact that Darwinism has always been on trial within the scientific community. -- From Finding Darwin's God by Kenneth R. Miller

Chaos and chance don't mean the absence of law and order, but rather the presence of order so complex that it lies beyond our abilities to grasp and describe it. -- From From Certainty to Uncertainty by F. David Peat


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jread wrote: Good evening

jread wrote:

Good evening my friends. I was thinking about this the other night and I want to see what y'all think.

Is it possible for DNA to theoretically form things that have never existed? I'm thinking like, aliens, crazy things, monsters, weird plants, etc, etc.

Is there a limit to the possible combinations and strings of DNA which may be used in creation of a living thing? Or in other words, is there a set amount of all possible combinations of DNA chains?

Could these living things that have not yet existed, perhaps someday be created in a lab using some undeveloped scientific process, theoretically?

 

Those are it really, I don't think I have any more questions to ask. Forgive me if the questions are scientifically irrelevant. By the way, if I got some terminology wrong in my questions, feel free to correct me. Thanks!

No, DNA cannot form "anything". This post smacks of fantacy "poof" Dungeons and Dragons implications. DNA cannot make a "CrockaDuck" as Ray Comfort falsely accuses evolution as being.

DNA is going to do what it has always done and that is evolve.  

Now, will humans look different in the future? Most likely, just like we looked different in the past. But with any DNA based life, the entire species doesnt "POOF" change. Changes are tiny and happen over long periods of time.

The questions above show socieities lack of knowlege of how biology and evolution work. 

Not knowing what changes will happen, or what the future combos might be shouldnt constitute wild speculation like the above. Study past species of life, study current species and know your science. Thats it. Monitor all data and new data and go from there.

No need to speculate about green men or unicorns. 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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yes as Brian

yes as Brian said...

Another bad train of thought would be; DNA can give its host the ability for telepathy, telekinesis, lasers shooting from ones eyes, or stainless steel claws for fingers. In other words don't think xmen or superheros for their attributes or ability to morph, (evolve), in an afternoon.

DNA not only has work with what it's got, (hereditary), but is also bound by the laws of physics and anatomical integrity.


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jread wrote:Good evening

jread wrote:

Good evening my friends. I was thinking about this the other night and I want to see what y'all think.

Is it possible for DNA to theoretically form things that have never existed?

Sure, we already DOES. We've created drought resistant crops and similar things in the lab by splcing genes from one organsim into another.  
Quote:
I'm thinking like, aliens, crazy things, monsters, weird plants, etc, etc.

To a degree, yes, but this isn't a science fictions sort of "yes". If we understand a gene we can manipulate it and move it around and insert it in places or activate it where it was not present or dormant before, but there IS a limit. We can only work with what is available and what we understand - just like mother nature and natural selection.

 We are not yet at the point where we can manufacture genetic sequeces to do X (we can get X by splicing and combining what is already available in many cases though), not yet anyway - I expect that we will eventually be able to do exactly that, but it hasn't been done from scratch yet, and still there would be limits.

Quote:
Is there a limit to the possible combinations and strings of DNA which may be used in creation of a living thing? Or in other words, is there a set amount of all possible combinations of DNA chains? 

Sort of. There is a language to genetics. That language is not something we're able to toy with; however within that language the amount of combinations are for all intents and purposes infinite - that is NOT to say they have infinite potential. Chemistry and physics will always limit the possibilities.

So for example, could we manipulate an organisms genome to make it taller? Yes. Could we make a person 50 feet tall - hell no.

Quote:
Could these living things that have not yet existed, perhaps someday be created in a lab using some undeveloped scientific process, theoretically?

It is within the realm of possibilities, but as I said, there would be limits to what could be achieved. We couldn't go and create X-men in the lab, we could make somebody stronger, bigger, faster, ect, but only withing the confines of what we have to work with.

Those are it really, I don't think I have any more questions to ask. Forgive me if the questions are scientifically irrelevant. By the way, if I got some terminology wrong in my questions, feel free to correct me. Thanks! 

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

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Brian37
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Here is the bad train of

Here is the bad train of thought that I have seen from both theists and si-fi fans.

1. Holy books(incert label here) Claim, "The world is going to end" yea, no duh, but not because of Lex Luthor or Superman. People baskicly made a natural guess that "everything dies" so theirfore the world will too. Problem is they incerted a magical mythological end insted of looking for natural answers.

2. Gene Rodenbery speculated about a hand held phone(tricorder). He based his specualtion on microwave tecnology wich already existed But he still could not have known that his speculation could become a reality in the future. He had no way to build a cell phone back then. And I dont think he'd atribute his speculation as being a prediction. He didnt build the first cell phone. People after him looked at the idea and wondered if it was possible. But that did not make him a prophet of any sort.

Henry Ford built a car, but he could not have built a modern Lamborginni back then with what he had at the time. Again, no one looks at Henry Ford and would say, "He knew about modern Lamborginnis".

In both cases people speculate. But, saying that the sky is blue doesnt mean you know WHY the sky is blue.

The difference between science and religion is that science doesnt seek to speculate first. Sceintific method builds on prior data and discards bad data.

Religion never started as a result of science. "Thunder is scary" so therefor "Thor did it". "The end will come" So therefore Allah will defeat Satan. "The end will come" So therefor Jesus will defeat Satan.

Wereas science might say, "The end will come" because of a nuclear war or global warming, or meteor, or comet, or sun expansion.

DNA is not magical. Certainly we have learned alot about it, and we have manipulated it to create new breeds of flowers and are now looking at medical technology to find solutions to medical problems.

But we should not say, "DNA is so vast in it's statistical combos of possibilities that we can eventually grow oranges from our earlobes".

Dont speculate out of ignorance. Comics have their place just as the NFL does as a form of entertainment. But dont basterdize science by speculating "Since humans exist, and Lamborginnis exist I wonder if I'll ever be able to fart a real Lamborginni out of my ass".

Claims are claims untill they are backed up by data and you dont make data up and then move. You observe and test data first and then go where it leads, not where you want it to go. 

 

 

 

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Yellow_Number_Five
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While I don't disagree with

While I don't disagree with what you've said on a tech level, Brian, I do think you're assuming quite a bit about jread.

I don't think the question was asked from any sort of religious or sci-fi standpoint, and I certainly didn't see anyone making ignorant speculation - just somebody asking, "is this possible?".

I know we get quite a few knobs in here, but I'm pretty sure that when jread asks questions they are out of genuine curiousity and a desire to understand, and thus far he's (or possibly she, I'm actually not sure, sorry) has conducted his/herself in a very admirable manner.

Given what is reported in soundbites on the news in regards to genetic engineering and similar things, it's no wonder people have these sorts of questions.

They deserve an honest and straight answer on the subject witout having the mere notion or hint of contention broken down to belief in Thor.

As much as I'm for confronting theists and challenging god belief, I don't think we need to go out of our way to marginalize one of the few people who actually came here with a somewhat open mind and a desire to understand.

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

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Brian37
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Yellow_Number_Five

Yellow_Number_Five wrote:

While I don't disagree with what you've said on a tech level, Brian, I do think you're assuming quite a bit about jread.

I don't think the question was asked from any sort of religious or sci-fi standpoint, and I certainly didn't see anyone making ignorant speculation - just somebody asking, "is this possible?".

I know we get quite a few knobs in here, but I'm pretty sure that when jread asks questions they are out of genuine curiousity and a desire to understand, and thus far he's (or possibly she, I'm actually not sure, sorry) has conducted his/herself in a very admirable manner.

Given what is reported in soundbites on the news in regards to genetic engineering and similar things, it's no wonder people have these sorts of questions.

They deserve an honest and straight answer on the subject witout having the mere notion or hint of contention broken down to belief in Thor.

As much as I'm for confronting theists and challenging god belief, I don't think we need to go out of our way to marginalize one of the few people who actually came here with a somewhat open mind and a desire to understand.

Wasnt my intent. But when the original post uses the word "monster" it does come across as Elm Streetish and Chucky like.

Its merely a warning to not speculate wildly and certainly not mistake speculation as prophacy.

It was blunt, but not in a berating way. It was ment as cautionary. "Be carefull" how you approach scientific method.

My fangs were not out in that last post believe me. I've had them out, and this was not one of those times. 

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Point taken and understood,

Point taken and understood, Brian. I should have figured as much.

I just get a little touchy when we get somebody on the other side of the fence who seems genuinely open to learning - we all know how unfortuately rare that is.

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

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Brian37
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Yellow_Number_Five

Yellow_Number_Five wrote:

Point taken and understood, Brian. I should have figured as much.

I just get a little touchy when we get somebody on the other side of the fence who seems genuinely open to learning - we all know how unfortuately rare that is.

Well, anyone who has known me, especially those who have talked to me multiple times over, knows that my bark is way worse than my bite. I am a PUSSYcat Meaow.

A rolled up newspaper usually does it.

Anywho, this theist need not worry about me eating their children. I only do that on days that end with the letter "Z".Tongue out

Carry on.  

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37


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Haha -- thanks for the

Haha -- thanks for the engaging and entertaining replies guys. Brian and yellow, your exchange was priceless.

I was thinking in my head..."Brian, I very much dislike Ray Comfort. Please don't associate my question with his thoughts; that makes me sick."

And then when Yellow came in, "Thanks Yellow. I most assuredly was not thinking like Ray Comfort or trying to criticize DNA from a creationist point of closed-view." Eye-wink 

So thanks to both of you, you definitely kept the fangs locked away and helped me gain a little more understanding.

 When I said "monsters" I was sort of thinking sci-fi...But not in a "out to debunk scientific theory" kind of way. I was just genuinely curious  Eye-wink

I don't blame you for coming at my question with a cautionary, warning tone Brian. I wouldn't hold it past a theist to try and use the possibilities of DNA to try and argue for creationism (although, I don't personally see how someone could...)

 

Just one follow up question...Is there a limit to how long a DNA chain can be? Like can there be a sequence of 1 trillion base-paired DNA chains?  

 

Thanks again guys.  

 

The implication that we should put Darwinism on trial overlooks the fact that Darwinism has always been on trial within the scientific community. -- From Finding Darwin's God by Kenneth R. Miller

Chaos and chance don't mean the absence of law and order, but rather the presence of order so complex that it lies beyond our abilities to grasp and describe it. -- From From Certainty to Uncertainty by F. David Peat


Yellow_Number_Five
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jread wrote: Just one

jread wrote:

Just one follow up question...Is there a limit to how long a DNA chain can be? Like can there be a sequence of 1 trillion base-paired DNA chains?  

I'm not positive, but at first blush I'd say yes, but it would be freaking HUGE!

Chromosomes are billions of base pairs long, but at the end of the day they are polymers and ought to behave as such. I know from working with other organic polymers, that you can only make so long a chain before the chain essentially bunches up on itself, altering its physical properties to the point where it could not be used for the application one originally had in mind (for example, some of the poymers I work with entangle to the point of essentially becoming solid goo once a certain molecular weight is reached - you could make the chain longer, but it would be useless in any application I can think of).

Theoretically, there probably is not a limit to how long a DNA strand could be, but there would be a limit in the sense that eventually such a ridiculously long chain would not be compatable with the duplication and replication software and hardware in the biological organism.

I'm certainly not positive on my answer though.

 

Thanks again guys.  

 

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

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Brian37 wrote:

Brian37 wrote:

Dont speculate out of ignorance. Comics have their place just as the NFL does as a form of entertainment. But dont basterdize science by speculating "Since humans exist, and Lamborginnis exist I wonder if I'll ever be able to fart a real Lamborginni out of my ass".



Haha Brian. I nearly snorted soda when I read that.

Books regarding these issues are:

"The Language of Genes by Steve Jones"

"Genome - Autobiography of a species in 23 Chapters by Matt RIdley"

"When a Gene Makes You Smell Like A Fish and Other Tales about the Genes in Your Body By Lisa Seachrist Chiu"

"In Mendel's Footnotes - An introduction to the Science and Technologies of Genes and Genetics from the 19th century to the 22nd by Colin Tudge"

"Mutants - On the Form, Varieties and Errors of the Human Body By Armand Marie Leroi"

"For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. "
- Carl Sagan

"Tantum eruditi sunt liberi"

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the