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October 18, 2017

CATEGORY: Technology [back]
TOPIC: Are We Merging With Our Technology? [refresh]
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William Orem wrote on Jun. 28, 2007 @ 20:15 GMT
Put this one in the Strange New World file: is it possible to use junk DNA as a repository for secret messages? The idea cropped up in science fiction some time ago, but as of now, it's also reality.

Japanese researchers at Keio University, led by Masaru Tomita, recently wrote the sequence "E=mc2 1905" into the genome of a bacterium. The idea is as simple as the execution is complex: your four choices are C, G, A, and T; regard these as base keys in a translation code; type away. As long as a suitable reading mechanism exists that knows the translation code, the bacterium has just been turned into a communication device. Or, more precisely, its natural code-bearing potential has been hijacked to carry a secondary level of "meaning."

All of us are repositories of huge numbers of terabytes worth of junk DNA anyway, just waiting to be turned to advantage. Or perhaps, as the article speculates, our junk DNA already has been turned to this purpose: perhaps the search for communication from alien species should be proceeding inward rather than outward. We might be partly their autographed handiwork, the way Bach wrote his name into his cantatas on occasion. Maybe the stuff that doesn't code for any proteins is carrying greetings, along with instructions on how to manipulate the physical world around us effectively, once we reach the point of being able to recognize and decode the message . . .

Question: science or fantasy? And, more generally: is this the beginning of the merging point between biology and technology? How long before the distinction between organism and machine becomes irrelevant . . . or is it already?

image: jurvetson

this post has been edited by the author since its original submission

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Josh Cuppett wrote on Jan. 12, 2009 @ 21:11 GMT
If we throw DNA into a black hole, is the information lost?

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atomiton1 wrote on Jan. 25, 2009 @ 03:47 GMT
To Josh. YES

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atomiton1 wrote on Jan. 25, 2009 @ 04:02 GMT
The one achiement that is my lifes goal is to create androids we are able to program our minds to. To chat my email address is

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Georgina Parry wrote on Feb. 24, 2009 @ 20:36 GMT
Junk DNA is an unfortunate choice of name, since it immediately devalues this portion of DNA because of its as yet un-ascertained purpose.

It is prejudice to assume that, just because we do not know what purpose it serves, it is of no value and can be tampered with and manipulated to serve short sighted aims of a few individuals.

Investigation of its purpose and any coding within it is however a useful scientific endeavour, as we may be wiser as a result.

Very often human technology which should benefit mankind has been found to have unforeseen detrimental effects.

The distinction between life and machine, biology and technology, must always be preserved because when life is devalued its very survival is threatened. This is of primary importance.

Unfortunately it is the distinction between science and fantasy that is becoming blurred.

Economics and technology (and a certain percentage of human beings) are devoid of morality.

Question? Shouldn't common sense, foresight and moral values hold tight to the reins of technological development?

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Georgina Parry replied on Mar. 15, 2011 @ 06:07 GMT

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Georgina Woodward replied on Mar. 25, 2014 @ 22:36 GMT
Junk DNA not so Junky

Epigenetic's and non-coding RNA research

Where long noncoding RNAs meet DNA methylation

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Marshall Barnes wrote on Mar. 17, 2010 @ 01:15 GMT
I am working on a number of projects now that deal with merging technology with the human consciousness or mind (as opposed to brain). This is another aspect of the same issue and one that is happening now as opposed to sci fi speculation.

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re castel wrote on May. 25, 2010 @ 13:41 GMT

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re castel wrote on May. 25, 2010 @ 13:45 GMT
human beings are devoid of morality? strange indeed.

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re castel wrote on May. 25, 2010 @ 13:50 GMT
merge tech with human consciousness? how else do you merge tech with human consciousness? aren't you supposed to go through the brain?

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re castel wrote on May. 25, 2010 @ 13:52 GMT
are humans ever conscious without the mind in the body?

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re castel wrote on May. 25, 2010 @ 13:57 GMT
economics and technology influence the morality of human beings. and human beings always have morality - it's just that a sizable part of it is junk morality - must be because of junk DNA.

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Anonymous wrote on Nov. 4, 2010 @ 06:40 GMT
Really strange but thanks to share it.

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Mr. Magoo wrote on Jan. 23, 2011 @ 01:03 GMT
Just because Japanese biologists can train cells on the side of a fish to produce a corporate logo does not certify the fish as CEO material.

The age spots on my wife's left wrist could probably become the model for encoded wonders from another world that no one recognizes because WHY SHOULD THEY...

unless they are simply looking for weird research projects to suck in federal grants?

Please give me some more of dat stuff!

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Alice lewis wrote on Mar. 25, 2014 @ 09:53 GMT
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Richard Spillers wrote on Mar. 15, 2017 @ 13:00 GMT

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Georgina Woodward replied on Mar. 15, 2017 @ 19:41 GMT
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Emmie Bruce wrote on Aug. 3, 2017 @ 14:39 GMT
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Emmie Bruce replied on Aug. 3, 2017 @ 14:44 GMT
This is best examples

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