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Alien breeding protocol

"Breed" successfully with aliens
  [vote for,

Yes, i know, i know. Just let me get a word in!

OK, so we all know it's impossible and, as Carl Sagan said, it'd be easier to get a petunia to breed with a human than to produce Spock. Even so, genes are information and a code which is interpreted by a system leading to living organisms if there are no lethal alleles. We happen to have a code consisting of a system which converts sequences of adenine, cytosine, guanine and thiamine into sequences of amino acids which become peptides and so forth. Other codes on this planet exist too, for instance the presence of uracil in RNA and the variant bases used in some viruses. There are also other amino acids such as the ones containing selenium, which sort of have their own codons.

In fact, hypothetically there could be a completely different system which uses neither purines and pyrimidines nor amino acids yet still produces viable organisms with different biochemistry or maybe even organisms whose function is not dependent on the details of their biochemistry at all, for instance ones based on fullerenes which could be based on boron or silicon instead of carbon but be functionally the same, or on a more macro level, made of clockwork composed of steel or brass - the precise biochemistry is not crucial to their function.

Abstracting this further, look at every organism in functional terms, as a set of instructions for producing a system which responds to its environment, reproduces and the like, which form a kind of cybernetic diagram. Take this diagram and work out a set of translation rules so that whereas one organism concerned may in fact be, say, a Von Neumann probe which got out of hand and mutated, and the other is a slime mould, the respective "genomes" can be converted into each others' codes.

Flash forward to, i dunno, the twenty-second century and Amanda Grayson decides to make the beast with two backs with Sarek. She has the option of humungously good birth control, to the extent that thenadays, who would even bother to make luurve with a member of the same species if it's for fun rather than reproduction unless they were also the same sex and your species has more than one? However, she chooses Spock genesis instead. Just as by that time, the Federation has the universal translator (which wouldn't work of course), she now has recourse to a femidom which does the genetic code translation work for her. Clearly this is post-Singularity and the descendant of the warehouse-sized devices originally employed in the late twenty-first century where one sexual partner would plug themselves into one end in a room a few blocks away from the other and the factory would manufacture the appropriate gametes, but technology marches on and it fits in a membrane.

The barrier of species, previously considered as impermeable as the sound barrier or the inability to operate within the abdominal cavity, has been overcome as a result of evolution. The species concerned realised that the borders between them could be abolished to allow convenient free trade of genetic traits and looks back on the present protectionism as about as antiquated as the Corn Laws.

We don't see any of this in Star Trek or whatever because it's boring, but it's there - they just don't mention it because they take it for granted.

nineteenthly, Apr 19 2013

Philip Jose Farmer's The Lovers http://www.amazon.c...armer/dp/034528691X
[theircompetitor, Apr 21 2013]


       This is brilliant and cunningly clever. Unfortunately, it won't work. Let's say the four-armed beast from Galactan 9 wants to interbreed with a two-armed beast from Hollywood. The Galactan-9 codons for determining the size of arms 3 and 4 get translated into what wrt the Hollywood creatures' genome? If they get translated into heart-valve size for the Hollywood creature, that old actor could be in trouble.
As in real life and comedy, some things just don't translate across cultures.
sqeaketh the wheel, Apr 19 2013

       Yep, I'd second that. It's Windows v Mac.   

       However, with the sort of synbio software we ought to have by that time, it would be fairly easy to implement any given morphology from scratch. So, your hybrid alien might have her mother's eyes and her father's gills, but genetic material from neither.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 19 2013

       Yep, I'd second that. It's Windows v Mac.   

       However, with the sort of synbio software we ought to have by that time, it would be fairly easy to implement any given morphology from scratch. So, your hybrid alien might have her mother's eyes and her father's gills, but genetic material from neither.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 19 2013

       Each to their own, or not, as the case may be.   

       (has this very unsettling image of nineteenthly reclining on a chaise longue , uncorking the pan-galactic gargle blaster with Barry White playing in the background..)   

       Vaguely remembers short story of human male/alien female he kills parasitic worm coming out of her mouth, turns out that was their way to reproduce, ends badly, as you can imagine. Damned if I can remember the title.
not_morrison_rm, Apr 19 2013

       [Pedant] Uncorking that Ol' Janx Spirit, perhaps. The Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster is a mixed drink, and wouldn't come in a bottle.
spidermother, Apr 19 2013

       I sit corrected, but that was the least disturbing part of the mental image...
not_morrison_rm, Apr 19 2013

       Ah yes, that was Philip Jose Farmer.   

       Ol' Janx Spirit is one of the ingredients of the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, so it's not either/or.
nineteenthly, Apr 19 2013

       //Philip Jose Farmer   

       Yes, I can't really see Clarke, Asimov or Heinlein knocking out something like that. I get the feeling SF went down a bit of a dead end late 1960's not to re-emerge until circa 1980's-ish.
not_morrison_rm, Apr 19 2013

       They were influenced by the modernist movement in mainstream literature.
nineteenthly, Apr 19 2013

       //that was Philip Jose Farmer//

Correctamundo! "Strange Relations" was the book.
DrBob, Apr 19 2013

       so, if the protocol for this is "don't try" why post it as an idea?
WcW, Apr 19 2013

       I do think there is an episode in the Next Generation Star Trek shows where Cmdr Worf is introduced to a female officer who claims to be half-human and half-Klingon --and Worf bursts out, "That's impossible!"   

       So, even in that fictional universe, some matings are expected to be non-productive.   

       However, in reply to Worf, the woman says, "When genetic engineers fall in love, many things become possible." (or something like that).   

       I tend to agree with her, especially after extrapolating gen-eng tech for another few centuries.
Vernon, Apr 20 2013

       // I do think there is an episode in the Next Generation Star Trek shows   

       Ahh, television. I remember television.   

       But anyway, the idea has been explored to some extent in Alien. Alien 1, alien impregnates human, human-like alien is generated. Alien 3, alien impregnates dog, doglike alien is generated.   

       Admittedly didn't explain the lack of chasing sticks, chewing table legs, peeing on the floor etc.
not_morrison_rm, Apr 20 2013

       In Niven's Known Space universe, Pierson's Puppeteers reproduce by laying eggs in a second species which seems at first to be a third sex, if i remember correctly. That's parasitism rather than reproduction as such. However, i've argued elsewhere that simply being male makes me a parasite anyway - i deposit my genome in someone's body which then slaves away physiologically to produce my offspring, which proceeds to feed upon her secretions for years and so forth. So we already do that.
nineteenthly, Apr 20 2013

       ^ best pick-up line... ever^   

       Well, you never know what people might be into and in fact i can imagine this appealing to a rather masochistic contingent.
nineteenthly, Apr 21 2013

       For those who are interested in an imaginative, completely out of the box book on the subject, Philip Jose Farmer's book is truly excellent.
theircompetitor, Apr 21 2013

       Strangely, I'm still convinced I read that as a short story in an anthology. My memory is going out of focus.
not_morrison_rm, Apr 22 2013

       It was in an anthology but it's also in 'Strange Relations'. I can't remember the title but, stupidly, i can remember borrowing the book from a mobile library in 1978.
nineteenthly, Apr 22 2013


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