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John Dillinger Retrovirus

Grow new fingerprints.
  [vote for,

John Dillinger is famous for, amongst other things, burning his fingerprints off with acid in the hope that he'd grow new and different ones in order to evade the police. I have no idea if this story is true.

After the pain and suffering experienced when the fingerprints grew back, the story believably states that the fingerprints were substantively the same, if a little acid-scarred.

The John Dillinger Retrovirus would be applied to the fingertips in an attempt to change the DNA in areas primarily responsible for detailed shape and those areas generally tested by forensic scientists when picking up DNA samples.

st3f, Jul 22 2007

John Dillinger http://en.wikipedia...wiki/John_Dillinger
from the Wikipedia [st3f, Jul 22 2007]

Fingerprints as an example of nature + nurture http://www.straight...assics/a980821.html
[jutta, Jul 23 2007]


       wouldn't false fingertips be more painless (so many nerve endings in the fingertips for obvious reasons)   

       something like false nails that could be glued on for the crime? are we plotting something?
po, Jul 22 2007

       I believe that the stripes on a DNA test are the occurences of a specific benign virus. A probably mis-remembered statistic is that our DNA is 95% junk that serves no purpose.
marklar, Jul 22 2007

       //that serves no purpose// I don't buy the serves no purpose thing - ok, there may be that much DNA that doesn't actively express itself in terms of enzyme production, much of which is supposed to have been inserted there by (and today, the only remnants of) primordial virii - but in many ways, this bulk of redundant material still serves a purpose in terms of padding and distribution, not to mention providing a means for future mutations, either by spontaneous mutations, reproductive errors, or future viral manipulations.   

       If our DNA were 'lean' in terms of expression and function, it would be difficult to understand how it might have developed that way, and it would also be difficult to think of a method by which we may evolve in the future.   

       If our DNA were so functionally efficient, we might even have to resort to religious argument to explain our origins.
zen_tom, Jul 22 2007

       That article doesn't actually dispute what I thought they were (based on a 5 year old memory of the book Genome by Matt Ridley). I thought they were fully operational sections of DNA that are good at copying themselves, but neither help nor harm the organism's chances of reproduction.   

       I guess the easiest way to find out would be to strip out all the 'junk' from a fruit fly's DNA, if that's possible, and see what happens to it.
marklar, Jul 23 2007

       If 97% is 'junk', and we share 95% with chimps, then I'm quite confused about what DNA actually remains to distinguish tree swingers fom party swingers.
Ling, Jul 23 2007

       95% of the applications I have to maintain is junk code leftover from the triassic age of programming that serves no purpose, so I do buy it.
globaltourniquet, Jul 23 2007

       [ling] Chimpanzee share the same "junk" DNA. The two statistics are independent and unrelated. Heck, we share over 70% of our DNA with cucumbers and algae.   

       And really, genetically, there is very little distinction between us and our cousins, we are really little more than really weird chimps.
Galbinus_Caeli, Jul 23 2007

       Especially those of us here at the 'bakery.
normzone, Jul 23 2007

       //genetically, there is very little distinction between us and our cousins// Both true and false. We share almost all of our genes with chimps, with only minor (and generally irrelevant) spelling differences. However, a Harry Potter novel shares 95% of its words with War and Peace. The difference is in the order of the genes, the number of occurrences of certain genes that recur in the genome, and above all in the way they're regulated and inter-regulated. So, the "95%" figure is pretty meaningless, and there's plenty of meaningful genetic differences between chimps and humans.   

       Plus, chimps are phenotypically virtually identical to humans. A good histologist would be very hard pressed to tell most bits of a chimp from their human counterparts under the microscope, where all the detail is. The main physical differences are a few subtle changes in the numbers of cells here or there, or the way neurons are wired. Think about how little brain injury is needed to reduce a person to a mental state below that of a chimp.   

       Ninety-five percent, schminety-five percent, I say.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 23 2007

       Oh yeah, and about the fingerprints. Gloves would be easier.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 23 2007

       I knew a guy who caught a criminal after he had carved up his fingers, and rearranged the pieces. Cut and paste allowed him to get the prints back together.   

       True criminal geniuses use their toe prints... but I don't think I'll bother re-posting the toeprinting registry idea. It was almost decent satire right after 9/11...
ye_river_xiv, Jul 24 2007

       Not sure I'd be keen on having a man-made virus, or even a natural one for that matter, monkeying around with my DNA. Assuming, for an instant, that the technology was up to the task I'd go for growing a pair of skin gloves. This would have the advantage over normal gloves of leaving a misleading fingerprint trail - possibly to the detriment of a personal enemy if you use their DNA to grow them from.
DrBob, Jul 25 2007


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