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Viral gene engineering

Virus targets haploid cells carrying genetic diseases
  (+5, -2)
(+5, -2)
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Here is an idea that combines population control and genetic engineering: Every time a genetic disease is discovered, release a virus that targets the haploid (sperm and egg) cells carrying it. People living with disabilities would not be affected, but far fewer newborns would have the disease. Be aggressive -- diabetes, color blindness, Tay-Sachs, hemophilia, high blood pressure, premature baldness, bad teeth, whatever -- and lower the fertility enough to balance births and deaths.

This way, rich people and/or rich nations won't be the only ones to benefit from genetic engineering, and you wouldn't be trying to engineer "superbabies," with new abilities, just making sure there are no genetic problems. If one was worried about genetic diversity, the virus could simply randomly scramble the genetic defect to something not considered defective, adding more diversity in the gene pool. (Which might put bizarre new genetic diseases back into the gene pool, but those can be weeded out with the next haploid virus).

And before anyone asks, yes, I've seen Gattaca :) (Spelled correctly this time)

mrouse, Apr 03 2002

Gattaca (1997) http://us.imdb.com/Details?0119177
[sp.] It's named using only DNA bases, get it? [jutta, Apr 03 2002]


       I already added "evil biogeneticists" to my people to kill list. Don't make me do it again.
dag, Apr 03 2002

       this should be bakeable on the evidence of a boy on the news with no immune system cured using viral stuff -the main problems would be ethical though this avoids the problems of gattaca-style engineering many wouldnt understand/would ignore that. also would there be a posibility of the virus mutating or something? many would object to releasing viruses - put simply even if it was perfectly safe people would still object just because they dont really trust things they dont properly understand eg science, taxes, lawyers, etc
chud, Apr 03 2002

       is it just evil ones you dont like or are they _all_ evil - if so why?
chud, Apr 03 2002

       1. edit function.   

       2. Only the evil ones.   

       3. Why? I think it has something to do with the evil part.
dag, Apr 03 2002

       i was just checking whether you were unfairly generalising but since you only dislike evil ones, does something make this idea evil? (apart from intentionally spreading unknown viruses)   

       sorry i'll edit properly in future
chud, Apr 03 2002

       This is a new idea?
phoenix, Apr 03 2002

       No, I think intentionally spreading unknown viruses about covers it.
dag, Apr 03 2002

       But if it was made then it would be known. Although that doesnt solve the issue of mutation (do viruses mutate?).
chud, Apr 03 2002

       Viruses can mutate. You'd have to build in some redundancy -- maybe lock-and-key type viruses, or co-viruses so more than one mutation would have to happen simultaneously -- and make it so that it could not affect diploid cells.
mrouse, Apr 03 2002

       Alledgedly, the AIDs virus was govm'nt created in order to reduce the population of homosexuals and the populations of third-world countries.
watermelancholy, Jul 27 2002

       The virus is called HIV. AIDS (big S) is a stage in its infection.
Prefixing a conspiracy theory with "alledgedly" doesn't free you to repeat it without backing it up.
jutta, Jul 27 2002

       I don't support it and I haven't heard any facts to back it up-- I was merely appending it because it was related. Apologies,
watermelancholy, Jul 27 2002

       Genetic modification of humans. No!!!!!! I believe there will be lots of pro-life activists knocking on your door tommorow and lots of fishbones in your mailbox.
andrewm, Apr 02 2003

       <<since you only dislike evil ones, does something make this idea evil? >>   

       Forced sterilization of those with genetic diseases.   

       This seems a little bit evil...
dbsousa, Apr 02 2003

       I read an Isaac Asimov story (I forget the title) in which a scientist who had developed a new technology was wanted by the government. The technology enabled you to heal or kill someone, provided you knew their exact genetic makeup. On someone else it would have random effects. The government wanted him to make this, tailored to a general model of the area with too much population, so that they could be killed randomly. The government argued that it would be fair, as it would be completely random who died, and it would be like the "Hand of God" (as they put it). They didn't think so when the scientist revealed that he had put some into their sandwitches.
dbmag9, Dec 16 2005


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