Sunday, May 07, 2006

no more sex

I don't remember where this discussion came from, but it turned into a fascinating one... We already have nuclear fission techniques (I'm talking biology, not physics - the entire take-a-cell-and-zap-it-till-it-splits thingy, the Roslin Technique) which they used to clone. If we can come up with something similar for fusion - where you can get 2 cells to mix their DNA - and use 23-chromosome cells only, then that's it. We will have made a new human being, made life. Not a clone, but a genuine new person. At the genetic level.

Cadaver Aspirin thinks you can't fuse anything except 2 egg cells - i.e. and XX+XX only. An XX+XY... there's more economical (and fun) ways of fusing those. XY+XY will still need a donor egg cell to continue beyond nuclear fusion.
Which means a world without men (and with continued evolution, not the genetic dead end of simple cloning) is possible but not one without women. We could of course use non-human egg donors but that's just too Omen (and he will be born of a jackal)

The cadaver finds that a ghastly idea, and I agree... besides, the tendency so far seems to have been towards an increase rather than a decrease. F'rinstance, there's already three sexes in Bombay needed to create and raise children - men, women, and bais. It's just not possible otherwise.

But on the serious note - cloning will very definitely be as common as GSM tech in the next fifteen years. You already got Lifecell with simple tissue-level regeneration; the next step will be a Michael Marshall Smith's Spares scenario.

Andre feels cloning is a doorway to immortality, but I disagree. Cloning is still all bout biology and genetics. Moving memory - and feelings, and conciousness, and identity - Soul Transference - is still a long way off. When the clone wakes up, will it be me? Or just someone a lot like me who wakes up with readymade memory but his own identity, who'll watch his memory donor still die a separate person?
I thought of having a second body grown (heck, I'm not that fussy, I'll take any that's available) and having my brain transferred when this one wore out, but the brain is also ultimately the same flesh; it'll degrade. Besides, the brain may not even be the answer. The Romans believed the soul resided in the liver. You can remove 90% of a mouse's brain matter and it will still remember the fastest way through the maze. The brain's just hardware, where do the memories actually exist? And I'm not even thinking about self-consciousness yet.
Man, this is fascinating. Can you even transfer souls? Gibson's ROM-construct characters - That's immortality, but immortality for the individual means death of the species. It's Catch-22.
and besides, sex is fun.


Post a Comment