Convoluted human evolution: We are in control (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Tuesday, May 09, 2017, 05:33 (198 days ago) @ David Turell

Natural evolution is over. We are now in control:

https://singularityhub.com/2017/03/26/the-rise-of-a-new-species-of-human-being/

"Today, what survives on Earth can be determined entirely by human beings. We can alter the genetics of almost any life form and potentially design entirely new ones.
According to renowned physicist Freeman Dyson, “In the future, a new generation of artists will be writing genomes as fluently as Blake and Byron wrote verses.”

"In their book Evolving Ourselves , Juan Enriquez and Steve Gullans describe a world where evolution is no longer driven by natural processes. Instead, it is driven by human choices, through what they call unnatural selection and non-random mutation. As a result, we will see the emergence of an entirely new species of human beings.

"There is no doubt that Enriquez and Gullans describe a powerful tool for accelerating human progress.

***

"There is one evolutionary structure that Darwin and Wallace discovered that applied for four billion years, where random mutation and natural selection continue to occur. But then there is a world where the primary determinant of what lives and dies becomes human beings. This is a world of unnatural selection, because humans would rather have dogs and cats than snakes and grizzly bears. It’s a world where we deliberately insert genes into bacteria, plants and animals for specific purposes. This is a form of intelligent design, and has nothing to do with random mutations.

***

"Even Darwin had difficulty defining species. We have at least 19 different definitions of the term species. Depending on which of these definitions we adopt, it could be much earlier or much later. Already, we are seeing this by controlling our reproduction, which is the core of evolution.

***

"Yes. Most evolution doesn’t work. 99 percent of the species that have ever lived are extinct. Evolution is actually a continuous set of experiments, many of which fail. It would not be surprising to see some things go horribly wrong. That is simply what happens in nature.

***

"....there is a whole series of ways in which you can modify gene expression within the DNA code itself. We can alter the expression of that code. We can modify how the environment interacts with the code. We can modify the metabolism or the microorganisms that execute on that code. We already have instruments at many different levels to modify the expression of that DNA, even if it is written exactly the same way.

"That aside, we are starting to see scientists who are able to create heredity using alternative chemical structures. So we can add or substitute letters to DNA and still have living organisms that inherit in different ways."

Comment: One the basis of this article I think evolution is in our hands and is over unless we engineer more of it.


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