Attitudes to life extension via genetic engineering

Eugen Leitl ui22204 at sunmail.lrz-muenchen.de
Wed Feb 15 16:32:40 EST 1995



On 13 Feb 1995, Anders Sandberg wrote:

1> John de Rivaz wrote:
1> >I have been asked to gather information on attitudes of optimism and 
1> >resistance to life extension by genetic programming. 
1> 
1> (I assume you mean genetic engineering, not genetic programming which is
1> something completely different).
1> 
1> I would say I'm optimistic about the technical possibilities, once we
1> overcome most of our rather irrational resistance against modifying the
1> human genome. Some possibilities (which I really would like to hear

I second. Human engineering protests have their irrational sides.
Higher intelligence, at least, would be a desirable goal. (Provided,
we can do Human Engineering without the DNA-buckshot method we are
using now :(

1> comments about):
1> 
1> Increasing expression of superoxide-dismutase and other anti-oxidation
1> enzymes; this will make the body more resistant to free radicals,
1> environmental dangers and perhaps slow aging somewhat.

Probably true. Difficult to estimate additional life span in years.
 
1> Increase of DNA correction rate by increasing expression of repair enzymes
1> These two methods don't appear that hard to use, since we only need to
1> create more copies or promoters for the genes (evolution haven't done 
1this,
1> since it would require more energy (which we humans have plenty of) and
1> long lifespan is normally not selected for).

Very true and sound arguments.

1> 
1> If the telomer-theory of cell death is true, then improvements of 
1telomerase
1> activity would also prolong the lifespan. However, this may require some
1> careful design, since it would also increase the risk of cancer (this 
1should
1> preferably be used together with promotion of DNA repair enzymes and anti-
1> oncogenes). 

The probability to become cancer will become a certainty if you
will live a certain minimum of years. As will be the probability
of having a car accident, etc.

1> 
1> Are there other useful methods? I'm working right now on a page about
1> possible genetic modifications, and would be grateful for additions.

All this is very well and noble, yet how can one introduce gene 
fragments at desired sites, without disabling or mutilating other genes?
Virus infection is ok, yet gene trashing still a problem.
Or do you have some newer information on this subject? (I was
not keeping up to date, I must admit).

Eugene.


1> --
1> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
1> Anders Sandberg			 	  	     Towards Ascension!
1> nv91-asa at hemul.nada.kth.se   http://www.nada.kth.se/~nv91-asa/main.html
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1> 
1> -- 
1> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
1> Anders Sandberg			 	  	     Towards Ascension!
1> nv91-asa at hemul.nada.kth.se   http://www.nada.kth.se/~nv91-asa/main.html
1> GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y
1> 
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