Pentagon to Rewrite Evolution, Create Immortal Life

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Pentagon to Rewrite Evolution, Create Immortal Life


The Pentagon's mad superscience branch DARPA is at it again, announcing plans to tinker with the laws of evolution to create synthetic life forms that can live forever, or be instantly destroyed with a molecular killswitch.

Contrary to what Hideo Kojima might have you believe, the Pentagon's resident mad scientists at DARPA probably aren't making nuclear-capable walking battle tanks while pontificating on the nature of warfare and the human condition. But that doesn't mean they aren't up to some crazy sh*t, because they really, really are. Back in December, it was putting pigs in a state of near-undeath to save wounded soldiers, but the Pentagon's new project is tampering with the laws of nature on a staggering new level.

Included in the Pentagon's budget for next year is a relatively piddling $6 million dedicated to a project called BioDesign, a relatively unassuming moniker for a project with the goal of eradicating "the randomness of natural evolutionary advancement."

Yes, you read that right: BioDesign aims to harness state-of-the-art bio-tech to surpass evolution, because evolution just isn't good enough. The final goal of the project is to create living, breathing organisms from scratch that have been genetically engineered to "produce the intended biological effect." Said organisms will ideally have their cells bolstered with special molecules that prevent cell death, so that these artificial life forms can be "programmed to live indefinitely."

You read that right, too. Not only is DARPA trying to bypass evolution to create new life, it's trying to create new life that is immortal (though presumably, it will still be vulnerable to having its head chopped off).

In case these super-creatures fall into the wrong hands, though, DARPA wants to cover all of its bases, ensuring that loyalty will be programmed into the creature's DNA itself, with genetic locks creating "tamper proof" cells. But if that weren't enough, the organisms will also have genetic serial numbers so that they can be tracked - and as a very last resort in case it all goes out, these aberrations of nature will come equipped with self-destruct devices:

Develop strategies to create a synthetic organism "self-destruct" option to be implemented upon nefarious removal of organism.

Holy sh*t. Do these people not watch movies?! Is it me or does this sound like the plot to a cheesy sci-fi/horror thriller?

Naturally, despite DARPA tossing $20 million at a new synthetic biology program, there are some serious roadblocks in the organization's plan. Evolution may not be as random or inefficient as they think, for one, and immortality is still quite a ways away.

Oh, and then there's all of the ethical dilemmas involved in literally playing God, but that's only if the science actually works.

There's no word on whether or not DARPA plans to conduct this research in a glorious Art Deco city constructed in secret beneath the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, but it strikes me as a particularly safe guess.

(Wired's Danger Room)


This sounds like fun. Very interesting...
I don't know what to feel... happiness, or... something else.
Well, soon we may be dealing with GELFs.
Can't wait for the GELF Runners...

And I just watched X-Men too.

Are you all playing a practical joke on me?

This is pretty exciting news. In my head science only exists to

A-Blow shit up
B-Create things that should not be
C-All of the above

So I'm anxiously awaiting the results.

Stand back! They're going to do SCIENCE!

Seriously. When have these 'tamper proof' things ever been tamper proof?

....Holy sh*t is right. Imagine the kinds of benefits to science and medicine we can make if we do succeed in creating life, immortal or not.

This is damn fascinating.

Is the guy working on it called DR Insaneo?

Points to anyone who knows where that off.

Also, lets see how immortal it is when kicked down a flight of stairs into a thresher.

I'm not sure about movies, but it sounds like they haven't played Half Life 2.
Might have misunderstood, but it sounds like they're making synthes.
I completely support this idea.

...Sorry, I can only be scared when I see that text with that picture. Now I'll never trust immortality.

As a genetics major, I am going to say good luck, they'll need it!

So...I'm guessing they've...never watched like...any cyborg/zombie/anything that ends up with mankind getting fucked in the ass movie.


This seems like some crazy stuff.

Didn't do Biology or anything related to that, but damn, these guys are definitely gonna cause an apocalypse.

Can't wait for the GELF Runners...

Is this a refrence to the Red Dwarf novels? I though I was the only person on the planet to read those.

Anyway this is the most awesome thing ever. I cannot see how this would end badly.

That Walter Bishop is awesome. Such a great mad scientist.

Stand back! They're going to do SCIENCE!

Hahahaha. XKCD = The funny.

I have no problem with this actually. The problem is that we have a lot of luddite reflexs and the whole techno-thriller "Doctor Frakenstein scientist plays God and it backfires" plot has become a staple with everything from Aritificial Intelligence, to Genetic Modification, to general Biotech being presented in the worst possible light.

In this case they seem to be taking reasonable safeguards, if something goes horribly wrong it won't be because they were stupid about it. I'm fairly comfortable with them.

On top of that the potential is obvious, both for being able to help humanity evolve down a beneficial path and perhaps remove genetic defects from our lines... you know totally remove all those "pre-existing genetic conditions" insurance companies whine about, not to mention making tailored organisms to fill specific roles.

Look at it this way, when dealing with science fiction nobody has much of a problem with conceiving of a race that has developed high levels of bio-technology and use living ships and equipment that behave like friendly house pets. I've seen this through the years used with both good and evil aliens, and based on plants, animals, crystals, or super viruses. I don't see why instead of hypothetical aliens, we humans could go in that direction. Why in fantasy does science like this have to go horribly wrong for us, but not for others?

At any rate, I wish them luck. I don't expect living Starships anytime in my life, but maybe the first baby steps are about to happen. Instead of Startrek we could wind up with something like Moya, Tinman, or others. :)

What if there's... i dunno... a random genetic mutation and all these super-soldiers they're clearly gonna build turn into super-velociraptors? Just sayin'...

Huh, I had a teacher who was ha da masters and he said that it was absolutely possible, we just didn't have the tech to do it.(immortality that is)

As for the ethical dilemmas.......well, if no one else will give the go ahead, I will.

"If there's one thing the history of evolution has taught us, it's that life will not be contained. Life breaks free. It expands to new territories. It crashes through barriers. Painfully, maybe even..dangerously, but and...well, there it is."

Malcolm sums it up quite nicely.

Great idea, but you have to be careful...

(Meanwhile at Dr. Overthe Topacting's secret base) "And with this we shall rule the world! MUHahahahahahaHA!"

i think i'll buy myselfa nice big axe, crowbar, chainsaw and knifesharpener

Not going to lie i would get bionic limbs if they were handing them out. i would take the risk

Turns out the pentagon is working on a new superhuman soldier, and we all know how those end up, right?

Can they make it so we can make ourselves into an undying upgradable machine? That or we are going to Terminator style soon.

And I just watched X-Men too.

Are you all playing a practical joke on me?

If we told you it wouldn't be as funny :P

OT: I want one!

Some thing just tells me that this is the starting point of a zombie apocolypse.

I grew up thinking 'wouldn't it be cool if all that stuff in the movies was real?'
Apparently so did these guys.

A part of me still says, 'that'd be freaking sweet if they can pull it off'. The rest of me just wonders why I even bother paying taxes if this is the kind of lunacy they're spending it on.

Needless to say; Good luck DARPA, and remember to place weapons, amunition, and first aid kits in poorly hidden locations just off the main hall and in every service area. Not because I think it'll help, just because it'll make me feel a little better knowing you watched the rest of the movie.

So... They out of ideas or what? There's nothing more usefull to research? Like a cure for cancer? Or new fuel? It does sound awesome, though i doubt it will work anytime soon.

John Funk:
eradicating "the randomness of natural evolutionary advancement."

Humans have been doing this for thousands of years, it's called domestication and crop farming. Horses, cats, dogs, cows, pigs, war elephants, wheat barley, bacteria producing insulin, human hormones, medicine etc. only exist today because we essentially made them that way. Natural selection (ei. evolution) would have killed off those species pretty easily if it weren't for us humans. The only thing that changed is now that we know how genes, cells, biology works we've managed to streamline the process for faster, better, more varied results.
Cool beans.

So the world ends in 2012 in the hands - or claws - of genetically engineered mutant velociraptors designed by Pentagon.

So long as we don't get a Monsanto style "patented genome" and they didn't bother with something retarded like a killswitch, I'd be happy.

Seriously, why do you need a killswitch?
Just don't make your creation bulletproof!

Uh. Eugenics much?

Get it through your head. Attempting to control evolution is moronic. You can't see around the bends in the road. If you breed a people completely immune to sickle-cell anemia, then you've bred a people destined to be wiped out by malaria.

I'm sorry, I'm not usually prone to serious condemnation of things that aren't Watchmen-movie-sequel related, but don't. Do. It. Arrogant pricks.


This is pretty exciting news. In my head science only exists to

A-Blow shit up
B-Create things that should not be
C-All of the above

So I'm anxiously awaiting the results.

Hey, what's that? A computor your typing on... yeah, cos you can create computors without science... your a fukin moron

I'm not sure what to say. Either something about you being daft and not understand my post, or maybe I'll make a comment about the bolded part of your quote there.

Irony at it's finest.

Is this a refrence to the Red Dwarf novels? I though I was the only person on the planet to read those.

Indeed it was a reference to the Red Dwarf novels :D
I couldn't think of anything else to write, but the Genetically Engineered Life-Form came to mind.
Thankyou Red Dwarf for saving me! :D

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