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Thread: Reversing mutations

  1. #1 Reversing mutations 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope
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    I don't think it is possible to do this. For example I am thinking along the lines of the new poison resistant strain of rats that are in the news in the past few days.

    These guys have adapted to the new environment we have thrown at them and there is no going back.

    However it occurred to me that if we could modify rat genes and reintroduce a genetically modified rat that no longer had this immunity to our most common poison and yet was able to outcompete the poison resistant population could this be a way of reversing the effects of what has happened?

    It is not so much the rats that I was thinking of but whether this technique (a) is actually feasible (bearing in mind I am "good" at wooly thinking and lack any real understanding of this subject) ,(b) if so would it be applicable in other situations and (c) is it actually going on all the time and I just don't know about it?


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  3. #2  
    Forum Professor Zwolver's Avatar
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    Ok, lets do math.

    An average rat, lives about 5-10 years lets be positive and call it 5 years. A rat travels about 5 kilometers in a lifetime, from the place it originated. The middle of the landmass to the edges is about 8000 kilometers. For a single point of origin, say you place the rat only in one place. This rat would take 8000/5*5=8000 years. Or count the rat at fertile age at 6 months, but it won't have traveled as far. The odds of your gene to be found after 1600 cycles is 2^1600 (4,4*10^481)... And that is if this is totally random. Which it is not, as it is disadvantageous for the rat. There are fewer atoms in the universe than there is an odd for your gene to have traveled everywhere on a single continent.

    A rat will have very much an advantage over those who can't resist poison. Simply because the world will continue using poison.

    They use this technique however with mosquito's, releasing sterile males, who won't fertilize the females.


    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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  4. #3  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope
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    Sorry I can't contribute very well but are you saying that the concept does have validity outside of the area of genetically modified sterility?

    I was vaguely aware of the mosquito program and it may have been in the back of my mind but that would be a special case wouldn't it since sterility or the lack of sterility is such a fundamental feature if we are trying to artificially displace populations?

    As for the rats does the maths you gave suggest that the task would be too great or was it just to lay out the size of the problem?

    Surely the new population would be "seeded" over the landmass ,say one new rat per square kilometer for example.
    Last edited by geordief; June 30th, 2014 at 05:04 AM.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Professor Zwolver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geordief View Post
    Sorry I can't contribute very well but are you saying that the concept does have validity outside of the area of genetically modified sterility?

    I was vaguely aware of the mosquito program and it may have been in the back of my mind but that would be a special case wouldn't it since sterility or the lack of sterility is such a fundamental feature if we are trying to artificially displace populations?

    As for the rats does the maths you gave suggest that the task would be too great or was it just to lay out the size of the problem?

    Surely the new population would be "seeded" over the landmass ,say one new rat per square kilometer for example.
    It would indeed require an enourmous seeding of rats (about a quarter that of the actual population of rats). Plus, these rats must have a beneficial property, to be benefited more than other rats.

    To my knowledge, they tried this before with overflowing an ecosystem with male "infertile"toads. However, they were unaware of the toads ability to change genders, and they became a fertile female toad...
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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  6. #5  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwolver View Post

    To my knowledge, they tried this before with overflowing an ecosystem with male "infertile"toads. However, they were unaware of the toads ability to change genders, and they became a fertile female toad...
    Well I have to laugh at that.The toads were always good for a laugh!
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