19 Jul 2011

TEDxSMU Tuesday 7.19.11

Events, Ideas, News No Comments

Paul Root Wolpe, Emory Center for Ethics

Genetically Engineered Animals

Beefalo are a fertile hybrid offspring of domestic cattle, Bos taurus, and the American bison, Bison bison (generally called buffalo in the US). The breed was created to combine the characteristics of both animals with a view towards beef production.

A sheep–goat chimera is a chimera produced by combining the embryos of a goat and a sheep; the resulting animal has cells of both sheep and goat origin. A sheep-goat chimera should not be confused with a sheep-goat hybrid, which can result when a goat mates with a sheep.

A cama is a hybrid between a male dromedary camel and a female llama, produced via artificial insemination at the Camel Reproduction Centre in Dubai. The first cama was born on January 14, 1998. The aim was to create an animal with the size and strength of the camel, but the more cooperative temperament and the higher wool production of the llama.

The liger is a hybrid cross between a male lion (Panthera leo) and a tigress (Panthera tigris). Thus, it has parents with the same genus but of different species. It is distinct from the similar hybrid tiglon. It is the largest of all known cats and extant felines.

A zebroid (also zedonk, zebra mule, and zebrule) is the offspring of any cross between a zebra and any other equine: essentially, a zebra hybrid. In most cases, the sire is a zebra stallion. Offspring of a donkey sire and zebra dam, called a zebra hinny, or donkra, do exist but are rare. Zebroids have been bred since the 19th century. The extinct quagga was also crossed with horses and donkeys. Charles Darwin noted several zebra hybrids in his works.

A remotely-guided rat, popularly called a ratbot or robo-rat, is a rat with electrodes implanted in the medial forebrain bundle (MFB) and sensorimotor cortex of its brain.


Genetic Engineering News

Disgraced Korean Cloning Scientist Indicted, The New York Times, May 12, 2006

“…Dr. Hwang was hailed as a global stem cell pioneer and treated as a national hero until investigations late last year showed that he had fabricated key data in two papers published in the journal Science. He was later fired from his post as a professor at Seoul National University, where he did his research.”

F.D.A. Approves Drug From Gene-Altered Goats, The New York Times, February 6, 2009

Opening the barn door to a new era in farming and pharmaceuticals, the Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved the first drug produced by livestock that have been given a human gene.

Cloning Endangered Species and Undermining Conservation, American Anti-Vivisection Society

Animal cloning is cruel, experimental, and unnecessary. Just because we can doesn’t mean we should.

Monkey’s Thoughts Make Robot Walk from Across the Globe, Duke Medicine News and Communications, January 2008

In a first-of-its-kind experiment, the brain activity of a monkey has been used to control the real-time walking patterns of a robot halfway around the world, according to researchers at Duke University Medical Center. The Duke team is working with the Computational Brain Project of the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) on technology they hope will one day help those with paralysis regain the ability to walk.

Is That a Pilot in Your Pocket? Wired Magazine, October 23, 2004

Somewhere in Florida, 25,000 disembodied rat neurons are thinking about flying an F-22. These neurons are growing on top of a multi-electrode array and form a living “brain” that’s hooked up to a flight simulator on a desktop computer.

Smart Food for Robots, Discover Magazine, February 2001

Sandro Mussa-Ivaldi, a neuroscientist at Northwestern University Medical Center, has created a robot with the brains of a fish. Not impressed? Consider how he did it: He wired a two-wheeled robot directly into a lamprey’s brain stem.

‘Designer Genes’: Stem Cells Used to Make Replacement Organs, Huffington Post, October 19, 2010

The human species is about to undergo an incredible transformation. Not only will we be able to use adult’s own stem cells to create replacement organs, but in the future it will likely be routine for parents to eliminate the genes that cause disease for their children and perhaps help choose the genes that will determine traits such as intelligence, appearance, and athletic abilities.

Related TED Talks

Anthony Atala: Printing a human kidney, TED2011

Surgeon Anthony Atala demonstrates an early-stage experiment that could someday solve the organ-donor problem: a 3D printer that uses living cells to output a transplantable kidney. Using similar technology, Dr. Atala’s young patient Luke Massella received an engineered bladder 10 years ago; we meet him onstage.

Craig Venter is on the verge of creating synthetic life, TED 2008

“Can we create new life out of our digital universe?” Craig Venter asks. His answer is “yes” — and pretty soon. He walks through his latest research and promises that we’ll soon be able to build and boot up a synthetic chromosome.

Alice Dreger: Is anatomy destiny? TEDxNorthwesternU

Alice Dreger works with people at the edge of anatomy, such as conjoined twins and intersexed people. In her observation, it’s often a fuzzy line between male and female, among other anatomical distinctions. Which brings up a huge question: Why do we let our anatomy determine our fate?

Edith Widder: The weird, wonderful world of bioluminescence, TED 2011

In the deep, dark ocean, many sea creatures make their own light for hunting, mating and self-defense. Bioluminescence expert Edith Widder was one of the first to film this glimmering world. At TED2011, she brings some of her glowing friends onstage, and shows more astonishing footage of glowing undersea life.

Gero Miesenboeck reengineers a brain, TEDGlobal 2010

In the quest to map the brain, many scientists have attempted the incredibly daunting task of recording the activity of each neuron. Gero Miesenboeck works backward — manipulating specific neurons to figure out exactly what they do, through a series of stunning experiments that reengineer the way fruit flies percieve light.

Ray Kurzweil: A university for the coming singularity, TED2009

Ray Kurzweil’s latest graphs show that technology’s breakneck advances will only accelerate — recession or not. He unveils his new project, Singularity University, to study oncoming tech and guide it to benefit humanity.

Aubrey de Grey says we can avoid aging, TEDGlobal 2005

Cambridge researcher Aubrey de Grey argues that aging is merely a disease — and a curable one at that. Humans age in seven basic ways, he says, all of which can be averted.

Juan Enriquez shares mindboggling science, TED 2009

Even as mega-banks topple, Juan Enriquez says the big reboot is yet to come. But don’t look for it on your ballot — or in the stock exchange. It’ll come from science labs, and it promises keener bodies and minds. Our kids are going to be … different.

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