Monday, December 19, 2011

Gene tweaking turns a simple mouse into the "Incredible SCAQ Tony Hulk"

Doping use to be black & white till the doctors, plastic surgeons, and scientists got involved. Plastic surgeon, you ask? Yes, but I will talk about that one later.

Scientists have gene-tweaked a mouse so as to shut off a hormone that probably prevents any mammal from becoming extraordinarily strong. In fact, not just strong, but capable of supreme endurance too. The animal also became more resistant to the cold and how is that for a warm-&-fuzzy side effect? But wait, there's more: No harmful side effects or a shortened lifespan has been detected in any creature that was tweaked. Do you believe it? Well, I don't for every functional change in a system will have a side effect.

That hormone that their gene tweaking suppressed was ultimately created and/or determined by natural selection to be there for a reason. Taking it away is going to effect something or some other system. Here is an easier way to say how I feel "...the candle that burns twice as bright only lasts half-as-long" -- Dr. Tyrell from the film, Blade Runner.
From Gizmag:

"There are now ways to develop drugs for people who are unable to exercise due to obesity or other health complications, such as diabetes, immobility and frailty," says Ronald M. Evans, who led the Salk team. "We can now engineer specific gene networks in muscle to give the benefits of exercise to sedentary mice."

Auwerx describes molecules such as NCOR1 as "molecular brakes" that slow down the activity in genes. Releasing these brakes through gene manipulation increases that activity level, providing more energy to build muscle.

The benefits of releasing those molecular brakes don't stop at increased muscle strength. The stronger mice also saw improved endurance, and were capable of running both faster and longer before tiring, covering twice the distance of normal mice in experiments. Researchers say the mutated mice were also more tolerant to cold.

In reality steroids are genuinely legal if dutifully and ethically prescribed by a doctor. Gene tweaking will be legal as well as is breast reduction surgery is now. Example: Romanian tennis player Simona Halep shot up 450-places to number 47th-in-the-world after undergoing breast reduction surgery. Her earnings for 2011 were estimated to be $286,373 - and this does not include endorsements.

Rhetorical question: Could breast reduction surgery decrease the 50-free time of a female swimmer who has a breast cup size that is above average?

I must state that the article below is not about a woman who sacrificed her breast function simply to be a better tennis player but more accurately her antipathy towards her breasts after Romanian doctors prescribed her steroids when she was young to presumably to save her life after becoming much to thin. She was also suffering back pain and introversion.

The author, Liz Jones, chimes in with her own result after having breast reduction surgery which should sell most women on the gravity of such a decision: Despite terrible scarring the surgery consequently led to her losing all feeling in her nipples and an inability to breast-feed if she so chooses to have children. She also writes about how intimate relations for her with the opposite sex were devastated.

Warning: Moderately graphic photo for most American workplaces of exposed anatomy on an operating table - This from the Daily Mail:
Last week, she was knocked out of Wimbledon by Serena Williams, but still deems the operation a success.

Her decision, however, has been widely condemned — ‘slice off part of your anatomy for money and trophies?’ sums up the online consensus.

But as an athlete, her body’s ability to perform is everything. She experienced back pain, too. I am sure also she hated the whistles and cat calls when she was trying to focus on her game.

[... Now the author's experience below]

I looked, I thought, much younger (I was still barely 30!) and so much more in-keeping with who I was, who I am: Not a sexual person, not a mummy, but invisible.

But what of the effect on my career? I can’t say the operation solved my underlying fears or neuroses but I did feel more confident at work.


Note: Simona Halep has leaped up in the rankings a full 450-places to number 47. This proves that there are body modifications one can do without the use of drugs that can make a person more enhanced. Lance Armstrong now has a carbon fiber collar bone now after a bad fall on the bike, Tiger Woods had Lasik eye surgery making him a better golfer, Simona Halep is winning more and definitely making way more cash than most gold medalist swimmers.

So would I personally gene-tweak to be a better swimmer? Absolutely not! But I would gene tweak if it would make me live longer, have a higher quality of life, have no cognitive side effects and not get so cold in the winter. Should I or anybody else be disqualified for trying to be healthier, better looking, or recover and/or be saved from a child hood illness?

The rules will have to adapt.


surfer said...

genetic tweaking was once upon a time termed as picking and mixing the right blood lines. The public will not only accept it personally and in athletics(etc) ...they will demand it.

Tony Austin said...

Be careful what you wish for.

There is a short story in there somewhere

surfer said...

its not a wish. we are becoming Orwellian more everyday. Not just a short story, its a novel, a trilogy, an ancient auto-biography. We crave comfort. Thus the system marches to the same drum.