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Comment Re:Hobbit (Score 1) 278 278

I've always wanted to take a derelict submarine, ship it to Barstow, California and sell 1-year+ stays to these folks and see how it affects their opinion on colonization. All the "we must escape the cradle" arguments for colonization ignore the fact that it is really, REALLY hard to imagine a catastrophe that will render Earth as inhospitable as Mars or the Moon. As bad as the K-T extinction event was, Earth had plenty of flora and even megafauna that survived. Mars? Maybe can support some microbial life. Maybe. If you can build a hermetically sealed, relatively self-sustaining habitat, why not plop them all over Antarctica, the Gobi or even the continental shelves?

Comment Re:I hate to defend Monsanto somewhat, but (Score 1) 617 617

You can patent "life" (at least in the US in the form of organisms modified by humans). That ship has sailed a long time ago, see the US Supreme Court case Diamond v. Chakrabarty. You might make a MORAL case that you should not be able to patent things this way. Your statement however, is demonstrably wrong from a legal standpoint.

Comment Re:Where does it all come from? (Score 2) 239 239

This is true, but doesn't really capture the types of experiments that are being done in many cases. Yes, your genome can be stored on a CD. However, next gen sequencing is usually done with a high degree of overlapping coverage, to catch any mistakes in the sequencing, which is still basically a biochemical process despite geting large text files as the end result. So any genome is sequenced multiple times: say 8x coverage as fairly standard. That is if you are interested in sequencing a single genome. If you are interested in sequencing all the mRNAs that tell you which genes are active in which tissue and cell type, expect that you need to do a similar amount of sequencing for each tissue and cell type in the human body. Now imagine doing that with different experimental conditions: disease states, environmental factors etc. Of course, on top of that, you will need replicates of each experimental condition in order to have statistical power to say anything meaningful. On top of that there is the sequencing that you can do to identify differences in the epigenome: how the DNA is marked with things like methyl-groups, how it is wrapped around histones, all of which we are finding has a huge functional difference. Having the a genome sequence is a lot like having the total word list of the english language. It is huge and powerful, but there is a lot more information you need before you can write Shakespeare.

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