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Breeding Larger Insects


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Breeding Larger Insects
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stevegong
www.stevegongphoto.com
 
Join Date: May 2004
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2010-05-21, 19:46

Hundreds of millions of years ago, we had insects that were huge. The Meganeura was a dragonfly like insect that had a wingspan of nearly 1m.

It is believed that insects today are far smaller because of a higher atmospheric oxygen ratio, and hotter temperatures.

It would be pretty amazing to "resurrect" these creatures.

We can mimic prehistoric atmosphere conditions by increasing oxygen levels in a tank, and raising the temperature. Then we select for size, and get larger insects to breed.

Poof, after x generations, we have humongous insects.

I'm sick of photography and other petty arts and crafts "creative" endeavors. It's time to up the ante.


Thoughts?
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Bryson
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Join Date: Feb 2005
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2010-05-21, 19:55

You're a real-life supervillain.


Cool.
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ezkcdude
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2010-05-21, 19:59

Sounds like Jurassic Park up in this place.
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PB PM
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2010-05-21, 20:55

Wow Steve, giant insects? I think we'll skip that, thanks.
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Noel
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2010-05-21, 21:29

Meh, just take a trip to Ecuador.
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drewprops
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2010-05-21, 21:51

Do It!!!!!!!


...
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billybobsky
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2010-05-21, 21:57

no need:

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Foj
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2010-05-21, 21:58

Are you hoping to one day create Mothra??

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billybobsky
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2010-05-21, 22:14

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevegong View Post
Hundreds of millions of years ago, we had insects that were huge. The Meganeura was a dragonfly like insect that had a wingspan of nearly 1m.

It is believed that insects today are far smaller because of a higher atmospheric oxygen ratio, and hotter temperatures.

It would be pretty amazing to "resurrect" these creatures.

We can mimic prehistoric atmosphere conditions by increasing oxygen levels in a tank, and raising the temperature. Then we select for size, and get larger insects to breed.

Poof, after x generations, we have humongous insects.

I'm sick of photography and other petty arts and crafts "creative" endeavors. It's time to up the ante.


Thoughts?
There are far more direct/creative ways to do this, particularly since your super bugs will only be viable in their little tank.

The simplest target is the oxygen carrying hemocyanin in the bugs. Of course, if you are really after enormous insects, you might want to scrap the whole diffusive oxygen transport and give insects a proper circulatory system. This way you aren't limited by oxygen tension, but rather nutrition/exoskeleton support.
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iFerret
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2010-05-22, 03:49

Actually it would be pretty awesome to resurrect some of these. Especially the Meganeura - 1m wingspan!

But how many everyone-dies-due-to-experiment-gone-wrong books and movies start out exactly like that?
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spotcatbug
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2010-05-22, 19:06

Post the pictures here, please.
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709
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Join Date: May 2004
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2010-05-22, 19:09

Reminds me of that series where Nigel Whatsisface did something. Not "Walking With," but similar. Or maybe it was WW. I don't know.


God, I'm pathetic today. I don't feel like Googling fuckall.

So it goes.
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billybobsky
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2010-05-22, 20:47

I am tacitly connected to the synthetic biology field and it worries me that people are reacting aggressively against the recently announced synthetic genome bacteria (Venter et al.) as opposed to in awe about the possibilities. It needs to be made clear is that the announcement is barely an actual advancement -- synthetic genes are routinely made for all sorts of discovery purposes; it's just a matter of scale with a system we understand very well.

It concerns me most because we are rapidly approaching a point in human knowledge where what it means to be human will be laid bare by systematic studies from genome to phenotype -- this isn't a far off prospect. The fear being demonstrated by certain elements of society (including, somewhat shockingly, the President) suggests that they are not going to respond well when it becomes clear that us scientists have digested the human soul (but perhaps not the spirit) to oblivion.

Last edited by billybobsky : 2010-05-22 at 21:09.
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ezkcdude
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2010-05-22, 21:29

Are any of the genes actually synthetic? My understanding is they used actual sequence from a specific bacterial species. To my way of thinking, truly synthetic biology is actually designing genes from scratch, without using living genomes as a template.
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billybobsky
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2010-05-22, 22:08

Quote:
Originally Posted by ezkcdude View Post
Are any of the genes actually synthetic? My understanding is they used actual sequence from a specific bacterial species. To my way of thinking, truly synthetic biology is actually designing genes from scratch, without using living genomes as a template.
You get into a dangerous semantic game when you differentiate between synthetic, meaning chemically or biochemically synthesized, and synthetic, meaning de novo.

It is safer to just use the word synthetic to mean just that -- the genome was entirely synthesized (ie brought together by parts, chemically). It wasn't non-natural, or even artificial (though the use of the term artificial also sends you down a poor rabbit hole -- you get commercials where frozen food is made of entirely real ingredients, as if that means something).

In my field, de novo design of proteins, synthetic carries the burden of meaning something more than just non-natural, hence the definitional guidance...

As far as the broad field is concerned, the use of synthetic is more towards the synthesis direction versus the de novo direction.
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scratt
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2010-05-23, 01:10

Following on from billybobsky's comments about diffusive oxygen transport, it is my understanding that the reason that a lot of insects (particularly the relatively large ones we do have) pulsate, is to try and move oxygen around to overcome, or alleviate the oxygenation problem. In effect making their body cavity an extremely crude lung.

So any super huge insect would have to throb quite aggressively, making it even more scary!

'Remember, measure life by the moments that take your breath away, not by how many breaths you take'
Extreme Sports Cafe | ESC's blog | scratt's blog | @thescratt
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Dave
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2010-05-23, 14:19

Quote:
Originally Posted by iFerret View Post
But how many everyone-dies-due-to-experiment-gone-wrong books and movies start out exactly like that?
All of the ones that make me want to require movie/tv writers to understand kindergarten-level physics.
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