Biological and genetic “innovations” are one of the hallmark “innovative” industries of the times, and will be very important in the future as genetic “editing” technology in conjunction with artificial intelligence come to define the next form of warfare and modern life. The US military is rapidly working on developing such technologies, and planning to integrate them for military use, including in one such recent announcement of creating “genetically modified” life forms for military purposes:
The Pentagon is developing a radical plan to breed gentically modified life forms to hunt for enemy subs.
A newly revealed project hopes to create ‘living tripwires’ that could give early warning to Navy commanders.
The Naval Research Laboratory, or NRL, would be able to tune the microorganisms to hunt for a variety of giveaway signals, from diesel fuel to human DNA from stealth divers.
According to Defence One, coming into contact with the trigger material would cause a loss of electrons, which could be detectable to friendly sub drones.
‘In an engineered context, we might take the ability of the microbes to give up electrons, then use [those electrons] to talk to something like an autonomous vehicle,’ NRL researcher Sarah Glaven said at a November event put on by the Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Lab.
Glaven said she believes the research is about a year away from providing concrete evidence that she can engineer reactions in abundant marine life forms that could prove useful for the military.
Researchers are targetting abundant sea organisms, like Marinobacter, for the project.
Sub-hunting, in particular, is ‘what we would like it to be applicable for,’ she said.
Several projects across the Army, Navy and Air Force, are part of the $45 million effort known as the ‘Applied Research for the Advancement of Science and Technology Priorities Program on Synthetic Biology for Military Environments’ designed to genetically engineer creatures for warfare.
If researchers can perfect the technology, it could lead to everything from living camouflage that reacts to its surroundings to better avoid detection, to radical new drugs.
Last year a team of scientists from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology developed and demonstrated a pioneering synthetic biology tool to deliver DNA programming into a broad range of bacteria.
This research was published in the journal Nature Microbiology, and was featured as the cover of the September 2018 issue.
‘Much of the current work in synthetic biology has used a small number of domesticated microbes, including E. coli or yeast,’ said Dr. Bryn Adams of ARL’s Biotechnology Branch.
‘Unlocking genetic access to undomesticated microbes has been a major barrier to military adoption of synthetic biology products.’
Adams further explained that there is a need for broadly applicable synthetic biology tools that allow access to a wide range of microorganisms, including the most fundamental step of genetic engineering – the ability to transfer DNA into a cell.
The team’s novel approach to address this problem uses an engineered Bacillus subtilis bacterium, termed XPORT, to deliver DNA in a highly precise and controlled fashion to a wide variety of bacteria.
MIT professor and corresponding author Dr. Christopher Voigt said, ‘Every Soldier, vehicle and weapon system is coated with living bacteria.
‘We are looking forward to understanding how these bacteria change depending on the theater, now having the ability to control them for sustained optimal performance.’
‘Our team is looking at ways we can reprogram cells that already exist in the environment to create environmentally friendly platforms for generating molecules and materials beneficial for defense needs,’ said Dr. Claretta Sullivan, a research scientist at the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, who is also the Tri-Service Program Manager for SBME, when the project was announced. (source, source)
In the 1993 Film Jurassic Park, there is a scene that in spite of its promotion of darwinism by actor Jeff Goldblum, he notes that “life finds a way,” in that living organisms do not act in ways that one can contain or absolutely expect would be consistent.
Removing the philosophy of evolution, the same principle applies as the creation of any “living” organism may act in ways not expected.
For example, around the year 1900, a fruit shipment from South America arrived in the Gulf port of Mobile, Alabama in the US. In this fruit shipment was a species of “fire ant,” which came by accident and was not native to North America. The ants got off the boat with the fruit and began to breed, and now the infamous “red ants” or “fire ants” are now found everywhere in the American southeast and as of 2015 have traveled and resettled as far north as Kentucky.
This was a problem started completely by accident with a real living creature, not a laboratory creation. There are many other similar problems in the US such as with deer ticks, snakehead fishes, burmese pythons, or varroa mites. Yet all of them can be incredibly destructive to humans, wildlife, or agriculture.
What is going to happen when “laboratory” animals are released into the wild?
Will the be able to be “controlled?”
What effects will they have on men, wildlife, and agriculture?
If a “problem” happens, will it be able to be resolved, or perhaps not?
It is good for people to search for innovative solutions. However, man can only manipulate that which is around him. He cannot in the true sense “create” life, and as many stories of the past note, man’s attempts to act in the capacity of God result in him creating his own hellish prison. This applies not just to biology, but all facets of life.
It is always said that “hindsight is 20/20”, but certain principles and ideas can be seen before they happen. As “Murphy’s Law” states that if something can go wrong it will, and given the well-known record of government accidents not just in the US, but foreign governments, it is a matter of time before a serious accident happens where a “creation” becomes something that one never expected and then it will be too late to control.