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Genetic engineering doomsday scenarios?
#1
This is post no. 1 under the main topic.
Hi. I'm writing a sci-fi novel in which I am trying to define an easily-understood genetic engineering disaster that leads to a permanent ban against engineering of humans.

Please let me know if the following scenario even makes sense:

Humans are confronted with an ebola-like pandemic that's sweeping around the world like wildfire. A vaccine is hurriedly engineered that seems to work and, as a result, most of the population is eventually vaccinated. All seems well. However, the vaccine has resulted in genetic damage. All vaccinated humans are now carrying a recessive gene that can cause sterility. That leads to approximately 25% of the next generation with two faulty copies of the gene. Billions of genetic dead ends.

Since the above is almost certainly flawed logic, I'd appreciate any ideas on how to do something like this correctly. Ultimately, I'm looking for an excuse why humans have not been engineered into supermen 2000 years from now. It has to be a real shock to the system that humanity will never forget, resulting in a permanent ban.

Thanks
Dirk
 
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#2
This is post no. 2 under the main topic.
That sounds interesting! But I doubt if a (DNA) Vaccine can lead to hereditary changes. For that, alterations of germ line cells would be needed, DNA vaccines (yet to be approved for humans) on the other hand target a few cells (soma) of the body.

You may introduce butterfly effect here, with the plot that the altered cells produced the antigen as well as an associate 'unexpected'molecule. The antigen helped in curing the patients/susceptibles, but the 'unexpected molecule' later termed as UMol, could cross the blood brain barrier and had high affinity towards Luteinising hormone. UMol would travel out of brain conjugated to LH and get released in ovaries/testes, where it turned into a DNA repair inhibitor. The progeny of vaccinated persons eventually turned out to be mutants/disabled.......(plot can be extended/manoeuvred...)
Sunil Nagpal
MS(Research) Scholar, IIT Delhi (Alumnus)
Advisor for the Biotech Students portal (BiotechStudents.com)
Computational Researcher in BioSciences at a leading MNC


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#3
This is post no. 3 under the main topic.
Thank you, Sunil. I had to read it a few times, but I eventually understood it. Mostly. ;-)

Dirk
 
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#4
This is post no. 4 under the main topic.
After reading my own response, I realized that it could have been conveyed in simpler terms :p

Well, I hope it was of some help..
Sunil Nagpal
MS(Research) Scholar, IIT Delhi (Alumnus)
Advisor for the Biotech Students portal (BiotechStudents.com)
Computational Researcher in BioSciences at a leading MNC


Suggested Reads:
Top Biotech Companies | Top places to work
Indian Biotech Companies and Job Openings
Aiming a PhD in Top Grad School? | These are the Important Points to Consider
Careers in Biotechnology | A list of various Options
Biotechnology Competitive Exams in India
 
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#5
This is post no. 5 under the main topic.
Sunil, thanks again.

I reread your response. How often does the body use DNA repair when creating egg or sperm cells? I'm hoping/looking for a catastrophic effect that sterilizes the offspring (as opposed to the original patients). In other words, one generation is treated, and vast numbers of their children are sterile (e.g., something like 25%-50% of the population). Is it possible for DNA vaccines to run amok and accidentally target germ line cells?

As long as I'm asking for the improbable, it would also be ideal if the effect cannot easily be reversed (i.e., essentially a permanent effect on our species, perhaps dormant). I'm guessing that anything that can be screwed up genetically can be reversed, so a permanent effect is probably inconcievable.

If the descendants cannot be made sterile by a runaway genetic engineering application, is it possible that they might develop severe illnesses while young or young adults? The more difficult to reverse, the better. Thoughts?

Thanks again.
Dirk
 
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