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maybe.logic
Member # 5014
 - posted July 23, 2006 11:47
Does anyone have any information on attempts at mutualistic symbiosis by humans? More like a merging of both, not an external relationship like man and pet.

I have been thinking about this subject lately, wondering, fungi seem very apt at living with human beings. Could there be a positive merging of man and fungi, man and plant?

Imagine mushroom man...

Can the merging of two organisms, with one being human, in a major way, create an enhanced third organism where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts?

What would be the proposed candidate symbiotes?
 
quantumfluff
Member # 450
 - posted July 23, 2006 12:04
Ohh phooey, I thought the thread was "Merging Orgasms"
 
AntonTakk
Member # 4686
 - posted July 23, 2006 12:21
maybe a human being that breaks apart as easily as a mushroom.....
 
Metasquares
Member # 4441
 - posted July 23, 2006 18:32
Fungi are adept at living with other organisms in general, not just humans. The reason is that they can't create organic compounds, so they are required to consume them from other organisms.

The same applies to animals, but animals usually form predator/prey relations, rather than symbiotic ones.

It is possible, though rare, that two species will eventually merge (I remember reading about two species doing this recently, but I forget which), but they likely won't be as distinct as humans and fungi.
 
uilleann
Member # 1297
 - posted July 23, 2006 18:45
quantumfluff: You beat me to that one ;-) And I actually read it as that at first before re-reading it to make sure. I blame Jessycat.
 
Ashitaka
Member # 4924
 - posted July 24, 2006 01:49
The only thing I can think of, would be merging with a single celled organism like mitochondria. IIRC That probably happened millions of years ago and they are in most all animal cells. They make our muscles stronger. Species like chimps have much more mitochondria in thier muscle cells, making them much stronger than humans while not looking it.
 
maybe.logic
Member # 5014
 - posted July 24, 2006 02:47
Very good point Ashitaka,

If anyone want to read about that I found a wiki page on Mitochondria

But I was thinking about man merging with machine, which already happens also and will increase in occurence, then I had a thought about man merging with other biological lifeforms instead.

I mean something more like the coming together of two major organisms, such as man and plant. In the end there is only one organism, if you take fractal structure into account. The universal eco-system as one organism of which we are part of.

There are or probably have been underground experiments attempting gene splicing of man and animal, probably in underground supersoldier projects. Could man and plant be spliced together at test tube level, creating something like "Brundle-Fly" but more like "Brundle-Salvia" instead? That's where I'm coming from. Even better if it was possible outside of a lab.
 
Metasquares
Member # 4441
 - posted July 24, 2006 05:33
Deliberately creating chimeras is a growing ethical issue right now (and IIRC, they were using human parts on mice, which is less controversial than the other way around). I think that the point will become moot if machines become sophisticated enough, since the benefits of merging with machines will eventually outweigh those of merging with other organisms.
 
littlefish
Member # 966
 - posted July 24, 2006 11:55
You can make pigs glow under UV light by splicing the GFP gene into their genome.link.
Then there are hybrids - like mules and ligers.
There is a great deal of symbiosis with bacteria in the gut.
And lichen may be more than one organism. Or they might not. And living things share most of their genes with everything else.

But people are pretty good as they are - why try to grow wings, when you could take a plane. Where would you buy a coat?
 
schnurren
Member # 1571
 - posted July 24, 2006 12:01
What sort of a plant would you want to merge with a human, and what would the end result be like, in terms of ability, appearance, intelligence, market value?(kidding about market value)

I know fish genes are added to tomatoes to help them survive cold spells.

What other examples of gene mixing are out there?
 
Metasquares
Member # 4441
 - posted July 24, 2006 14:04
Photosynthesis would be kind of nice, but then everyone would be green and leafy.
 
schnurren
Member # 1571
 - posted July 25, 2006 11:11
Green and leafy would be cool. We would be like elves, kinda.
 
Sxeptomaniac
Member # 3698
 - posted July 25, 2006 13:15
quote:
Originally posted by schnurren:
Green and leafy would be cool. We would be like elves, kinda.

No, we would be like Ents, which would be even cooler than looking like elves, IMO. [Geek]
 
AntonTakk
Member # 4686
 - posted July 25, 2006 21:13
but what would we do when we lost the Entwives? go around sadomizing trees untill we got a response?
 
maybe.logic
Member # 5014
 - posted July 26, 2006 10:14
quote:
Originally posted by littlefish:
But people are pretty good as they are - why try to grow wings, when you could take a plane. Where would you buy a coat?

quote:
Originally posted by schnurren:
What sort of a plant would you want to merge with a human, and what would the end result be like, in terms of ability, appearance, intelligence, market value?(kidding about market value)

Not sure.

Biological organisms seem to be perfect machines(or nearly so), and if that's the case; and since an eventual merging of man and machine seems likely; why not seek to merge with another biological organism instead?

The concept two major biological organisms evolving a symbiosis appears to be more foreign and less realistic than a symbiosis of man/machine. Maybe because of the higher probabilty of parasitism steming from a junction to another biological creature than from a machine.

It may be strange but I suppose the enhancements brought about by technological improvements in humans could also be achieved by a biosynthesis, perhaps one where minor and less complex organisms are used as opposed to one major.

The potential improvements could be an ability to regenerate limbs or damaged organs, photosynthesis or improved solar energy usage, can't think of anything else right now. A major improvement to the plant would be mobility. I can't even begin to imagine what sensory capabilties would result.


I would think that shapewise, this man/plant hybrid would be very far from your average human once mutation is complete, but who can be sure.


With the Biotech Age underway, many things will come to pass. I suspect changes will take place at the genetic level, due to 'custom-designing' babies' and other similar developments. We may also see some changes take place by the introduction of designed bacteria/germs into our bodies. Who knows, if the atmosphere becomes damaged beyond repair and the sun too brutal to handle perhaps bodies covered with certain fungi could defend themselves from cancer. Perhaps in a radioactive world a radiation eating bacteria could become part of us as help us with that...Perhaps a psychoactive man/plant hybrid would have a consciousness functioning in another plane of reality...
 
nerdwithnofriends
Member # 3773
 - posted July 26, 2006 18:00
Would photosynthesis really yield that much energy? I doubt it would be worth the time to implement photosynthetic traits for humans, because we use so much energy in a day; far more, I think, than any plant with the same leaf surface area produces via photosynthetic means.

I think a more viable route would be engineering people for easier cybernetic integration. Perhaps an organ that can produce electricity, or conversely, build a machine that can manufacture sugars given a steady supply of electricity and the basic elements, which could be pulled from the air. I think the only real problem with human anatomy is its inability to fully regenerate signifcant parts when they are lost or damaged, and its energy production, release, and storage mechanisms. If you could enhance those, you would have the 'perfect machine'.

I'm not saying that you leap a tall building in a single bound or whatever- I doubt there would be an overly dramatic increase in pure physical strength- but endurance would increase, and instead of eating, you could just plug in at night (or use electromagnetic induction to avoid those nasty extension cords in your bed).


Maybe another good benefit would be integration of bio-computing hardware with electronic computing hardware. Imagine if you retained your mental faculties that you have now, but you could use a built-in computer like you'd use a hand- just by thinking about it. If I'm not mistaken, they've recently made several advances in the area of neural interfaces, so it stands to reason that you could add this to a simple processor (doesn't have to be exceptionally fast- it's not like you'd need a graphical interface) and wireless transmitter. If anybody's interested, it was either this month or last month's issue of Popular Science that or Scientific American that was talking about advances in the field of prosthetics that used a chip in the brain to control a robotic arm or something.
 
The Famous Druid
Member # 1769
 - posted July 26, 2006 18:33
quote:
Originally posted by nerdwithnofriends:
I think the only real problem with human anatomy is its inability to fully regenerate signifcant parts when they are lost or damaged, and its energy production, release, and storage mechanisms.

I'll vote for the first of those.

When you get to be an old fart like me, you'll probably have accumulated a collection of injuries that never quite healed properly. Pretty-much any non-trivial injury to a joint is going to be giving you trouble for the rest of your life. If we could do what some of the 'lower' life-forms do, and re-grow bits that have been cut off, I'd be first in line for a chainsaw.
 
Xanthine
Member # 736
 - posted July 26, 2006 18:55
TFD, with all the political flap surrounding stem cell research don't be getting your hopes up.

quote:
Originally posted by maybe.logic:
Perhaps in a radioactive world a radiation eating bacteria could become part of us as help us with that...

Look no further. [Razz]

There's lots of weird stuff on this planet.
 
maybe.logic
Member # 5014
 - posted July 28, 2006 04:26
Thanks Xanthine, That was very interesting.

I am not as random as this thread may appear to have been, it dawned upon my the other night that some people on the forum may think I am a bit weird just randomly posting about the Merging of Organisms...

So the reason for my enquiry was that I plan on writting a short story involving this.

So thanks again.
 




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