WHAT DID CHRIS CARTER KNOW, AND WHEN DID HE KNOW IT? EXTRA BASE PAIRS AND "PURITY CONTROL"

WHAT DID CHRIS CARTER KNOW, AND WHEN DID HE KNOW IT? EXTRA BASE PAIRS ...

Scientists have been successful in creating an extra base pair and synthesizing a whole new DNA and organism, according to this article that was shared by a great many readers here:

Extra letters added to life's genetic code

Beyond the usual thing that catches my attention with such articles, namely, the potential for all sorts of intentional "high mischief" and unintentional "nasty blowback" from such scientific tinkering, which is always accompanied by some moralizing rationalization about how wonderful science is and how helpful all this will be to human health and medicine &c &c blah blah blah (and by implication) what a "top drawer good lot of people these scientists are, wot?", there is something else that I couldn't help but wonder about, so today I'm going to forego my usual warnings about science run completely amok and the unintended consequences and blowback of the same, and concentrate on something that... well, is probably nothing more than a personal whimsy and eccentricity, because today I want to point out an oddly synchronous detail that adds a certain... well, the only words for it are ... a certain bizarre and quite frankly disquieting context to this story.

I'm referring to the producer of the celebrated 1990s science fiction television series, The X Files' Chris Carter.

Toward the end of the first season of that series, there was an episode that was a part of the "extraterrestrials-UFOs-we're being visited" story arc of the series called "The Erlenmeyer Flask", an episode written by Mr. Carter himself. The story of course centered on an Erlenmeyer flask which the ever-intrepid FBI agents Mulder and Scully found at the scene of a crime, a flask labeled "Purity Control." Mulder tasks the ever-skeptical scientific Scully to find out what's in the flask. Scully takes it to Georgetown University where a Dr. Ann Carpenter subjects the whole sample to a series of tests, including genetic sequencing and...

...lo and behold, the scientist discloses to an obviously disconcerted agent Scully that the sample contained an extra base pair in the genetic sample that existed nowhere in nature on planet Earth, and thus would have to be, "by definition," extraterrestrial.

Now, it takes no great mental leap of logic to understand that if there were to be any extra base pairs in DNA, that they would have to come in a group of two elements, for each element couples in the double helix to its conjugate element. One can't have just five elements, one can, however, have six, or eight, or... so on. But all known DNA on earth has but four base pairs of nucleotides: G-C and A-T (guanine-cytosine and adenine-thymine). So, just by simple reasoning Mr. Carter can easily figure out that one cannot have an unpaired fifth element, but in fact six elements with a new third base pair: (x,y). For the purposes of his episode, he does not have to explain organic chemistry or genetics, but merely leap to the conclusion that the extra base pairs in Scully's sample, since they exist in no known terrestrial DNA, must "be, by definition, extraterrestrial" if we may paraphrase Dr. Carpenter's report to Agent Scully once again.

But they could be synthetic. So, we now have three possibilities presented to us in the mix of science and science-fiction for the origin of an extra base pair to give the following list: G-C, A-T, and X-Y: (1) the extra pair is a synthetic artificial creation; or (2) it originates off planet but may not be artificial or synthetic, or (3) it is synthetic, artificial, and of off-planet origin. Given the genetic science of Mr. Carter's day, option 1 was theoretically possible but nowhere close, leaving options two and three are being more likely. Bear that in mind...

Now for the purposes of my high octane speculation of the day, what I found odd about this story, or rather, the reporting of this story, was that unlike the G-C and A-T base pairs, which are comprised of recognizable amino acids, the X-Y pair is left very unscientifically undefined and unspecified: are they meant to be understood as actual newly synthesized (or, perhaps, uhm... discovered?) base pairs, or are they simply inert genetic markers, perhaps even completely inorganic compounds inserted into the DNA helix of their synthetic organism and made to made via genetic moderators? (I know, it's a goofy idea, but in the absence of information...) We're not told. Now I don't know about you, but this seems to be at best a bit of sloppy reporting. I for one would like to know more. But this was, after all, the BBC, so in addition to the usual controlled media vapidity, we should expect a bit of non-reporting to occur here. So off I went to our friends at phys.org, to find this version of the story:

Scientists create first stable semisynthetic organism

Unusually, this wasn't much help either, for that mysterious new base pair X-Y was still left hovering in mid-air with nothing to support it; new amino acids? Inert markers? what were they? Still undefined. It took finding the abstract of the actual scientific work linked at phys.org to find out:

A semisynthetic organism engineered for the stable expansion of the genetic alphabet

Here we finally read that, yes, this is an entirely new base pair of nucleotides (Here I am citing the entire abstract):

All natural organisms store genetic information in a four-letter, two-base-pair genetic alphabet. The expansion of the genetic alphabet with two synthetic unnatural nucleotides that selectively pair to form an unnatural base pair (UBP) would increase the information storage potential of DNA, and semisynthetic organisms (SSOs) that stably harbor this expanded alphabet would thereby have the potential to store and retrieve increased information. Toward this goal, we previously reported that Escherichia coli grown in the presence of the unnatural nucleoside triphosphates dNaMTP and d5SICSTP, and provided with the means to import them via expression of a plasmid-borne nucleoside triphosphate transporter, replicates DNA containing a single dNaM-d5SICS UBP. Although this represented an important proof-of-concept, the nascent SSO grew poorly and, more problematically, required growth under controlled conditions and even then was unable to indefinitely store the unnatural information, which is clearly a prerequisite for true semisynthetic life. Here, to fortify and vivify the nascent SSO, we engineered the transporter, used a more chemically optimized UBP, and harnessed the power of the bacterial immune response by using Cas9 to eliminate DNA that had lost the UBP. The optimized SSO grows robustly, constitutively imports the unnatural triphosphates, and is able to indefinitely retain multiple UBPs in virtually any sequence context. This SSO is thus a form of life that can stably store genetic information using a six-letter, three-base-pair alphabet.(All emphases added)

So there we have it. Thus "option 1" of our previous list of three options appears to be the choice de jour for our high octane speculation: they're creating such expanded unnatural base pairs to increase the information storage capacity of DNA, and all sorts of possibilities pop up with that one, including bio-computers and data storage.

But I cannot escape the Chris Carter scenario, that such an unnatural base pair might also represent blacker, earlier projects, using clues provided "from off this world," say, for example, meteorites from Mars that land in places like, well, Antarctica?

See you on the flip side...

 

 

19 thoughts on “ WHAT DID CHRIS CARTER KNOW, AND WHEN DID HE KNOW IT? EXTRA BASE PAIRS ...”

  1. All I want to say is – Ho Ho Ho Ho, at this speed of genetic technology development, I don’t think it is a myth or impossibilities for cloning or creating something that looks like the Grey’s Alien, together with the electrogravitic or UFO technology, it is not extremely hard to pull off a fake Alien invasion in the future after all.

    Creating a fake Alien enemy to invade Earth, have the Terran to fight them off, is the supreme puppet master’s name call Sheev Palpatine?! ROFL!!!!!!

    1. Those ‘greys’ are biobots created by the PRE Ancient Chinese who were the only human faction to leave the planet and come back, mucho many, many moons and suns ago. The so-called Black Knight satellite, which broke up the Russian meteorite a few years back, showed it to be an automated and weaponized sentinel to protect the planet (nice job!) and left a message, not telling from whence they came (what for?) but where they went in case they didn’t come back. The eyes have it and give it away, engineered for a different sun.
      True and full blooded Chinese have no whites showing from those slanted and nearly closed eyes.

      The true purpose of the Great Wall, older than they tell us, is for segregation, not protection. The true Chinese are more different as a faction of the human race than blacks and whites from each other. Just put all the pieces together, both now and from ancient times and myths, and it explains a lot. I don’t have time to list them here.

      1. Far fetched? So’s life. Think about it and you’ll soon have a list yah long to explain it all and put it together. I’ll start you off with the fact that they have been so anxious to explore the other side of the moon…… That’s as close to ET as you’re gonna get, originally from right here on Earth.

  2. What about ‘nanites’ that replicate by constructing copies of itself/themselves from outside material? Is that still a subject of official secrecy? Speculation for the savvy only?

    Well, they’re here and already everywhere, somewhat ‘alive,’ at least as in affecting the world and species around them. Electromagnetics pings them to more & more sophistication and self decision-making for good or bad, depending on the frequency. Is the excuse for ‘working’ with them, to help make themselves better…………and US worse … (?) … doing good for that bad and bad for the good?

    Talk about high octane speculation (it doesn’t take much) are these ‘things’ actually running the world, since they are now in EVERYthing and EVERYbody, supposing them to be little devils and banding together to make the world safer AND better……for themselves (?)

    After all, with more high ‘octane’ speculation, they have been around since a previous civilization, at least as a base potential, a kind of AI perhaps responsible for the great evil that made our “age” and epic the most evil that there has ever been, as the last 5000+ years seems to be.

    I come across what one might loosely call, their droppings, which are NOT droppings at all, but enough of them that are inactive and clumped together making them visible as dark spots or stains. Also perhaps as those strange leavings associated with chemtrails that disappear when touched, probably and literally jumping at the chance to be absorbed by something truly alive. Think of it: nanites ruling US and running the planet.

    I keep my fire extinguisher nearby for such really high octane stuff!

  3. I can see the international groundwork being laid out as we speak – copyrighting and patenting genomic sequences for proprietary bacteria, yeast, algae, and other organisms.
    Hey! DNA is DNA. Merely information. Which means humans are merely information. There’s a long established legal precedent that information can be owned.

    1. Smart people will make certain to own and copyright their bloodline: 51% ownership in a certain sequence of DNA would be a controlling interest. There are all sorts of possible fractional ownership scenarios.
      No references to species. One merely owns information. Human beings are not very smart; if, they don’t own themselves.

  4. What does one do if there is an AI running rampant in the system and they need to combat it, they create a faster, stronger, “good” AI. This can be applied to super bug threats as well. Or one can create a plague for dispersal, include foreign DNA pairs, and provide only those among the “in club” with the “vaccine” to eliminate the transcription mechanism.

  5. It could be synthetic and/or extraterrestrial.
    This, or course, is replete with possibilities: the good, the bad, the ugly.
    I’ reading an upcoming novel on this very subject whose timeframe is 2045: The Change Agent by Daniel Suarez. The era is awash in living technologies – a 4th industrial revolution of synthetic and genetic editing; the hardware/software of life itself.

    1. Custom-designed organisms-algae, yeasts, and bacteria-will increasingly grow what’s currently manufactured. Automobile bodies grow from chitin. Deathless meat and cultured dairy products from sustainable cellular agriculture. Engineered organisms will scrub the oceans of pollutants.
      But unlike the 20th Century, the changes will not be limited to the products. Humanity will change.

      1. In the book illicit labs around the world offer vanity edits, starting w/simple procedures to tweak certain popular genes in human embryos-conferring advantage to parents who can afford them.
        Germline engineering[heritable].

        1. We all know about the well publicized blessing; but the devil/curse is in the details.
          In the novel, the change agent is an elixir that literally changes the subjects identity into another selected identity[Just the physical attributes]. Thus changing an Interpol agent into the very criminal he’s hunting. The hunter becomes the hunted.

        2. Slavery on explodes exponentially.
          Military soldiers made to order.
          Custom highs; your drug is synthesized as your ordered it-specialized just for your DNA, to create the perfect high. To gauge the precise dose, to avoid death. At maximum purity.

  6. Unfortunately all three articles seem to be hiding something by their vagueness. They leave out so much that one cannot phantom what they’re to get across to their readers. What trans-humanist agenda are they hinting at and what ax ate they grinding.

    1. The first article seems to be looking for a way to make the chosen ones immortal as it relates to ending the aging process. You will still be able to get them by lopping their heads off, a wooden stake or silver bullet through the heart and by fire however.

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