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Everyone kind of views the human body as balanced on a peak of health and anything that disrupts that the body falls to illness - the truth is that it is more like the body is down in a valley and it takes something pretty extreme to overcome its normal homeostasis. (sorry, that might be a confusing analogy sigh).

There are RNA (transcriptase?) molecules whose job it is to go over the DNA and correct transcription errors. We contain all the DNA from our origins with all the DNA that makes us different from pond scum or primates. It is just that certain genes are 'turned on' (crap I miss my ex - she was a plant phys. whis and could get me closer) or 'expressed'.

People sometimes wonder why no one has blue hair and why no mammals have blue fur - the reason might be that the combination of genes that would express blue hair cause other issues that are deadly to mammals. Attributes that we consider beneficial (surviving malaria) in a different environment proves to be detrimental (cycle cell).

But I digress

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It's been a while since my biochemistry/pharmacology studies, and I realise that the field have developed significantly since my day, but I think that even with the developement in our understanding, there are still issues which drug, stem-cell/gene therapy would be difficult to overcome. Certain physical injuries and medical conditions to name just two. My body is a wreck after 20 years of playing in front row rugby and my teeth won't grow new roots and enamel. Creaking around on crutches and slurping soup through a straw really take the shine out of a 1000 year lifespan. ;)

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I believe no blue pigments (absorb all other wavelengths and reflect blue) exist in any animal species, they are only found in plants. Even birds which look blue don't have blue pigment, instead teh blue colour is created using nano-structures of the feather which refract the light similar to how rainbows are produced in oil floating on water.

Likely it is just that only a small number of molecules act as blue pigments (even minerals are rarely blue) so it is very unlikely that the random chance involved in evolution will stumble across one of those molecules and in animals it never has.

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except there's some incentives to go with it. Like staying young (the vampire myth), being comfortable, never falling sick....and more

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Blue pigments usually concern things like copper(II) complexes, which are found in some organic structures like haemocyanin - found in certain arthropod "blood". But as AM states, they are pretty rare. Also blue lobsters express a mutated protein to form crustacyanin. Blue-ringed octopi also have certain chromaphores. As I understand it most blue-coloured plants/animals get their peculiar colour from structural colouration as opposed to pigments (as in cyanophoric colouration of the mandarinfish).

WRT vampirism - why the hell not! Look at all the bad people out there you could rid of. ;)

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Whole armies colored their uniforms in prussian blue. Due to the cyanide content and todays enviromental restrictions this could not happen any more.
There is also the indigo dye of blue jeans and don't forget my avatar! Long before the film!

Edited by ddanbe: correction

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According to the link you providexd prussian blue is used in lots of things

Because it is easily made, cheap, non-toxic, and intensely colored, Prussian blue has attracted many applications. It was adopted as a pigment very soon after its invention and was almost immediately widely used in oil, watercolor and dyeing.[18] The dominant uses are for pigments: approximately 12,000 tonnes of Prussian blue are produced annually for use in black and bluish inks. A variety of other pigments also contain the material.[12] Engineer's blue and the pigment formed on cyanotypes—giving them their common name blueprints. Certain crayons were once colored with Prussian blue (later relabeled Midnight Blue). It is also a popular pigment in paints. Similarly, Prussian blue is the basis for laundry bluing.

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I also think that Prussian blue is quite save to use. Was just alluding to the fact that some environmentalists dare to exaggerate when for instance cyanide is involved.

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Hmmm, I find the structoral blue of bird feathers interesting; the pattern of keratin proteins is such that red and yellow wavelengths are cancel each other out leaving blue reinforced and amplified. The shades of blue is made by air pockets in the keratin structures.

The lack of blue in mammals (actually, in most vertibrates) with the exception of mandrils and velvet monkeys (and some marsupials) has driven some scientists to delve a little more deeply into looking at the sturctoral reasons. I really like this quote for both what it says and how it says it
Prum’s observations provided the first phylogenetically documented instance of macroevolution between classes of coherently scattering nanostructures. For such periodic arrays, the 2D Fourier power spectrum could distinguish between laminar, crystal-like, and quasi-ordered nanostructures since laminar and crystal-like typically produce iridescence while quasi-ordered arrays do not.

Some blues and greens of glass are produced by oxides of copper so when working with these colors it is possible to use a reduction flame to rip the Oxigen out of the color leaving you with ribbons of copper metal in the object you are working.

Anyway, I brought up blue not for its own sake but to try to point out that some of the attributes produce by genetics are a side affect of some other attribute. Red hair in caucasians is linked to the balance of melanins produced by a particular gene whereas red hair in Africans is a form of albinism - a particular gene is unable to make any of the brown melanin.

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Some of you may recall (possibly) the worst ever eipsode of the original Star Trek. It was titled The Omega Glory. It involved a starship captain who was determined to discover the secret to the longevity of the natives of the planet he was on. The secret to their longevity was that they had evolved to live that long.

If you look at any species from a strictly evolutionary point of view, it makes little sense for an organism to live past the progeny producing/rearing years.

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If you look at any species from a strictly evolutionary point of view, it makes little sense for an organism to live past the progeny producing/rearing years.

And also considering that the rate of change of organisms under evolutionary pressures is mostly a matter of how quickly the population is renewed (i.e., time between generations). If a species has a reproductive cycle that is too long, it will not be able to keep up with changes of their environment, and will go extinct, along with like 99% of all species who ever lived on Earth.

And because it doesn't make much sense that a species would evolve to live much beyond their "fertile" period, it means that a species that evolved to live very old must either have a very long reproductive cycle or a very low success rate at reproduction.

Unless those species are very resilient and able to cope with different environments, they are the first on the chopping block when any kind of major environmental change occurs. And if they unlucky enough to be on top of the food chain, then they are in big trouble! That's why at every major disruption in the past, all species that weight on average above 50kg get wiped out (i.e., ever wondered why birds are the only dinosaurs that survived?).

Anyways, I digress too. I get there's a point here too: if we come to live for 1000 years or so, then we will essentially stop the evolution of our species, for better or worse.

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I think it's inevitable that if we reach a certain tech level that we stop our evolution - well, I'm not sure if stop is the word, but at least we will start to drive it, rather than be driven by it. But that in itself is fascinating. Can we really expect to survive such tinkering? Do we become human mules, unable to reproduce, hastening our extinction or/and shall we split into ever growing number of sub-species?

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I think it's inevitable that if we reach a certain tech level that we stop our evolution

I think the first 8 minutes or so of the (really bad) movie, Idiocracy, speaks volumes although that's cultural evolution at work as well as genetic.

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Do we become human mules, unable to reproduce, hastening our extinction or/and shall we split into ever growing number of sub-species?

Sub-species is fairly unlikely because of transportation technology but could happen based on socio-economic status if genetic enhancement is only available to the rich.

OTOH I expect reproductive technology will become an addiction we can't break as people who need repro-technology manage to have kids who will also likely need repro-technology. It has already happened in some dog breeds (because they have much small breeding populations than humans).

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The thing is, socio-economics is what drives most things. Could we see breakaway enclaves? Aryan races, purposely unable to reproduce with 'lesser' races. Will it lead to heavens or hells?
Well, I suppose it will all be irrelevant once we get human cloning off the ground, providing the world with single-parent-sibling broods. Who needs evolution anyway. ;)

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I don't think anyone will bother with human cloning, as a scientific problem it isn't very interesting and doesn't offer any real benefit aside from making money off rich ego-maniacs. Plus cloning hasn't been all that successful (resulting organisms tend to be short lived and sickly) because of the accumulated damage & telomere shortening in the nucleus-donor cell.

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If cloning would ever come to perfection, perhaps cloning is the way to live forever?
You could teach your younger self, all that you know. Plus as a bonus, your younger self gets own input stimuli.

Edited by ddanbe: typo

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I don't think anyone will bother with human cloning

I don't know if you could consider this a form of cloning, but I see much more promise in the "cloning" of organs, i.e., artificially growing real organs out of your own (repaired) genes in order to replace your used / damaged organs. I think that could have a significant impact. At first, it would be just to eliminate the need for organ donors, then it would become a common procedure for all sorts of problems, and then it could become a means to extend life significantly.

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The cloning I'm looking at is not the hit-and-miss affair of today, but something far more reliable and reproducible of the future. Perhaps these cells could be genetically manipulated without the moral objections that go with fertilized eggs, before they're implanted. Well, perhaps they won't be implanted in the future, perhaps babies will be grown in tanks. 'Cloning' organs is pretty close from what I was reading in New Scientist. Here's an article in Time from 6 years ago...

http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1679115,00.html

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Suggesting that once an organism is no longer able to reproduce it no longer affects the evolutionary process is ignoring the importance of family. Colony species like ants, hive species like bees immediately come to mind - reproduction is limited to a single entity and yet they survive. In the same manner uncles, aunts, grandparents all contribute to the survival of the species by helping keep the offspring alive. The longer a grandparent lives productively, the more likely the offspring will survive. Unmated, relatives contribute to keeping offspring alive.

Votes + Comments
Good points.
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Yesterday, I saw this movie about time and immortality. Nice entertainment with Justin Timberlake and handles this post subject.

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Hah, I just remembered the fish species that never dies of old age - the sturgeon. They are bottom feeders that have no known age limit or size limit. A dead sturgeon floated to the surface in Lake Washington (near Seattle), it weighed 300+ pounds and was though to be 200+ years old.

WRT blue animals - the blue crab is blue using a cyanine of the anthocyanidins which is similar to what plants use. It is a complex carotenoprotein. I thought that the blue was from copper but that is a different crab - the horseshoe crab which has copper-based blood (possibly the only such species on earth).

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I don't think the horseshoe crab is a crab, it's closer to an arachnid. Other arachnids also have copper-based blue "blood". I think I mentioned it in a previous post.

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There is a quote by a French author that states that the average person does not know what to do with their life yet wants another one which will last forever

No there isn't. If you don't know what you are talking about, why do you open your mouth? Mexican proverb If you don't open your mouth, the flies won't get in

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No there isn't. If you don't know what you are talking about

A simple google shows that quote was written by French author Jacques Anatole Franois. Now whose calling the kettle black.

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Yeah, the full, original quote is this:

"[Les libres penseurs] étaient les plus honnêtes gens du monde et fâchaient les esprits vulgaires en leur refusant l'immortalité. Car le commun des hommes, qui ne sait que faire de cette vie, en veut une autre, qui ne finisse point." -- Anatole France (La Révolte des Anges, The Revolt of the Angels)

Translates to:

"[Freethinkers] were the most honest people and frustrated the people of crude intellect by denying their immortality. For the common man, who doesn't know what to do with this life, wants another, one which will never end."

or (official):

"[Freethinkers] were the most honourable people in the world, and grieved the vulgar minds by refusing them immortality. For the majority of people, though they do not know what to do with this life, long for another that shall have no end."

This is not so much in reference to the topic of this thread (extending this life). The whole book from which this comes revolves around the conflict between free-thinkers and religious traditions. And this passage, in its context, is pointing out the irony in the fact that many religious people (especially monks and the clergy) (or as he says "the common men of crude intellect") seem to find no better ways to spend their time in this life than in devotion to God, and yet they cling so desperately to an eternal afterlife.

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I find it a strange thought that you have to be dead, to live forever. At least that's what religious people believe.

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It's a matter of unfalsifiability. If a religion claimed that devotion or prayer could make you live forever, it would get disproven as soon as the first generation of devotees were all dead. But if you claim that the "soul" will ascend to a higher plane (e.g., budhist "enlightenment"), reincarnate into another being while conveniently losing all conscious memory of the past lifes (e.g., hinduism or scientology), or be transported to heaven or hell (e.g., abrahamic myths), then you conveniently avoid falsification because there is no way to disprove it. Any religion or myth that does not follow the basic logic of unfalsifiability will not survive very long, and so, natural selection makes it so that all surviving religions or myths have that in common, i.e., you can never prove them wrong (which also implies that you can never prove them right either).

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