Reality Skimming
19Sep/12Off

Stimulus/Response: Bio-engineering complex traits

Lynda responds spotting a book about identifying complex traits in genetics.

Lynda WilliamsLynda Williams is the author of the Okal Rel Saga, published by Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing. Part 8: Gathering Storm is anticipated by the end of 2012. Lynda's work features moral dilemmas in a character-driven, multi-cultural setting with radically different attitudes to sex and social control surrounding space warfare and bio-science.

Stimulus

Genetic Dissection of Complex Traits 2nd Edition

Genetic Dissection of Complex Traits 2nd Edition

Genetic Dissection of Complex Traits by D.C. Rao & C. Charles Gu, on Google Play, Book.

Response

I don't know how I got here, this morning, from reading an e-mail notificatoin of a post on Broad Universe from Phoebe Wray suggestive -- to me -- of a dialogue for Reality Skimming ... but once I spotted this title, I knew I had to blog about the connection with Sevolites.

The Lorel Experiment is the most obvious of the publications to feature genetic engineering, but it's a note sounded frequently throughout the Okal Rel Universe. Hal Friesen's up-coming Nestor novella deals with the threat to the social order on Monitum of making genetic superiority a commodity. And the clone issue crops up on saga titles 9 and 10 (ah, that's the connection with Phoebe Wray's new book).

Here's the points I feel the urge to make here, in connection with the ORU:

  • Figuring out how to bio-engineer for complex behavioral outcomes is harder than engineering for skin color or good eye sight because I presume behavior is a complex trait. Particularly if you are after something as abstract as "be concerned about the survival of humanity over the long term" -- the special behavioral leanings of the Lorels, for example.
  • I figured creating designer humans with revised behavioral traits (like DO NOT BE WILLING TO DESTROY PLANETS FOR ANYTHING) would take time. Be safely "sci fi". And I think it still is. But books like this one, which was publised in 2008 I beleive, suggest real science may not be so many years from the Lorel Experiment.
  • As pilots jest in the pub on Mega, with Ann, in Part 1: The Courtesan Prince, and the heroine of The Lorel Experiment finds out at no-rad, I believe attaining bio-engineered end-products as complex as Sevolites would require an immoral phase of trial and error. Just like complex computer programs (remember Star Wars?), complex things have to be tried out to debug.
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