> Dalén was working in Russia in 2018 when he got a call that local tusk hunters — people searching for mammoth tusk — had found the specimen near Yakutsk in eastern Siberia.
* Transcript: https://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/as-it-happens-wednesday...
Edit: also those teeth! Do any other types of wolves/dogs have that crazy pattern?
you'll see everything from 'dunked in preservative and exhibited' to 'excavated as a giant chunk of permafrost and stashed in an ice cave'. The former seems more typical. Going all out, there's also this - a special facility to keep the specimen cold and, uh, moist it seems?
Plastination is the process of replacing liquids and fats in the body by plastics, and IIRC if you use silicone it even feels soft and pliable (my friend touched one of the exhibits)
[EDIT]Foxes indeed; not wolves.[/EDIT]
Regarding "banned", the article mentions:
> The study of genetics had been essentially banned in the USSR, as the country's dictator Joseph Stalin sought to discredit the genetic principles set out by Gregor Mendel. Stalin's death in 1953 gave scientists more freedom, but in the early years Belyaev nevertheless worked under the cover that he was breeding foxes to make better fur coats.
Also, it mentions 50 generations:
> "The fox farm experiment was crucial, in that it told us that domestication can happen relatively quickly in the right circumstances," he says. "The fact that in fifty generations, they were wagging their tails and barking, this is really incredible."
this is a kind of experiment I would have prohibited totally.
Only those foxes that showed tolerance for the nearness of people were selected and bred to produce the next generation, while fearful or aggressive animals were culled.
"Researchers have bred more than 40 generations of friendly and aggressive foxes."
I read a really interesting article mainly about the aggressive ones, but I just spent a few minutes looking for it unsuccessfully.
Now we can discuss whether such an approach is immoral on its own, but we should probably get off our high modern horses and judge things from perspective of given era. And breeding animals for fur was totally acceptable. In fact, it still is in all countries on earth and for some time will be.
Btw are you vegan to have at least some grounds to claim any moral superiority to that research?
I do eat meat. And I understand where it comes from.
I should not be judging hunters, live stock growers, or breeders culling unsuccessful breeds, or wale hunters...
I guess part of me was thinking why could not they just relocate the other foxes like 500 miles away and let them live. Russia (even without USSR) still has like 11 time zones of land. It is enormous.
Perhaps, for a moment, I assumed that I had a know-how and was asked to be a 'moral authority', 'ethics luminary' and a re-born principles activist (especially when it affects others, but not me)
I am probably not the only one who fell into that mind set, even momentarily.
But @saya-jin you are right,
there is nothing that indicated that animals were tortured, and I should not have judged how they were 'culled'.
> this is a kind of experiment I would have prohibited totally.
You mean it'd be prohibited or that you'd prohibit it?
What we do hourly to the population of chicken and cow is much more violent and genocidal than the culling you mention. It serves no scientific purpose either; only because 1) we've grown accustomed to eating so much meat 2) there are so many humans on Earth.
: being such beyond a doubt or to the utmost degree
Etymology: French pur-sang thoroughbred animal, from pur pure + sang blood, from Latin sanguis
(from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pur%20sang )
The obvious ethical objection is that human error can happen with gene editing and is intolerable while selective breeding allows for the reproductive system to make errors which are not a responsibility of man but of nature.
Ethical slippery sloping to justify ends sucks!
It seems like you're saying, either way you can get errors, but if you do it through breeding you can claim it wasn't your fault because, really, Nature did it.
I can't tell if you're serious or not.
EDIT: you may be thinking of this article specifically http://www.ediblegeography.com/strange-and-beautiful-seeds-f...
> For example, a mutagenic Ruby Red grapefruit grown without the use of pesticides can be labeled as organic and thus be sold for a premium, despite the fact that organic foods by definition cannot be genetically modified.
I honestly think scientists and science enthusiasts do not understand the most basic principle of justice: you cannot wrong even one innocent person evem if it means saving the entire planet as a whole! If you don't belive that please stay away from any profession that requires ethical decision making.
(I work for the government, and I'm here to help...)
Good example: truck driver, they have a ton of rules for everything due to how easily a simple mishap like not sleeping enough can get a person killed. They don't need to know much (if any) about ethics they just need to follow the law and rules.
Scientists,archaeologists,politicians and other professions involve new concepts and discoveries for which existing law and rules do not have coverage and as such require the professionals to know and excercise ethics in a consistent and acceptable way.
So which category does police officer fit in? They sure have a ton of rules and they shouldn't be forging new laws, right?
Police officers and soldiers are interesting in that they are expected to behave ethically even for things that there is no specific rule for. Police are much more lenient on their own so in reality inappropriate or unethical behavior has no consequence with soldiers it depends, do something inhumane to a POW, maybe nobody cares, associate with criminals and cheat(sexually) with other soldiers partners then even if there is no rule you might get discharged 'dishonorably' (they are expected to be honorable which often implies ethics). Cops might also run into situations where what is happening is legal but inaction might reasonably result in harm, so I think the ethical thing is to break the law and face consequences. They might also see something illegal (like other cops' crimes) and it might be legal to overlook that but unethical still. The key here is they are both given much power and leeway,they are expected to behave in a way that reflects the trust which includes ethical and honorable behavior.
In your truck driver scenario, the truck driver either did kr did not break the rules. Was it unethical if he lived far away? For him, no. For management that perhaps knowing the risks allowed the practice then they might have been unethical.
> I am serious and that is what I am saying.
I think we must not be on the same page, still. You said: "The obvious ethical objection is that human error can happen with gene editing and is intolerable while selective breeding allows for the reproductive system to make errors which are not a responsibility of man but of nature." That sounds like you're saying that, if I genetically modify a cow for more milk production and it turns out that the milk gives you cancer, then of course I am to blame; but if I instead breed cows for more milk production and get exactly the same result, then it not's me at fault but Nature. Even though I'm the one who put a new product in stores without sufficient testing that made people sick, I'm not to blame at all in the second case.
Is that really what you're saying?
Yes, that is what I am saying. In your example, of course if there were tests you could have done to prevent the outcome you're at fault. But that aside, the outcome is the same but human editing of a gene means you are causing a specific change in a complicated code bypassing natural adaptations and rejections that might be needed for a trait to be amplified. So you're responsible for the outcome even if there was no testing you could have done to ensure it won't cause cancer on some consumers. You are responsible for any deviations caused by your editing,good or bad. With selective breeding you are forcing breeding between animals that would have bred anyways. It is not impossible for the natural course of things to force breeding between those same pairs of animals. The outcome is the same but since you did not do something that could not have happened anyways in the natural course of things you are not responsible for all deviations.
What I meant though was more like deformations and other flaws that would be cruel to the animal. For example selective breeding of dogs has resulted in some breeds where the brees itself is illegal. Some breeds have skulls that become torturesome and painful once the brain grows to a full size. These breeds would die off if it were not for humans that insist on breeding them.
Mistakes are inevitable and az such the question of "is even one mistake acceptable?" must be asked to which I say no it is not. Trial and error are not acceptable because one error is not acceptable. Ends don't justify means.
Maybe someday computing will be powerful enough to model how editing of genetic material will affect the grown animal (100% accounting of unintended consequences).
Trial and error is exactly what evolution is. I'm struggling to understand your argument - is it that evolution, once it makes a mistake, culls that line? Whereas when humans make a mistake (based on your dog breed example), they continue it?
Evolution continues its trial and error even after mistakes are made. There's no central database that limits this -- it continues to happen, again and again, with the same mutations.
As human beings we recognize our ability to discern right from from wrong, just from unjust,cruel from humane and correct from incorrect. Knowing there is a risk of something incorrect that will result in an unjust,cruel and inhumane outcome, if you proceed with that action you are considered unethical. If the same outcome happens as a result of nature, other humans or by choice of the person/animal then it was not your decision or responsibility. The fact that other actors or nature might cause the same outcome does not absolve you of the decisions you make right?
> Knowing there is a risk of something incorrect that will result in an unjust,cruel and inhumane outcome, if you proceed with that action you are considered unethical.
I also disagree here. Unethical negligence is determined by a calculated risk of the bad outcome. There is a risk of bad outcomes every time a jury takes a criminal case, but that it clearly not an unethical action.
I'm generally not sure what your point is. We take calculated risks that could end up with something bad happening -- think driverless cars -- but there is a lot of variance between individuals' line between "acceptable risk" and "unacceptable risk". And sometimes the ends do justify the means, depending on your opinion on the Trolley Problem.
If you breed for muscularity and athleticism everyone is physically fit but you no longer have smart people that spend most of their time studying. Too much intellect and you suddenly are in shortage of people that spend most of their time getting fit like firefighters and soldiers.
Ethically, there is this concept of self determination for humans, that our existence especially with flaws is what gives us individual traits. Previous generations should not amplify any trait on purpose because that implies we are bread for a purpose. We are not purpose built machines or animals, we get to decide what purpose suits us best which is individual self determination.
There is a difference though between a person finding a mate because they find a feature attractive (reproductive selection) and selecting a mate because that mate will amplify that feature in their offspring.
EDIT: apparently there's some evidence of wolf domestication stretching back hundreds of thousands of years.
Fungal spores, however, can live forever even in deep space.
Valley fever, caused by Coccidioides immitis is a danger to Archeologists (and ATV enthusiasts) as it lives in the soil and if its spores are breathed in it can cause some symptoms.
So, there's some danger, but not much. And the people doing this work will likely know the details.
Evolution doesn't just mean improvements, it also means dropping that's that dont appear to be useful anymore. If a 20k year old bacteria suddenly starts showing up and we're no longer equipped to deal with them like we used to be...
There are some exceptions but apparently they're rare.
I think there was an episode of 99% Invisible with a qualified person explaining all this instead of some rando on the internet (me) but I can't find it =(
Hopefully someone else can elaborate
I thought it was an "everybody knows" thing that viruses and bacteria generally coevolve with hosts, so they become less virulent over time. It's when something has just become infectious that it's most likely to decimate (or worse) the population it's just arrived in.
However, I've always wondered if it would be possible to reassemble the whole DNA via aligning overlapping segments by indexing MASSIVE amounts of DNA.
IT would be VERY expensive to do now with today's tech but might be posssible in 10-20 years.
Why are they even allowing it to exist?