by Tony Cartalucci
March 27, 2013
A bridge is about to be
crossed, then burned.
Which side will you be on?
Old age and resulting death is a
condition, and like all conditions it can, and will inevitably be
Already in nature, evolution has left
certain organisms endowed with what is known as "biological
immortality," where the cells of the organism are continuously
renewed without deteriorating over time.
Of course, disease,
predation, and environmental conditions can cause the otherwise
untimely death of such organisms, but barring these exceptions, in
theory they could perpetuate themselves indefinitely.
The New York Times in their 2012 article, "Can
a Jellyfish Unlock the Secret of Immortality?" reported that:
Sommer kept his hydrozoans in petri
dishes and observed their reproduction habits. After several
days he noticed that his Turritopsis dohrnii was behaving in a
very peculiar manner, for which he could hypothesize no earthly
Plainly speaking, it refused to die.
It appeared to age in reverse, growing younger and younger until
it reached its earliest stage of development, at which point it
began its life cycle anew.
The Times also reported on the discovery
of what is now called the "immortal jellyfish" and the paper
published upon its discovery, "Reversing the Life Cycle
- Medusae Transforming into Polyps and Cell Transdifferentiation in
Turritopsis nutricula (Cnidaria, Hydrozoa)," that:
Yet the publication of “Reversing
the Life Cycle” barely registered outside the academic world.
You might expect that, having learned of the existence of
immortal life, man would dedicate colossal resources to learning
how the immortal jellyfish performs its trick.
You might expect that biotech
multinationals would vie to copyright its genome; that a vast
coalition of research scientists would seek to determine the
mechanisms by which its cells aged in reverse; that
pharmaceutical firms would try to appropriate its lessons for
the purposes of human medicine; that governments would broker
international accords to govern the future use of rejuvenating
But none of this happened.
However, it is very unlikely that "none
of this happened."
Since the beginning of recorded history,
man, and in particular, the ruling elite have sought - after
conquering all else - to defeat the last threat to the ill-gotten
wealth and power they have accumulated over their lifespans - death.
It is said the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang,
died of mercury poisoning while experimenting with potions
thought to grant extended life.
The Philosopher's Stone was pursued
throughout the Middle Ages by alchemists both for its ability to
transmutate lead into gold, and for its role in producing an "elixir
of life" granting its users immortality.
It is only in modern times that mainstream talking points seem to
encourage people to crawl into their graves contently and without
struggle, with even national health care systems writing off
patients as hopeless and drains on the system, better off dead.
Strange that as technology now stands to
grant humanity one of its most sought-after goals, we face what
seems a concerted effort to acquaint the general population with the
concept of gladly embracing death.
Behind Human Biological Immortality
The so-called "immortal jellyfish" has developed through evolution
its ability to cheat death.
But what progress has science made in
translating such a feat into success for species that have evolved
without the means of defeating age-related deterioration?
The US National Institute of Health
republished a 2008 report titled, "Telomere
elongation and prolongation of lifespan in rats by unblocking of
telomere caps," the abstract of which included:
Telomeres are the ends of
chromosomes and are non-coding DNA "end-capped" with structures
containing DNA-quadruplexes and proteins. Telomeres become
shorter after each cell division, which is one of the mechanisms
of gradual ageing.
The abstract continues with:
This experiment shows that telomeres
were elongated by the combination of hypoxia activated
telomerase and a newly developed pharmacological method removing
the telomere cap when this combined method was applied to the
human lymphocyte culture and the Wistar rats.
Rats from the control group died at
the age 1 year 7 month - 1 year 8 month, which is typical for
the Wistar rats from our sub-line. Rats from the experimental
group died at the age 2 year 4 month.
The result Morris's labyrinth water
test showed the better spatial memory function of rats passed
the telomere stabilization therapy. The results of these
experiments show the significant role of telomere stabilization
therapy in prolongation of lifespan.
In short, the DNA of each cell of most
species have caps at the end to protect the DNA during cell
Each time cells divide, these caps get
shorter until eventually, the DNA itself begins deteriorating with
each cell division - thus bodily functions, both internal and
external, begin to deteriorate as well, causing aging and eventual
The therapy carried out by researchers
using lab rats sought to extend and stabilize these "caps," granting
the test subjects unnaturally long lives.
Gizmag's 2010 article, "Harvard
team successfully reverses the aging process in mice," reported:
The aging process - it's
undignified, unwanted, and many would say unnecessary.
After all, the cells in your body
are constantly replacing themselves - why can't they do it
without causing progressive degradation of organs that lead to
discomfort, weakness and death? Well, perhaps they can.
Harvard scientists have discovered
that by controlling certain genetic processes in mice, they can
not only slow down the aging process, but "dramatically" reverse
it throughout the body.
It's a massive discovery, but it
won't be able to be used in humans yet without some pretty scary
Theory no more, the science of extending
life at a cellular level is a reality, one that can and inevitably
will be translated to human patients.
The science of life extension doesn't stop with stabilizing
telomeres. As the field of genetics and
synthetic biology expand, the ability to sequence, understand,
analyze, re-sequence, and reintroduce DNA into a patient will open
new doors to both the treatment of disease, and
regenerative medicine, including the regeneration of cells from
a state of age or environmentally-induced deterioration back to a
younger, healthier state.
Already, through the process of
gene therapy (re-sequencing and reintroducing an improved
version of a patient's DNA),
diabetes has been cured in dogs,
lung cancer has been treated in rats, and human patients with
terminal leukemia have given a second chance at life.
The current limitations involve our
ability to read and rewrite DNA with the level of genetic "literacy"
necessary to take a patient's DNA and extrapolate what it should
look like, re-write it and reintroduce it into their body on a
full-spectrum scale to achieve full "biological immortality."
However, the ability to do this is being developed through a wide
variety of research and competitions.
Synthetic Biology - Accessible for Everyone
While the reading, writing, rewriting, and reintroduction of DNA
into human patients is still in the realm of highly trained
professionals with vast resources at their disposal, the field of
genetics and synthetic biology is not exclusively "super science."
In fact, genetics and synthetic biology
are increasingly becoming more accessible to a greater number of
people as technology and information continue to advance and
disseminate around the world.
Computers and the Internet make both the
tools for participating in such fields more accessible, as well as
the knowledge necessary to use such tools.
Davies, Professor of Experimental Anatomy,
"Synthetic Biology: the potential and the problems of re-engineering
As a result, there is a burgeoning
DIYbio (Do-It-Yourself Biology) movement (VIDEO) - with local
labs open to the public where everything from DNA extraction and DNA
fingerprinting to gene splicing is taught and executed in a safe and
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) annual
iGEM (International Genetically
Engineered Machine) competition includes university students and
now even high school students.
The competition involves developing new
genetic sequences, introduced into viruses and bacteria, changing
their characteristics into something that can be useful.
used in, "Creating
Life - The Ultimate Engineering Challenge" (below video), involves a
bacteria re-engineered to change color when it comes in contact with
a particular water-borne parasite:
The Ultimate Engineering Challenge
February 15, 2012
biology documentary by Kelly Neaves and Dominic
Rees-Roberts, following the Imperial College
IGEM team (International Genetically Engineered
Machine), as they discover how to engineer
bacteria to perform specific tasks, and consider
the implications of their work.
The bacteria could theoretically be used
in testing kits to determine the potability of water around the
While re-engineering bacteria is not exactly human gene therapy, a
lot of the techniques, equipment, and theory is the same. By
developing an understanding and competence in iGEM-style exercises,
the general population would be better poised at tackling the more
advanced challenges human medicine presents us with.
And by high schools and universities
developing their physical and academic infrastructure to participate
in iGEM-style competitions and challenges, they collectively expand
the fields of genetics and synthetic biology, including increasing
our human capital, thus making progress toward greater achievements
faster and more profound.
But do people realize the end game? Do people re-engineering
bacteria in high school and university labs, while reading headlines
about the latest breakthrough in gene therapy, understand the future
that potentially awaits us?
Malthusian Paradigm, and Burning Bridges
The Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or
DARPA as it is more widely known,
is actively involved in genetics and synthetic biology research.
Wired reported in its Pentagon-friendly
"Danger Room," in an article titled, "Pentagon
Looks to Breed Immortal ‘Synthetic Organisms,’ Molecular Kill-Switch
The Pentagon’s mad science arm may
have come up with its most radical project yet.
DARPA is looking
to re-write the laws of evolution to the military’s advantage,
creating “synthetic organisms” that can live forever - or can be
killed with the flick of a molecular switch.
Wired continued by reporting:
The project comes as
plans to throw $20 million into a new synthetic biology program,
and $7.5 million into “increasing by several decades the speed
with which we sequence, analyze and functionally edit cellular
Wired never directly answers the
question as to what exactly the Pentagon wants with "immortal
organisms," or what "organisms" these would even be, but mention is
made of the above cited experiments with rats involving gene
therapy, suggesting the possibility that human biological
immortality might be on the table.
The mention of "increasing by several
decades the speed with which we sequence, analyze and functionally
edit cellular genomes" would be the exact area of focus necessary
for achieving human biological immortality.
DARPA also has begun programs aimed at outsourcing research,
collecting genetic sequences created by researchers and
standardizing them into a library it can then use for whatever means
the Pentagon and its corporate-financier sponsors desire behind
Wired again reports from its "Danger
Room," this time in an article titled, "Pentagon’s
New Factory - Your DNA":
DARPA is sick and tired of waiting
around for Mother Nature. Instead, it wants to take the
life-making business into its own hands - and manufacture new
biological forms in a factory of mix-and-match bio-bits.
A recent call for research by the
Pentagon’s mad science agency proposes a new program called
“Living Foundries.” The idea is to use biology as a
manufacturing platform to “enable on-demand production of new
and high-value materials, devices and capabilities.”
In other words, let’s engineer life to make stuff we want.
The fields of bioengineering and synthetic biology have already
produced some useful, scary and flat-out bizarre entities.
Besides renewable petroleum or steel strong spider silk, there
are all sorts of potential therapeutic, industrial and
agricultural purposes for reorganized DNA.
While Wired attempts to pander to "geek
culture," making DARPA sound "hip" and "cool," in reality one can
scarcely imagine more dangerous hands such technology could be in,
or what absolute folly it would be for researchers to work on, and
then turn into the Pentagon the building blocks for such an
incredibly powerful set of genetic and synthetic biological tools.
dangers of the so-called "DARPA vacuum" have already been warned
against in great detail.
It is clear that DARPA, the Pentagon, and the corporate-financier
interests that direct both, are incredibly interested in harnessing
the power of synthetic biology. Like the Internet, these interests
can be kept in check if the population is educated and technically
competent enough to ensure no one power gains an overwhelming
monopoly over such technology.
Already, with the advent of
the increasing popularity of
MIT's iGEM competition, it appears that
the opportunity for monopolizing the field of genetics and synthetic
biology is already slipping away.
But what if the population was convinced to pursue a philosophy that
blinded people to the potential advances we stand to achieve? What
if people could be convinced to just crawl into their graves
willingly after learning to enjoy a life of increasingly limited
resources and liberties?
That is just what
the Malthusian paradigm aims at achieving in the minds of
billions around the planet - a paradigm that literally seeks to burn
the bridges behind the global elite as they achieve biological
immortality and resource abundance, while denying it to a condemned
and self-euthanized humanity.
From fuax-environmentalism that encourages us to do less, with less,
while leaving multinational corporations free to continue pillaging
the planet on a global scale, to the human-hating population control
polices encouraged by Western governments and even across the United
Nations, humanity is being encouraged to whither and die as a
"solution" to a series of manufactured, fabricated, and otherwise
artificial crises, both social and environmental.
If humanity falls for these tricks, it will forsake enjoying perhaps
the greatest achievements we have ever made.
The paradigm, in technological terms is
shifting in favor of both the masses and the environment, and should
we take the time to develop an understanding and interest in
liberating fields such as personal manufacturing,
genetics and synthetic biology we can not only cross the bridge
into the future together, we can ensure that it is guarded for all
time so that all others may follow.
Real solutions don't involve protests, political slogans, or
They involve small steps taken each day
by determined, and far-sighted individuals, collectively working
together for our collective best interests. Something as simple as
researching and talking about topics like synthetic biology or 3D
printing can help place these first, small steps in the right
The problems we face, created by
insidious, persistent, and patient individuals will be countered by
nothing less than patient persistent pragmatism.
If a future of resource abundance,
biological immortality, and the conquest of cancer, diabetes, and
other maladies that have plagued us for generations sounds like
something you can get behind - drop the placards, leave the polls,
switch off Fox and CNN, and spend your free time at a
local hackerspace, DIYbio lab,
or by building your own.
The future is what we make of it, and if with our own two hands we
are making nothing, we have no future.