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self mutating creature

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I was recently playing star craft and it got me thinking would a life form like the Zerg be possible to replicate today or soon?

 

For those that dont know the Zerg are able to mutate their bodies to what the need by will or by absorbing DNA from other creatures, they do this in the matter of minutes without the need for offspring. for example the may mutate their exoskeleton to be resistant to heat so they could life in volcanic environments or rapidly heal wounds on their body.

 

I would say that from what I know that is seems plausible for such a creature to exist but perhaps not with abilities to the extent you see in the game. But for the creature being able to be made in a lab I don't have a clue about it.

 

Whats your thought? possible or complete nonsense? or indecisive.

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For complex multicellular organisms unlikely, at least in the way described. That being said, horizontal gene transfer is quite common and is a major force in evolution. It would not be a directed response to a stimulus though (i.e. developing heat resistance after sensing heat). Instead after acquisition of external DNA either from other organisms (e.g. via mobile genetic elements) or from the environment (i.e. via transformation) would be more or less random-ish (i.e. transfer rate is independent of phenotype) but could be selected for due to the environmental pressure.

Another analogy is the error-prone repair mechanisms of some single organisms, in which case the mutation rate is higher under stress.

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The genetic code would jsut be the beginning - an extraordinarlly complex and complicated beginning, but only that. You would also need to incorporate the expression of the code in coordination with code and expression mechanisms already present.

 

You would need some means of recapitulating embryology and developmental growth, for starters, in the multicellular organisms present on earth.

 

It would be far simpler to grow the new organism from scratch, somehow. Control of that is far beyond our current means or even theoretical understanding, but is at least conceivable now.

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I could see the ability to express wildly different phenotypes. That much could be done rapidly based on the situation.

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So the general information is saying yes but it would be immensely hard to achieve.

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So the general information is saying yes but it would be immensely hard to achieve.

Saying "It's physically impossible for x to happen" is generally a good way to be wrong. That said, I can't think of any way in which a creature could induce mutations in its own DNA at will and have those mutations rapidly express as major morphological changes to the creature.

 

Bacteria can swap DNA to gain traits from each other in some circumstances, but that's about as far as it goes. "Immensely hard to achieve" is a severe understatement. I don't know whether what you describe is physically possible. If it is, I don't think something like it is ever likely to evolve naturally. And if one did, I don't think humans could build one from scratch in a lab even with a living one to model it after.

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One problem such a creature would have would be in controlling its immune system. When someone is afflicted with an autoimmune disorder its immune system attacks its own cells. Any components of this organism's body that were synthesized from foreign or from modified DNA would most likely be attacked by its own immune system.

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One problem such a creature would have would be in controlling its immune system. When someone is afflicted with an autoimmune disorder its immune system attacks its own cells. Any components of this organism's body that were synthesized from foreign or from modified DNA would most likely be attacked by its own immune system.

And suppressing the immune response to get around this would leave it vulnerable to disease.

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