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Synthetic Life (Terra Futura)

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Synthetic Life was a concept in which life was created with a genome that was man-made. This led to new life.

(Note: The background section of this page uses most of the same words as the Jurassic Park page of Terra Futura to save time.)

Background

The secret to replacing organs was with stem cells. Stem cells were the mother of all cells. They could become any cell in the body. Each cell had the complete genetic code of the entire body inside it. There was a problem. As cells matured, they would turn off certain genes and become a certain cell. Embryonic stem cells could still turn into any cell. There was a problem with that, too. Embryonic stem cells were controversial. An embryo had to be sacrificed in order to get the stem cells. The solution was Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells. This worked by turning stem cells into embryonic stem cells. To avoid cancer, one of the genes used in the process had to be eliminated before the stem cell was transplanted. After that was achieved, IPS cells were used to cure many diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Parkinson's, Huntington's, etc. Soon, they would be used to grow organs.

In July 2011, the first transplant of a cloned organ occurred. A 36-year old man suffering from cancer in the trachea received a new trachea. This used a nanotech scaffold made of flexible polymer that was then covered in stem cells. The transplant was a success. There was no chance of rejection. Transplants became far quicker and more accessible. There was no need for a human donor in the simplest of organ transplants. As the decade continued, more complex organs were created in the same way. By 2020, scientists finally discovered how every part of the heart worked. This eliminated the need for external donors. The new heart would be a genetic match to the old, like a clone. Transplants were now even more successful. Other complex organs were also being cloned like the lungs, the liver, the kidneys, the spleen, the stomach, the pancreas, and even the entire reproductive system. The cost of healthcare was reduced. Internal organ became a thing of the past. Not only that, but new cryoprotectants were made to protect organs from ice crystal damage. By 2030, it was possible to create full clones.

In 1997, a scientist by the name of Ian Wilmut created the first clone of a mammal: Dolly the Sheep. The experiment was so successful that since then clones of other mammals such as mice, goats, cats, pigs, dogs, horses, and even cattle. Animal husbandry was revolutionized as perfect livestock was being created. However, the implications for humans were not clear at first. This was controversial and opposed by the Roman Catholic Church. When scientists started cloning primates in the 2020s, the arguments really started. Then, along came World War III in 2040. The United States started experimenting on the idea of a clone army. Inspired by Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, the project aptly named Project Kamino. At the beginning of World War III, the first human clones were created. As time went on, growth acceleration was perfected. Some of the clones became supersoldiers. After World War III ended in 2055, the technology used in creating the clone army entered the mainstream. After a few advances, this led to the creation of designer babies.

By the 2050s, wealthy people had the option of creating "perfect" babies. Like in the movie Gattaca, the egg of the mother would be fertilized by the sperm of the father. Genetic disorders would then be eliminated. The couple could then pick the best hereditary traits. Gender, height, skin color, hair color, eye color, etc. could then be programmed into the embryo which was then grown in an artificial uterus. The couple could enhance physical and mental abilities in their baby. Many religious groups were angered at what they saw as the commercialization of the human body. Despite that, the technology was there and would eventually reach the lower classes.  The technology was not only being used for humans. Extinct life-forms were coming back.

In 2015, the DNA of a woolly mammoth was implanted into an African elephant's egg cell. A baby woolly mammoth was soon born. It was a male. Previous attempts to clone a woolly mammoth had failed because the DNA was damaged by ice crystals. By now, scientists had worked their way around that problem. The news spread around the world. A Jewish scientist said that he "was amazed that one of G-d's creations was resurrected." By 2030, mammoths were appearing in a number of zoos and private collections. Other extinct lifeforms were being resurrected, too. These included Smilodon and Megatherium. However, it was thought that resurrecting dinosaurs was beyond human technology. What they did not count on was the fact that insect amber preserved dinosaur tissue inside the fossilized insects. During the mid-21st century, scientists successfully cloned different extinct animals from amber-preserved DNA. These included Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops. By the late 21st century, the oldest resurrected species was Meganeura which needed an enclosed space to survive. However, the technology has also brought some problems with it. Although many species of animals were successfully integrated into the current environment, some were far to dangerous to put into nature. The most dangerous predators, including the T-Rex, were put on islands without human settlements, and special fences and walls had to be build to prevent them from destroying things. Not only was this technology being used to resurrect extinct lifeforms, but it was also being used to create new lifeforms.

Description

Tech Level: 10-12

In 2010, scientist J. Craig Venter created the first synthetic lifeform: Mycoplasma laboratorium. It was a species of bacteria with a man-made genetic code. In the years that followed, new organisms were created. Some could create vaccines and medicines. Others produced biofuels and similarly useful products. As the decades passed, larger and more complex lifeforms were being created. Animals could be created that had customizable features. Plants could be created that turned into furniture or building components. New species were created. By 2056, it was even possible to create synthetic humans. This was controversial. China became the first country to create synthetic humans. By the late 21st century, the technology was perfected. As it turned out, there was fear that synthetic humans would be discriminated against. So the nations of Earth passed laws to ban all forms of discrimination.

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