Saturday, April 01, 2006

Here be dragons


Here be dragons

Mar 30th 2006 | SAN MELITO
From The Economist print edition

With luck, you may soon be able to buy a mythological pet

PAOLO FRIL, chairman and chief scientific officer of GeneDupe, based in San Melito, California, is a man with a dream. That dream is a dragon in every home.

GeneDupe's business is biotech pets. Not for Dr Fril, though, the mundane cloning of dead moggies and pooches. He plans a range of entirely new animals—or, rather, of really quite old animals, with the twist that even when they did exist, it was only in the imagination.

Making a mythical creature real is not easy. But GeneDupe's team of biologists and computer scientists reckon they are equal to the task. Their secret is a new field, which they call “virtual cell biology”.

Biology and computing have a lot in common, since both are about processing information—in one case electronic; in the other, biochemical. Virtual cell biology aspires to make a software model of a cell that is accurate in every biochemical detail. That is possible because all animal cells use the same parts list—mitochondria for energy processing, the endoplasmic reticulum for making proteins, Golgi body for protein assembly, and so on.


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" may soon be able to buy a mythological pet"

Uhmmm.... I guess you haven't been to the 8th level subbasement of the HRL recently. They are not very domesticated yet and they didn't interact well with the Roswell alien DNA. Remember that missing summer intern from last year.....?
With any luck they have a nuke to sterilize the area like in "The Andromeda Strain." Remember - the opening scene was "Moonrise over Hernandez."
I have heard from several sources that Human Resources (HR Division) at the Lab is planning to implement the exact value of pi (i.e., 22/7) in all their software by the end of the month. This will eliminate many of the discrepancies that occur in processing retirement for those that have elected the lump sum rather than the pension.
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