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Is genetic engineering advanced enough for me to reenact the movie ALIEN? Answered

Well, I love the ALIEN franchise (but AVP was horrible), and I want an alien as a pet.

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cdubnbirdBest Answer (author)2009-05-01

well i don't know about you guys but i say yes. i haven't seen aliens in a while so i don't remember much of it but i've already created glowing organisms and cloned stuff and i'm a junior in high school. it's absolutely possible- and easy to make a transgenic organism (transgenic-you changed it's genome) as i have already done this. what type of transgenic organism are you talking about? you should elaborate more. animal cells can be made transgenic using microinjection while plants can be made transgenic using ballistic insertion and bacterial cells can be made transgenic using transformative techniques. now..which one of these does alien fall under?

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Squoobmonger (author)cdubnbird2009-05-05

Well, since it's an animal, microinjection would probably be best, but it would need a few gaps in the DNA for the whole "adaptive organism" thing.

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robotguy4 (author)2009-05-01

Heck no. And I would suggest investing in a puppy, as they probably never will exist. I have heard that the xenomorphs from the movie have some biological impossibilities. Here's what I remember: It is very unlikely (e.g. CLOSE to impossible) for an alien to be able to breed with another species from another planet (like humans). The human's immune system would probably be able to combat the parasite to a certain degree as well. Even if it were possible to genetically create a xenomorph it would be HIGHLY illegal. A blood thirsty biological weapon that has been known to infect entire worlds, commit genocide on a planetary scale, all while incorporating the host's DNA into its system? Yup, definitely illegal.

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wrong!! (author)robotguy42012-08-03

Don't they breed by the facehugger injects an entire egg into... Was it the stomach? So it seems like the immune system could have trouble getting rid of an entire egg.

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robotguy4 (author)robotguy42009-05-01

Not only that, but the human scientists in the movie really didn't have much success with cloning these things. Thats supposed to be 200 years from now...

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AndyGadget (author)2009-05-02

I think we're at the stage of genetic engineering which we were in computing 25 years ago. If genetics follows the same pattern (consider Moore's observation) you'll probably be able to buy yourself a "Design And Grow Your Own Pet Monster" kit from Walmart in your lifetime.

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Squoobmonger (author)AndyGadget2009-05-05

You know, the Moore Observation always gets me thinking about Terminator for some reason. Hopefully, computers won't be advanced enough by then. But if they are, at least I have a bloodthirsty pet to put me out of my misery.

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robotguy4 (author)Squoobmonger2009-05-05

Well, lets just hope that Microsoft designs the killer robots... I believe that most (good) Microsoft products follow a curve where the more awesome it looks on paper, the more likely it will have some flaw. Since robots are high on the curve, they probably will be up there with the X-Box 360's red ring of death, meaning that they would (hopefully) blue screen... Oh ****, I don't want to start a flame war! I have to balance the argument! If Apple designed the robots, they wouldn't have arms, as arms are considered aesthetically unappealing. If the robots were Linux, then... Well... Who the hell uses Linux? (just kidding!)

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Squoobmonger (author)robotguy42009-05-07

Well, what about AlienWare? They make real good computers, I bet they could make robots.

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AndyGadget (author)Squoobmonger2009-05-05

ALIEN v TERMINATOR - Have they made that one yet?

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Squoobmonger (author)AndyGadget2009-05-07

I hope they don't, because it would ruin the franchises.

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AndyGadget (author)AndyGadget2009-05-02

Of course, your lifetime may come to a rather abrupt end if you actually re-create the Alien monster.

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AndyGadget (author)2009-05-01

For the next best thing, take some close-up video of dragonfly larvae. See the video linked at the bottom.
(OK, maybe not quite the next best thing ;¬)

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robotguy4 (author)AndyGadget2009-05-01

You know... They could probably genetically engineer these to glow in the dark... That would be freaky!

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Actually, the puppy is engineered to glow under black light (fluoresce), not glow in the dark (phosphoresce).

But yes, as cdubnbird pointed out, it is disturbingly easy to genetically transform bacteria using a kit and some simple materials. I saw a room full of college undergrads who had no clue what they were doing engineer some fluorescent green E. coli in just a couple lab periods.

Phosphorescence genes are often put into organisms to check how their metabolisms respond to different conditions. For example, a tobacco plant was engineered with firefly genes to study its "sleep/wake" cycle.

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Ok, that's nice, but... what would I need for a xenomorph?

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robotguy4 (author)Squoobmonger2009-05-07

No clue. Probably about $1 million worth of lab equipment would do it and a PhD in bioengineering with scores of interns at your disposal (literally). Or at least, that would help...

As I said, try doing some of your own research. I'm finding zip (other than one article from '08. Try the links below). It might be a field of research you would be interested in following in the long term future. Sci-fi (or Syfy, as the networks call it) has fueled scientific thought (and vice versa).

Heck, if you were to pull this off, you would get a Nobel Prize... Or at least land a grant with the US Military...

The problem is actually FIGURING OUT HOW TO DO IT. NO ONE KNOWS YET (that is, how to make a Xenomorph. Genetic engineering has been done, but not on that scale... At least... Not released publicly). Much less in a garage (though, I have to agree with you, that would be cool), at least, not likely. Heck, one of the driving force of the world was developed in a garage!

Although, I know that you can map your genome at home... They had that in a edition of MAKEzine, however, that won't help you here.

If you want a starter, check this article on How Stuff Works about genetic engineering. If you glean something from that, but need materials, ask. I'm sure someone would know of a supplier (I only know of one place that sells things like this... Well... Off the top of my head.)

However, a warning: If you want a project you can do in 15 minutes using spare pocket change to get a freaking H.R. Giger inspired, acidic-blood spewing, chestbursting, cat scaring killing machine, you're definitely out of luck. Its not going to happen today. Maybe in 10 years (maybe sooner. I don't want to look stupid). If thats what you are looking for, buy a puppy and dress it up as a xenomorph instead. That is much simpler, cheaper (and less life threatening. And legal... I'm pretty sure making creatures that can be classified as biological weapons is high on the NSA's watch list...) and won't consume a whole lot of time (there are a lot of people here who know how to sew. Very few who know how to splice genes in a sink.)

Good luck! Thats enough from me!

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Wait... Yep, you're right. My bad. There are organisms that do have bioluminescence, but not those puppies.

It is also frighteningly easy to make antibiotic resistant bacteria. Just keep adding new antibiotics to the surviving bacteria!

There is one thing: you are talking about E. coli. E COLI. Not a dog, not an alien, a highly adaptive bacteria.
According to Wikipedia:
A study published in the journal Science in August 2007 found that the rate of adaptative mutations in E. coli is "on the order of 10–5 per genome per generation, which is 1,000 times as high as previous estimates," a finding which may have significance for the study and management of bacterial antibiotic resistance.

According to what I heard, that's like having a field of horses, who happily much grass. Once all the grass is gone, one horse adapts into a Bengal tiger and eats all the other horses, then, after eating all the horses and grass, evolves wings to fly away and then, once finding more grass, evolves back into a horse and munches grass. Horses don't actually do that.

Sure, Squoobmonger can easily genetically engineer bacteria, but multicellular organisms (plants, animals, xenomorphs) are much, MUCH more difficult. It would require the use of swapping genes (using viruses, I believe) and other stuff I do not believe is within Squoobmonger's (or anyone here, by themselves at least) scope of technical ability.

However, don't let that discourage you, Squoob. Do some research, learn a bit about how it is done, and try to do it yourself. Then post an Instructable (if you survive).

In the mean time, please get a puppy. Or a snake. Or Komodo dragon.

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KentsOkay (author)2009-05-01

Nope. Genetic engineering is far more complicated then sci-fi would have you believe.

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NobodyInParticular (author)2009-05-01

I think your best bet would be to find a sufficiently-creepy insect to keep. A venomous insect keepers' forum might be a good place to start.

Insects in the praying mantis family are rather intelligent-looking (though of course they are not really any more intelligent than, say, a wasp).

For disturbing onlookers as much as possible, I would recommend a large house centipede. They seem to combine the speed of a roach, the sinuous movement of a snake, and the many-legged goodness of a spider. (They also have oddly good vision for a centipede.)

As for larger animals, I would not be surprised if there were organizations that specialize in finding homes for dogs and cats that are mutated or just seriously ugly.

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Kiteman (author)2009-05-01