synthetic organisms


Images I found online some time in the early 2000′s by an artist identified only as TATRO. These surreal 3D creations, described by the artist as Multireplicants, very closely approach my ideal of feral self-replicating nanotech organisms or other such forms of post-Singularity “synthetic wildlife.”

  • the catalyst: we need to protect all organics from being killed by synthetics
  • also the catalyst: we should send a bunch of synthetics to kill the organics. brilliant.

Glowing Plants Controversial (Nature)

Among the many projects attracting crowd-sourced funding on the Kickstarter website this week are a premium Kobe beef jerky, a keyboard instrument called a wheelharp and a small leafy plant that will be made to glow in the dark using synthetic-biology techniques.

The Glowing Plant project, which ends its fund-raising campaign on 7 June, seeks to engineer the thale cress Arabidopsis thaliana to emit weak, green-blue light by endowing it with genetic circuitry from fireflies. If the non-commercial project succeeds, thousands of supporters will receive seeds to plant the hardy weed wherever they wish.

The US government has no problem with this prospect, yet some experts and industry watchers are jittery. They fear that distributing the plants could set a precedent for unsupervised releases of synthetic organisms, and might foster a negative public perception of synthetic biology — an emerging experimental discipline that involves genetically engineering organisms to do useful tasks.

A glow-in-the-dark tobacco plant was first engineered by scientists in the 1980s.

hey commander shepard so listen we know you basically got turned into human pudding when you fell from orbit and crashed into Alchera but we reinforced your skin and organs with synthetic weave (pls don’t tell thane) and have reconstructed your bones to be incredibly strong (pls don’t tell joker)

Companies rush to build 'biofactories' for medicines, flavorings and fuels

By Ariana Eunjung Cha, Washington Post, October 24, 2013

For scientist Jack Newman, creating a new life-form has become as simple as this: He types out a DNA sequence on his laptop. Clicks “send.” And a few yards away in the laboratory, robotic arms mix together some compounds to produce the desired cells.

Newman’s biotech company is creating new organisms, most forms of genetically modified yeast, at the dizzying rate of more than 1,500 a day. Some convert sugar into medicines. Others create moisturizers that can be used in cosmetics. And still others make biofuel, a renewable energy source usually made from corn.

“You can now build a cell the same way you might build an app for your iPhone,” said Newman, chief science officer of Amyris.

Some believe this kind of work marks the beginning of a third industrial revolution–one based on using living systems as “bio-factories” for creating substances that are either too tricky or too expensive to grow in nature or to make with petrochemicals.

The rush to biological means of production promises to revolutionize the chemical industry and transform the economy, but it also raises questions about environmental safety and biosecurity and revives ethical debates about “playing God.” Hundreds of products are in the pipeline.

Laboratory-grown artemisinin, a key anti-malarial drug, went on sale in April with the potential to help stabilize supply issues. A vanilla flavoring that promises to be significantly cheaper than the costly extract made from beans grown in rain forests is scheduled to hit the markets in 2014.

On Wednesday, Amyris announced another milestone–a memorandum of understanding with Brazil’s largest low-cost airline, GOL Linhas Aereas, to begin using a jet fuel produced by yeast starting in 2014.

Proponents characterize bio-factories as examples of “green technology” that are sustainable and immune to fickle weather and disease. Backers say they will reshape how we use land globally, reducing the cultivation of cash crops in places where that practice hurts the environment, break our dependence on pesticides and result in the closure of countless industrial factories that pollute the air and water.

But some environmental groups are skeptical.

They compare the spread of bio-factories to the large-scale burning of coal at the turn of the 20th century–a development with implications for carbon dioxide emissions and global warming that weren’t understood until decades later.

Revenue from industrial chemicals made through synthetic biology is already as high as $1.5 billion, and it will increase at an annual rate of 15 to 25 percent for the next few years, according to an estimate by Mark Bünger, an analyst for Lux Research, a Boston-based advisory firm that focuses on emerging technologies.

Since it was founded a decade ago, Amyris has become a legend in the field that sits at the intersection of biology and engineering, creating more than 3 million organisms. Unlike traditional genetic engineering, which typically involves swapping a few genes, the scientists are building entire genomes from scratch.

The early scientific breakthroughs by the Amyris founders paved the way for dozens of other companies to do similar work. The next major product to be released is likely to be a vanilla flavoring by Evolva, a Swiss company that has laboratories in the San Francisco Bay area.

Cultivated in the remote forests of Madagascar, Mexico and the West Indies, natural vanilla is one of the world’s most revered spices. But companies that depend on the ingredient to flavor their products have long struggled with its scarcity and the volatility of its price.

Its chemically synthesized cousins, which are made from petrochemicals and paper pulp waste and are three to five times cheaper, have 99 percent of the vanilla market but have failed to match the natural version’s complexity.

Now scientists in a lab in Denmark believe they’ve created a type of vanilla flavoring produced by yeast that they say will be more satisfying to the palate and cheaper at the same time.

In Evolva’s case, much of the controversy has focused on whether the flavoring can be considered “natural.” Evolva boasts that it is, because only the substance used to produce the flavoring was genetically modified–not what people actually consume.

“From my point of view it’s fundamentally as natural as beer or bread,” said Evolva chief executive Neil Goldsmith, who is a co-founder of the company. “Neither brewer’s or baker’s yeast is identical to yeast in the wild. I’m comfortable that if beer is natural, then this is natural.”

That justification has caused an uproar among some consumer protection and environmental groups. They say that representing Evolva’s laboratory-grown flavoring as something similar to vanilla extract from an orchid plant is deceptive, and they have mounted a global campaign urging food companies to boycott the “vanilla grown in a petri dish.”

“Any ice-cream company that calls this all-natural vanilla would be committing fraud,” argues Jaydee Hanson, a senior policy analyst at the Center for Food Safety, a nonprofit public interest group based in Washington.

Jim Thomas, a researcher for the ETC Group, said there is a larger issue that applies to all organisms produced by synthetic biology techniques: What if they are accidentally released and evolve to have harmful characteristics?

“There is no regulatory structure or even protocols for assessing the safety of synthetic organisms in the environment,” Thomas said.

Then there’s the potential economic impact. What about the hundreds of thousands of small farmers who produce these crops now?

Artemisinin is farmed by an estimated 100,000 people in Kenya, Tanzania, Vietnam and China and the vanilla plant by 200,000 in Madagascar, Mexico and beyond.

Biotech executives say they are sympathetic, but that it is the price of progress.

Confession:  I don’t think the ‘Starchild’ Intelligence that controlled the Reapers was actually a true AI. Any True AI, capable of going beyond its programming and learning, would have realized the gaping absurdities in the way it was trying to ‘solve’ the problem of Synthetic and Organic conflict. Honestly, the intelligence strikes me as a malfunctioning (if advanced) VI stuck in an endlessly recursive loop.

filthy-rat  asked:

McCree showing his chubby/plus size S/O just how much he missed them after being gone for so long

//guess what this turned into a stupid drabble instead of headcanons, help; this is also fulfilling an ask asking for McCree reunion fluff so here we, here we, here we fucking go.

Recall had happened. It had reached you in the middle of the night, waking you from your sleep with the high-pitched ringing contrasting with the gruff tones of Winston calling you all back to Gibraltar. You hadn’t answered. You’d listened. And waited.

Slowly but surely, people began to confirm their return, first a trickle of agents, and then a flood, but still you remained at home, watching your inbox fill up with questions. When are you coming? Who are you bringing? How long will you be? You shut off the holoscreen. You knew exactly what you were waiting for - or rather, who - but you refused to admit it to yourself, let alone any of the other agents.

Days melted into nights which thawed back into days, almost a month passed. The messages slowed, and then stopped coming, until one day when you opened your eyes finally to the incessant ringing of your phone. You flinch when you answer, Lena’s endlessly chirpy voice screeching down the line at you.

“He’s here, and he’s asking for you. I know why you’re not here yet, you plonker, and now he’s showed up so get your arse down here.”

“Tracer, buddy, I-”

Shush, I’ve already got your transport sorted. He seems to think we’re hiding you somewhere. God, how long’s it been? And hes still into you? You should be excited! C’mon!”

The travel seems to pass quicker than a blink and simultaneously take forever, Lena’s words twisting in your gut like a knife; he was asking for you. For you. Not about you. Not some passing thing to small talk about, but a tangible thing that he could ask for.

You suppose you shouldn’t have been surprised, really, to see Jesse McCree himself barrelling down the runway towards you as you step off the dropship. Gone for now is the cowboy garb, he looks fresh off the training field in grey sweatpants and a t-shirt a size too small so that it clings. There’s a fine sheen of sweat on his skin, and a dark patch of it across his chest, and even now all these years on you know that if you bury your face in that chest he’ll smell of cheap whiskey and cigar smoke and sharp cologne and sex.

You don’t have to think that for long though because then he’s there and he’s lifting you as though you weigh nothing, hands sinking slightly into the softness of your waist, and he laughs breathlessly as he spins you. You’re buried in that chest then and his arms are around you, one cold and hard which makes you jerk back in surprise and grab at the offending hand. It’s metal, oh god, Jesse-

“What did you do?!”

“Had t’ get rid a’ that old Deadlock tattoo somehow, didn’t I?” His voice is a drawl, seemingly always growled out around that cigar even when it’s not clamped between his teeth, and tears spring unbidden to your eyes at the sound. His human hand is tracing you; the swell of your hips, the little dip at your waist, around rounded wrists and across chubby cheeks that blush in the wake of his fingertips. It’s like he’s memorised you and is just solidifying the image in front of him, checking you’re real. You see his Adam’s apple bob as his breath catches and fling yourself back towards him, almost knocking him over with your enthusiasm, making him go ‘whoa there’ and making you giggle.

“Fuck, I missed you.”

The sentiment is dragged almost unwillingly from your lips, and it hangs in the air between you for a moment as he pulls back to look down at you, wolfish grin between the shaggy stripes of his new beard. You like it, this mountain man look.

“I missed you too, pumpkin. Hand me those bags, can’t have a lady carryin’ her own luggage now, can I?”

He carries the luggage to his room in the Watchpoint, explaining that yours isn’t ready yet, and you sit awkwardly, nervously, on the edge of his narrow bed as though you hadn’t been in it years ago with the cowboy, rutting away at each other like you were in heat. You flush again at the memory and privately store it away for later. You barely notice when he kneels down in front of you, only rejoining the waking world when he takes your hands in both of his, presses a kiss to each one and blinks up at you hopefully, like a puppy.

“Hope that wasn’t too presumptive of me, I just-” He grins lopsidedly, a flush of his own creeping up his weathered face. You long to trace every new scar and wrinkle with your fingertips, with your lips and teeth and tongue. “I dunno if you wanna start again, or pick up from where we left off, or neither, bu-” 

You surprise the both of you by leaning down and silencing him with a kiss. His arms encircle you, pressing into your flesh, and he groans against your lips, making you part from his gently. His hands come back to your front, gently pulling at your shirt, and you help him get rid of it. His mouth is suddenly everywhere, pressing kisses across the heaving domes of your breasts, leaving traces of beard burn and teeth marks across any blemish he can find, stretch marks or scars or anywhere he remembers your didn’t like. He sweeps across your stomach with fiery intent, bolder now that you had made the first move and both his hands, organic and synthetic, part your thighs as it finally twigs what he’s going to do.

He looks up at you, as though he can see the gears in your head grind to a halt on the answer, and teasingly drops a kiss full of a rasp of beard and teeth against your clothed thigh.

“Now, how about we get these off and I’ll show you how much I really missed ya?”


Fandom: Overwatch
Pairing; Genyatta (established, post Overwatch Recall)
Rating: G/PG
Summary: A long overnight mission in King’s Row leaves Genji and Zenyatta with just enough time to seek one another’s company.

A little bit of self indulgence writing, and a notable lack of genyatta cuddling when taking a dive into the tag–I’m here to fix that! Also a bit of a writing exercise for me, I’m out of practice; enjoy, nonetheless! there’s pg butt touches, it was a request and i dont shrink from a challenge

It had been an achingly long night.

Overwatch’s latest over-night mission had stretched from the last moments of dusk to the early moments of dawn, a live wire of tension drawn over their communicators as stocked payloads shuffled in and out of the city in the dead of night. 

Zenyatta’s patience was infinite, the work long worth the wait–he could never lose patience in an effort to safely relocate his damaged brothers and sisters outside King’s Row. 

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One Foot Out of the Grave (Part 6)

Read Part 5 

Pairing: Pietro x Reader, Tony x Daughter!Reader

Warnings: Language, sexual situation, a dash of angst

Words: 1,938

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Sometimes I think about Miranda Lawson finding a second family in the crew of the Normandy SR-2 and my heart hurts.

I think about her getting an eccentric uncle in Mordin, who’ll sometimes overshare and give really embarrassing advice when being asked about relationships and sex. 

I think about her getting a cool aunt in Samara that she looks up to and who teaches her ways to use her biotics more efficiently. Who might even have taught her how to Reave while on the run after the Collector Base was dealt with.

I think about her getting an easily excitable little brother in Grunt, who keeps running into the thick of everything and screams in delight as he crushes his enemies underneath his feet. Sometimes I imagine her having to apply medi-gel on his wounds after a particularly tough fight with his grumbling acquiesce.

I think about her getting a somewhat tempestuous sibling rivalry with Jack, competing with each other about who’s the stronger biotic by trying to one up each other on who can make the bigger biotic explosion. (Look, I know biotic explosions weren’t as big a thing in the second game, but I really like this idea okay? Let me live.

I think about her getting a brother in Garrus, the two of them sitting down and sharing stories about leading a fire team in dangerous situations and getting them all out alive. Sometimes they’ll talk shop about ways to apply Overload on the field, on synthetic and organic enemies alike.

I think about her getting a cousin in Tali, talking about whether it’s better to turn Geth against their own, or just destroy them outright. And whether they should be destroyed fast or hacked to turn against their own before getting rid of the platform. Maybe she’d ask Tali how the drive core is and inadvertently end up listening to Tali wax on about what a beautiful thing Cerberus made it in the recreation of the SR-1.

I think about her making her own rounds in the ship, talking to each and every crew member that she deems needs her attention and slowly gaining their respect, if not trust. She takes her position as Shepard’s XO seriously, and that kind of dedication can’t be dismissed so easily when she makes a point of fulfilling what she considers her role in the crew. Even when half of them still distrust her, with one having made her animosity very clear by way of a chair biotically thrown at her face.

Even with that, the crew still treated her better than her real family had. She may not say it out loud, but I’m sure she considers them her found family and closer than her own blood.

With the introduction of Moira, and the discussions and scandal a lot of people (especially those who want Reyes to be an in depth complex character with motivations besides being an evil wicked meaner all along) feel right now in the fandom, I’d like to take just a moment to add my two (or perhaps even five) cents to the conversation.

What we know:

1. The SEP program tampered with the DNA of participants, of which Gabriel Reyes was a pretty early test subject

2. A terrorist known as reaper has been active for decades

3. Blackwatch has been around for a long while, likely just as long as Overwatch (post crisis), and are known for their less than ethically clean tactics that are often needed to keep Overwatch afloat and pretty in the public eye

4. Gabriel Reyes recruited Dr Moira O.Deorain into blackwatch to advise him on matters of genetics that he had a prior interest in

5. Gabriel Reyes feels fear knowing that his body is smoking (and not just because he’s a damn beautiful human hoo boy)

6. Chu confirmed that Moira has a connection to Reaper’s genetics “How can I take this and make it better”; she has both lifesteal and teleportation powers, and he teleportation seems far more refined than reaper’s

 Under the cut because this shit got long

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Genji Cybernization Speculation


For a fanfiction I’m currently working on, I’m developing a theory on a certain subject currently shrouded in mystery in the Overwatch lore: What the living fuck did Hanzo do to Genji to warrant cybernization, and how did Mercy save his life?

For this post I will be using pictures as references. Sorry for the mediocre image quality!! Here’s a link to the original quality images: 

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Confession:  I just got the craziest idea. The Jardaan created the angara to be able to interface with the vaults and monoliths, but the scourge disrupted everything. Organics interfacing with synthetics. The Firefighter’s quest line brought up Project Overlord. SAM is fully integrated into Ryder’s physiology. What if the Jardaan are basically what the synthesis ending from me3 would’ve created: a synthetic/organic hybrid species? All of their tech is black and GREEN. The synthesis ending was green!