Radiation Resistant Blood (think The 100)
  • Finn333Finn333 March 10
    So, I've been watching a lot of The 100 lately. In the latest season (no spoilers), they talk about a specific blood-based gene therapy (you know what I'm talking about if you watch the show) that gives people radiation immunity and also a plethora of other things like survivability of a specific implant (please watch the show, I'm begging you! It's great). But, lets talk about the blood, because I want to make it.  

    Firstly, the radiation resistance. I've been reading up on a study that was working on a new way to treat radiation sickness. In the study, they took a sample of e. coli and subjected it to radiation. After 99 percent of the sample died, they let the population grow back. After twenty iterations of rinse and repeat, the team created a sample of e. coli that could reverse the effects of radiation. Then, you take a sample of your blood. You then bind the e. coli to the sample and inject it into yourself. Now, you have a bigger radiation tolerance than most people.
  • So, do you have a link to this study? 
  • CathasachCathasach March 10
    I imagine there are quite a few studies that do this, but here's one.

    It's pretty trivial to do in practical terms.
  • CassoxCassox March 10
    Ok, increase the resistance of  e. Coli.. gotcha. Where do you get the conclusion that innonculating yourself will somehow grant you immunity to radiation?
  • CathasachCathasach March 10
    "Then, you take a sample of your blood. You then bind the e. coli to the sample and inject it into yourself."

    I'm not sure what part of the blood you're suppose to be binding the e coli to, but it would most likely be the 
    leukocytes, which would just break down the e coli and you'd have regular old blood after that.
  • From the abstract: 

    " In these evolved populations, passive genomic protection is not in evidence. Instead, enhanced recombinational DNA repair makes a prominent but probably not exclusive contribution to genome reconstitution."

    This points out that there isn't a barrier between the E. coli nucleus and ionizing radiation, but rather that the bacteria developed methods to fix its genome after exposure. Even if you did somehow get this into your blood without an immune response (and there will be an immune response), the E. coli would do nothing to enhance your radiation resistance. 
  • CassoxCassox March 11
    Well, we could irradiate groups of children and breed the survivors.
  • _Larry__Larry_ March 11
    @Cassox The world seems to frown on that kinda thing XD
  • There might actually be a way of using human cells to do this, but you'd have to be a lot more involved in the process than bacteria. 
  • Finn333Finn333 March 11
    Actually, you might be able to skip the e. coli and subject human leukocytes directly to the radiation, then bind them to regular leukocytes. Just a thought.
  • CassoxCassox March 11
    What do you mean by "bind?"
  • CassoxCassox March 11
    Ok, so here's how the original study worked.. irradiate a shit load of bacteria. Most will die.. the ones that don't obviously have some kind of genetic predisposition to survive. Obviously, those that survived are all that's left to breed right? Ok, so the next generation is hit with radiation.. most bacteria dies.. those with a genetic predisposition allowing them to survive breed.. rinse and repeat many many times.

    It's quite literally evolution in action. Now, most people I've noticed fail to really understand what evolution is.. an organism doesn't evolve. A species does. Bacteria divide as often as every 20 minutes so this radiation trick is cool in that we can see evolution occur because we see differences after a few hundred generations.

    Now, the leukocyte example won't wok. The reason is because leukocytes don't beget leukocytes.. no, people beget leukocytes. So what we'd have to do is irradiate a few million people heavily and breed the survivors for a few hundred generations. Why millions? Because the more organisms involved, the more likely we are to actually see a change occur. The likelihood of genetic changes occurring is actually rather low. So by selective breeding we can emphasize certain traits like long noses or whatever, but we can't expect to see any radical new traits emerge in a small population.

    I like these ideas and am not trying to shoot anything down, but we have much more realistic tools - genetic engineering. Basically, what you're talking about is figuring out how to get cells to repair their own DNA. We have cells that do that already. Sperm and Ovum. These have a mechanism by which they fix damaged DNA. Cool right? So we just need to figure out how to express this mechanism in all of our cells.. welcome to life extension research. People have already been working on this for years. In fact, Elizabeth Parish has already tried something similar. It's worth looking her up.

    But bottom line.. the way this is currently being discussed is a dead end. Interestingly though, Nonkat is going to be discussing something quite similar to this at Grindfest. Instead of the Bacteria races, we're going to be doing something much cooler.