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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Unleashing Darwin's Radio

Darwin's radio is one of Greg Bear masterpieces.

One day, some viruses who's been sleeping for million of years inside our DNA, wakes up and causes a bout of accelerated evolution all over the world. Pity that the book, wonderfully researched and constructed, falls short to deliver a decent end, with the 'next stage' of human evolution composed of children which know how to talk since their birth (and ok), express sentiments through facial colored patches, and have two lips and two tongues, which apparently enables them to conference-call natively... urgh...

anyway, the book dwelves deeply into the subject of HERV, Human Endogen RetroViruses, and here's Carl Zimmer writing on the NY Times about how some french lads (and gals) have been able to re-create one of them and free it from our DNA, where it's been embedded since the dawn of times... they called it Phoenix, like the mytical bird which is born again from its own ashes... I apologise for falling prey of the Frankenstein complex, but et's hope we will not burn ourselves with this new technology...

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