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Unfortunately, explaining exactly what kind of engineered bacteria could be dangerous is a rather serious infohazard.

Yeah, Woodward was a real trailblazer (interestingly, my undergrad PI was one of his last students)

>For example, in 2003 the Nanoputian project successfully built a nanoscale model of a person out of organic molecules. They used cleverly chosen reaction pathways to produce the upper body, and cleverly chosen reaction pathways to produce the lower body, and then managed to pick the exact right conditions to mix them together in that would bond the two parts together

As a chemist by training, I don't think this is actually that impressive. They basically did a few Sonogashira couplings, which are rather easy reactions (I did them regularly as an undergrad).

If you want something impressive, look at the synthesis of vitamin B12:

No, but . . . you don't need "diamondoid" technology to make nano-replicators that kill everything. Highly engineered bacteria could do the trick.

They invoke the parallel to the Asilomar Conference that banned recombinant DNA research, a ban that despite the huge incentives still effectively stands to this day.

Recombinant DNA research isn't banned – I've been doing it just today, actually. However, it needs to be approved by a biosafety committee (which at my university basically OK's everything that isn't straight-up insane, although it takes a month or so to get approval).

Another example which I can't believe I overlooked: emulating a human brain vs. building an AI with an architecture better suited for computer chips

Things like this make me want to have kids :)

>the blind idiot god of moth evolution would find a way to elude my traps by pressing an alternate small button to those specific pheromones, in order to power its reproduction. This type of brute force, which grants a stupid and blind enemy the power of adaptation, can be found in battles with cancer, viruses, or pesticides

Interestingly some cockroaches have evolved to perceive sugar as bitter, due to its use as bait in traps:

>If you're paying $8k per billion reads

>This will likely go down: Illumina has recently released the more cost effective NovaSeq X, and as Illumina's patents expire there are various cheaper competitors.

Indeed it did go down. Recently I paid $13,000 for 10 billion reads (NovaSeq X, Broad Institute; this was for my meiosis project). So sequencing costs can be much lower than $8K/billion.

Illumina is planning to start offering a 25 billion read flowcell for the NovaSeq X in October; I don't know how much this will cost but I'd guess around $20,000.

ALSO: if you're trying to detect truly novel viruses, using a Kraken database made from existing viral sequences is not going to work! However, many important threats are variants of existing viruses, so those could be detected (although possibly with lower efficiency).

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