Many real hard-nosed scientists have already begun betting on the fact, that the first human to live to the age of 200, is already alive today.
But could genetic engineering help the rest of us get there too?
Scientists are creating all sorts of new technologies that push the boundry of what we recognize as quote unquote “nature”.
Kai meeras, organisms made from fusing em breeos, Splices, interspecies hybrids made from gene editing, and Re Ants, the idea of humans delivering those genes into ourselves.
These definitely sound interesting, but can they really help us extend our lifespans?
Well, human organs grown in Kai meeras might give you the extra years you need.
A Kai meera is an animal child, made by merging 2 different zygotes.
If one of those zygotes are human, it could allow them to grow new body parts for us.
Formally, kai meeras are defined as organisms that contain the genetic information of more than one individual, made by fusing their cells from birth.
Thus, If you merge a sheep zygote and a goat zygote in the very early stages of embryonic development, you will create a Kai meera with the physiology of both animals.
This can include patches of wool scattered around patches of goat fur.
But kai meeras may also happen by accident in humans too.
A human kai meera is just a person with 2 genetic codes at the same time, with non-identical fraternal twins fusing in the womb to make one baby.
This means you could be born with both types of genitals, or one ovary and one testicle, each with different genetic information in them.
You could be your own brother, your own sister, or both at the same time.
You may have heard the word kai meera used before in greek mythology, given to a 2 headed creature that contained appendages of both a goat and a lion.
You may have also heard the term in the popular animay, Full Metal Alchemist.
And just like the half girl half dog, they can get a little creepy.
More importantly, if the embryos of a kai meera are combined in the right way, you can end up with one species that looks perfectly normal, but contains the organs of another species.
A 20 17 paper published in the journal nature, involved a team of re searchers genetically engineering a rat kai meera, to grow a mouse’s pancreas.
The scientists then harvested cells from that pancreas, and successfully used them to suppress die a bee tease in mice, despite the cells being grown inside a rat.
The pancreatic cells contained only mouse cells with no rat cells and allowed the mice to start producing insulin again, treating their die a bee tease.
They were made by injecting rat stem cells into genetically modified mouse embryos in a way that none of the rat stem cells would form pancreatic tissue.
So the kai meera was a rat mouse hybrid, but with purely mouse organs, which could then be transplanted into mice.
This same team also made the first rat-mouse hybrids back in 20 10, which were the first man-made kai meeras to be grown from embryos and actually survive.
The pancreas is one of the simplest organs, so it’s not the same as growing a heart or lung, but the rat studies do prove that transplants from kai meeras can actually work.
We are already trying to grow human hearts inside pigs, so you can see how the applications of kai meeras could be useful.
The earliest form of this concept was explored in the famous novel, the island of Doctor Morrow, by sci fi writer H G Wells.
It is the story of a mad scientist who creates animals with human traits, and we are now doing the same, using farm animals as bioreactors, to grow genetically identical backup organs for ourselves.
A 20 17 paper published in the journal cell, demonstrated a procedure for genetically engineering a pig embryo to grow human cells.
The researchers created human-pig kai meeras by injecting people’s stem cells into pig embryos, then implanted them into female pigs for 3 to 4 weeks.
The fetuses were then euthenized and analyzed to find developing human tissues sprinkled inside the pig organs.
Since humans and pigs have much less genes in common than rats and mice, growing the human organs in pigs is much more difficult.
Especially since pig fetuses develop in 16 weeks but human ones take 40 weeks, meaning the human organs don’t have time to grow, survive, and integrate into the pig.
While this is nowhere close to creating a functioning human heart inside a pig, it still shows that we are one step closer to mass organ farms that will reduce transplant wait lists.
Today, organs used in transplants can only come from human donors, but hearts and lungs can only be donated when someone dies.
The researchers believe the process can be improved, so that the pig embryos are rigged to not include pig cells, in the human organs we are trying to grow.
Another solution is to grow the human organs in a closer genetic relative, like a chimpanzee, where the human organs will have time to develop.
But mass organ farming chimpanzees or any other pry mate is definitely illegal.
Chimps are so close to humans, that there would be ethical objections to the idea of breeding millions of them, only to be slaughtered to replace a drunk man’s liver.
There is also controversy in the idea that a human-chimp kai meera could end up with even more human organs, like a human brain, trapped in a chimpanzee’s body.
If we create chimps as intelligent as humans, would they be considered people?
We are a long way from getting the legal green light to do anything like that, but other kinds of half-chimp half-human creatures have already been attempted in the past.
A Soviet scientist named Ill Eeya Ivan off wanted to create human super soldiers, by trying to impregnate human women with ape semen, and implant his own semen into female chimpanzees.
He was eventually exiled to Kaz Zack stan in 19 30.
Oddly enough, not for his experiments, but because he wasn’t communist enough.
Had he succeeded, these creatures would not have been kai meeras, but something else.
This brings us to Splices, which like kai meeras, are also no longer science fiction, and might be able to grow medicine for us.
As well as other bonuses, like industrial materials.
Splices are interspecies hybrids, artificially modified with either human or animal genes.
But make no mistake, interspecies hybrids already exist in nature.
Not long ago, we found the first wild Grolar Bear ever to be documented.
A hybrid of a polar bear and a grizzly bear, 2 species which might sound similar but are very different in facial features, behavior, and evolutionary history.
We ho mo say pee ens ourselves, are also interspecies hybrids.
Europeans are thought to be human knee ander tall hybrids, East Asians are human Denisova hybrids, and Africans are human homo heidelberg ensis hybrids.
Ho Mo Knee ander tallensus and ho mo Denisova died out about 40 thousand years ago.
And homo heidelberg ensis died many years before them.
So these extinct species are no longer with us, but they live on inside us.
Now we artificially breed hybrids of our own, like the Liger, which has stripes as vivid as tigers but also keeps the lion’s mane.
We’ve also crossed jaguars and leopards with lions, to get Jaglions and Leopons, which almost look like strange household pets, with thin mains and faded spots.
The names are like that because the convention for hybrid nomenclature. involves putting the father’s name first and the mother’s second.
Take for instance, the Beefalo, a male cow crossed with a female bison, which makes for an interesting burger.
Or the Cama, a male camel bred with a female lama to create a creature that produces more wool for farmers.
They are commercially successful because, unlike other hybrids, they aren’t sterile, meaning you could breed them and can scale them up for industrial wool farming.
This kind of genetic engineering has existed for thousands of years, ever since we created the first mule, crossing a donkey with a horse.
While these are all very interesting, biotechnology has now gotten to the next stage, where we can splice individual genes from many different animals to create an even more custom hybrid.
The most well known Splice is the Spidergoat, a goat that makes spider proteins in it’s milk.
The Spidergoat was invented by doctor Randy Lewis of Utah State University, who was looking to farm the spiderwebs of the Golden Orb Weaver Spider, which spins a special silk called dragline silk..
The material is more powerful than Kevlar, yet more elastic than nylon.
It is a miracle material that is 100 times stronger than human ligaments, yet light as a feather.
But Doctor Lewis realized that material is so complex that not even synthetic chemists can make it in a lab, so he tried to mass produce the product by farming the spiders.
Unfortunately, the golden orb weaver Spider was highly cannibalistic, so if you created a spider ranch, they’d all just kill each other.
This led Doctor Lewis to engineer the Spider goat, which would allow scientists to farm and study the potentiality of the silk.
Spidergoat was created by taking the 6 different genes responsible for the silk and splicing them into fertilized goat eggs, creating hybrids that would make the product more easily attainable.
The goats have every gene a goat should have, but also produce the silk proteins in their milk.
Whenever the spider genes are transcribed, the product mixes with the goat milk, which can be filtered and purified to get the silk proteins.
Those silk proteins can then be weaved into a fiber because the fragmented pieces easily lock back together into a strand, which can then be rolled into one continuous thread.
That thread can then be weaved into the finest bullet proof vests and industrial compounds.
Since the strings of spider silk also have a harmless biochemical response in the body, they can also be used in endless medical applications, as well as things like ligament repair.
We could also use splices to commercially grow pharmaceutical proteins for us, they might even lead to the development of new drugs for the aging process.
The fact that these proteins could be mass produced is even more exciting.
From one milking alone, the researchers usually get about 35 miles of spider-goat silk after being processed in the lab.
Some say doctor Lewis is a mad scientist playing god, others see him as a pioneer no different from our ancient ancestors who crossed horses with donkeys to get mules.
But if anything, this experiment proves that genes can be spliced from one species to another.
If we wanted, these spider genes could even be spliced into human D N A, so we can produce the proteins too.
Although perhaps, not quite in the same fashion that spiderman shoots his webs.
While some might find it revolutionary and useful, to others it evokes ethical horrors, such as those found in the sci fi film, “Splice”.
Where Adrian Bro D plays a molecular biologist who ends up injecting human genes into an animal, in an attempt to create human animal hybrids.
To his unfortunate surprise, it develops sentience and carnivorous tendencies, as well as the strength of multiple men.
Mythical creatures like the Mino Tar, the Sentar, The Sphinx, and the Mermaid, may be the stuff of legend, but hybrid engineering has now opened a pandora’s box where these creatures might no longer be mythical.
We are already engineering hybrid creatures that don’t even exist in nature, so it’s not hard to imagine private Zoos, that will eventually fine Ance the creation of these mythical creatures, hoping to make a profit, off of children eager to see creatures like unicorns.
Perhaps in the future, you might one day visit the Jurassic park for mythical creatures, where you could see Pegasus, Griffins, and even dragons.
But let’s just hope it doesn’t end the same way Jurassic Park did.
But why stop at breeding splices, what if we could become hybrids too?
What if we could add these genes into ourselves too, to become stronger and healthier?
Extending our own lifespans with the best genes nature has to offer, regardless of which species they come from.
This brings us to the concept of the Re Ant.
The term “Re Ant” is derived from the Greek word “therianthropy”, the act of shapeshifting into animals.
The term describes a person that has technologically altered their body, to express physical, mental, and social traits usually found in other naturally evolved species.
The Tranz humanist community usually describes Re ants as the inverse of Splices, splices being modified animals and Re ants being modified humans.
Splices being livestock created for practical purposes, while Re ants are people who willingly take genetic implants.
And unlike Kai meeras, neither of these are not a 50 50 split of the genome, Re ants could be a combination of thousands of species.
Our grand children could one day have the eyesight of an eagle, the strength of a gorilla, the palms of a gecko, the olfactory senses of a dog, or the Ultraviolet vision of a bee.
We ourselves could become the mythological Angels, once only restricted to the bible.
It might even lead to even more genetic diversity, with the human race fracturing into thousands of so called “Clades” or genetic tribes.
Countless future races of superhumans, with the brainpower of a person, but the physical prowess of an animal.
As incredible as it sounds, the very concept of a Re ant implies that life itself has become a programmable machine and that our genes have become customizable.
The Re ant may even be the next stage of humanity’s evolution, where we give our offspring the finest genetic traits until they become the best possible hybrids nature will allow.
A world where babies are chemically crafted in a lab may sound alien, but if it improves their lifespans and opportunities, parents will always do what’s best for their children.
Unless of course, it’s ruined by the furry fandom, like everything else they’ve ever got their hands on.
But even if it is, we could still use these technologies for commercial protein production in the bio medical industry, which would be just as revolutionary.
Overall, the genetic future of our humanity is uncertain.
Whether it means adopting organs housed in animal kai meeras, growing pharmaceuticals inside splices, or taking the genes for ourselves as Re ants, humans as we know them, may become unrecognizable.
Of course, the main benefit is what custom organs and custom genomes will have for our lifespans.
If the first 200 year old human is already alive, the only question is, “how old is that person today?”
They could be middle aged, or they could just be a teenager, but if we all live in a healthy fashion for the next few decades, I’m sure we might just be alive to benefit from the technology as well.
Hopefully we can all live long enough, to be able to take our kids to the mythical creature zoo.
And perhaps one day, these technologies might even be able to add years to our lives, faster than we’re losing them.