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How To Grow a Head

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the no-not-like-that dept.

Biotech 355

Taco Cowboy writes "British scientists have found a mechanism within our gene sequence that allows the growing of a new head — with brains, etc. The gene is tentatively known as smed-prep, and the information contained in smed-prep also makes the new cells appear in the right place and organise themselves into working structures."

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355 comments

Oh Sure (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#31983634)

Everyone was in favor of growing Hitler's head. But the when you grow it on the body of a great white shark -- ooh, suddenly you've gone too far!

(side note if you recognize that paraphrase: mark your calendars/DVRs for June 24th [wikipedia.org] !)

Re:Oh Sure (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31983732)

Almost made the mistake of thinking that quote was from Super-Scientist Dr. Venture, shame on me for not remembering every single thing the Professor ever said.

Re:Oh Sure (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31983748)

Sharks with frickin führer beams on their heads?

Would that make it... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31983650)

a smed head?

Re:Would that make it... (2, Funny)

Goffee71 (628501) | more than 3 years ago | (#31983762)

As it'll be a British-designed head, it'll come with Dwayne Dibley's teeth.

Re:Would that make it... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31984198)

As it'll be a British-designed head, it'll come with Dwayne Dibley's teeth.

Can it have Lister's Hair?

Okay, that's it... (5, Funny)

ShadowDragoonFTW (1527831) | more than 3 years ago | (#31983658)

Okay, that's it, science is getting too damn strange for me now.

Re:Okay, that's it... (4, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#31983976)

Take the blue pill. The story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe.

What??? (-1, Flamebait)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 3 years ago | (#31983662)

So there's still a chance for rednecks and other idiots to finally grow a brain?

Re:What??? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31983778)

I'm sure if someone were to make a comment about blacks or another racially charged statement it would be modded funny, right? Right?

Re:What??? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31983876)

The difference, of course, being that you can always choose not to be an ignorant cousin-humping redneck, whereas your colour is pretty much predefined prior to birth.

Re:What??? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31983964)

Where do Tea Party members and Birthers fit in the spectrum?

Re:What??? (2, Interesting)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 3 years ago | (#31984074)

Whether it's nature or nurture that's at fault, the ignorant are products of their parents/culture. If you're born in county, odds are you're going to grow up to be ignorant without any scope for choice in the matter. Certainly, some people by change have the opportunity to exercise the choice to stop being ignorant, but to do so they must have already started down that path somewhat. After all, the beginning of wisdom is to realise that you know nothing.

I don't blame the stupid and ignorant for being stupid or ignorant. I blame the smart people in charge of media and education who deny them the opportunity to be otherwise.

Re:What??? (2, Insightful)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 3 years ago | (#31983878)

redneck isn't racially charged, AC. It refers to a sub-group that encompasses many racial groups (though I have not encountered Asian rednecks, I have met black and white ones).

redneck = laborer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31984014)

Working in the sun makes your neck tan disproportionately. It is also very funny how ignorant they become because they are too tired from working to do much else. Idiots.

Re:What??? (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#31984100)

"Redneck" is racially charged, as I have never met a black redneck, only white. There are other negative terms used for blacks who fit the same level of ignorance and laziness that is attributed for "rednecks". The word "redneck" does NOT have the same negative power, rightfully so, but it is still a term used to speak disparagingly about poor whites, particularly in the southeastern US, similar to "hillbilly" in more mountainous areas of the US.

Comedians have claimed the word as their own (Jeff Foxworthy in particular) but it is still a negative term. Blacks have also claimed disparaging words as their own, as a form of empowerment. In both cases, when used by someone who doesn't "belong" to the group, it is done as a racially indicative insult.

Re:What??? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31984104)

Sorry but redneck has a specific connotation to South Eastern U.S. people of the white persuasion. Generally blue collar construction or farm workers. Due to the beating of the sun their necks become sun burned (red) or tanned. Another generalization associated with rednecks are they: hunt, listen to country music, drink beer, and drive a truck.

Re:What??? (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 3 years ago | (#31984194)

You're milage will vary based on your local. Way back in the before times, I had a teacher play the racial card on me and a friend when we were talking about hillbillies. Now, to us, it wasn't a racially charged word, it was just a stereotype on cartoons. But she was from Arkansas where Billy really did live out in the hills.

But no, rednecks are white, inbred, rural, old-school republicans. Their necks are red because they spend a lot of time in the sun with t-shirts on and they get burnt. Please describe the black rednecks you encountered as you're confusing a lot of us here.

Re:What??? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31984024)

They will have to get in line behind the Obama supporters...welfare recipients, illegals, criminals, tax cheats, drug addicts, government workers (but I repeat myself) and "activists" of all kinds.

Re:What??? (1)

voodoo cheesecake (1071228) | more than 3 years ago | (#31984140)

I think it has more to do with independently utilizing what you were born with than blindly, or through weakness, accepting culturally reinforced views and behaviors and living under those banners. It spans every race, religion, age group and culture - not just "rednecks". Basically, it's just a form of snobbery. Anyway,I am interested in when someone figures out how to enhance the qualities of brains rather than just producing a physical form of schizophrenia.

They always say (2, Funny)

kyrio (1091003) | more than 3 years ago | (#31983664)

two heads are better than one.

Re:They always say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31983782)

two heads are better than one.

Let me guess:
You've been wanting to say that all day. You got sick of waiting for an opportunity.

Re:They always say (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#31983880)

Sometimes less is more. In this case zero might be better than one...when growing a replacemement body for you (even better if there's a head but also free space for your brain ready). Assuming you have artificial uterus and transplant tech.

Though I imagine keeping the replacement body healthy while it matures will be quite a challenge, too.

How "working"? (4, Funny)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 3 years ago | (#31983678)

"Working" as in, you pull the chord and the ear moves?

Or "working" as in, you go for the chord, but the things runs off and starts multiplying and plotting the demise of your species?

Re:How "working"? (0)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 3 years ago | (#31983692)

Or "working" as in, you go for the chord, but the things runs off and starts multiplying and plotting the demise of your species?

Only if it's a minor chord.

Re:How "working"? (3, Funny)

srussia (884021) | more than 3 years ago | (#31983828)

"Working" as in, you pull the chord and the ear moves?

Or "working" as in, you go for the chord, but the things runs off and starts multiplying and plotting the demise of your species?

Both. How strange the change from major to minor!

Yes but can they do it without copying Migranes? (2, Interesting)

hAckz0r (989977) | more than 3 years ago | (#31983680)

They could make a fortune on that technology, but the problem is how to transition to the new one gracefully?

Re:Yes but can they do it without copying Migranes (5, Funny)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#31983724)

At the moment, this only works for flatworms, whose purchasing power is rather limited, last time I checked. So I doubt they will make a fortune soon. Then again, the difference between a banker and a flatworm is probably somewhat negligible. Actually, no, I am sorry. My sincerest apologies to all the flatworms reading slashdot.

Re:Yes but can they do it without copying Migranes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31983940)

blurp

Re:Yes but can they do it without copying Migranes (1)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 3 years ago | (#31984096)

I think that means they accept your apology?

Re:Yes but can they do it without copying Migranes (2, Informative)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#31984226)

Been wondering about that, too - my planarian ain't as fluid as it used to be. It might very well be "Prepare for the revenge of your planarian overlords, insolent ape!". It's quite similar in pronounciation, you see?

Re:Yes but can they do it without copying Migranes (2, Funny)

splutty (43475) | more than 3 years ago | (#31984288)

And we all know what a group of bankers is called right?

We have a flock of geese, a herd of horses, etc.

And then there's a wunch of bankers.

Re:Yes but can they do it without copying Migranes (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#31984344)

Yeah, funny, get back to us when you find a flatworm that is able to play the system so well, that it first can use the fact that the government is corrupt to buy the politicians to get Free (0% interest) money from the Fed, then make sure that laws are such that it is not illegal to gamble with the money, then set up a bunch of bad debts and bet against them and to make hundreds of millions personally, then when the banks fail, get the dumb ass 'public servants' to bail out the banks and take billions more in bonuses. And they keep the money at the end while the public gets stuck with an insurmountable amount in debt...

No no no, bankers already have multiple heads, some of them work in the governments, some work in the Fed, some work as various lobbyists and some 'run' the banks. Please, give credit where credit is due, those guys are brilliant at taking the money from you.

Zaphod? (4, Funny)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 3 years ago | (#31983698)

Zaphod, my buddy! Is that you?!

Re:Zaphod? (5, Funny)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#31984158)

Actually, I'm surprised we've gotten this far without quoting this cute ditty by Shel Silverstein:

Chester came to school and said,
“Durn, I growed another head.”
Teacher said, “It’s time you knowed
The word is ‘grew’ instead of ‘growed’ ”

Rawana is a reality then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31983700)

So its possible to spawn 10 heads as "Rawana", the villain of the "Ramayana", tale from India!

Grow parts of fingers? (3, Interesting)

gTsiros (205624) | more than 3 years ago | (#31983712)

I lost the last phalanx (joint including) of my right middle and right ring fingers.
I am impatiently waiting for the tech to get here so i can get my fingers back...

Re:Grow parts of fingers? (4, Funny)

VorpalRodent (964940) | more than 3 years ago | (#31983794)

According to the article, this technology is already here...assuming you can accept your new fingers having hair, eyes, and a brain.

Re:Grow parts of fingers? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31983840)

According to the article, this technology is already here...assuming you can accept your new fingers having hair, eyes, and a brain.

Everything was going great right up until I started masturbating ... then it got awesome.

Re:Grow parts of fingers? (2, Funny)

qoncept (599709) | more than 3 years ago | (#31984052)

I'm glad I read through before replying, because I like yours more than what I was going to say.

Re:Grow parts of fingers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31983910)

Did you check under the sofa cushions?

Smed-prep (2, Informative)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 3 years ago | (#31983744)

Or smed-prop? TFA says both smed-prop and smed-prep without the capital S.

TFA also says that the gene is in flatworms, while TFS says "our".

Overall, though, best slashdot summary ever.

hmmph, sensational (4, Informative)

Gnaythan1 (214245) | more than 3 years ago | (#31983766)

From what I gather, they figured out the gene sequence in flatworms for growing another head for a flatworm, and can do so consistently.

Since our genes are similar, they probably can figure out where the genes for growing a human head are, and *might* be able to use that info for regenerating damaged brain tissue

No zaphod's anytime soon.

for *planaria* not humans (2, Interesting)

capoccia (312092) | more than 3 years ago | (#31983768)

unless you belong to Planariidae, you don't have much hope of this benefiting you.

Re:for *planaria* not humans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31983844)

So, you're saying that our world's CEOs and board members are going to stand to benefit the most from this?

Re:for *planaria* not humans (1)

kiehlster (844523) | more than 3 years ago | (#31983900)

Yeah, and here I was so excited that those Dullahans [wikipedia.org] who accidentally lost their head while horseback riding could just grow another one. Rotten worms...

That is 1 step closer to a world ... (1)

Rinzwind (870478) | more than 3 years ago | (#31983846)

that looks like Futurama :D Now all we need is a Bender and a 1 eyed girl.

Irresistible blonde joke... (1)

Ian-K (154151) | more than 3 years ago | (#31983850)

ah, finally, there's hope for them too :)

(and on a more serious note: and for many many more people, I would suspect)

Re:Irresistible blonde joke... (3, Funny)

maroberts (15852) | more than 3 years ago | (#31984040)

Whilst a doubling of memory capacity is surely good, I'm not sure that adding a head with a single extra brain cell will improve a blonde's intelligence.... :-)

Obligatory MIB (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31983888)

"Do you have ANY idea how much that stings?!"

Hello??? This is Slashdot (5, Funny)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#31983890)

Those are not the body parts we seek.

Re:Hello??? This is Slashdot (1)

zero_out (1705074) | more than 3 years ago | (#31984030)

Seriously, of all the body parts for scientists to figure out how to grow, the head has to be the least important one. When the head is gone, you just harvest the organs for others people to use. If a person needs a new head, then you really need a person. If you can figure out how to grow extremities or organs, then you're onto something!

Better yet, grow me a whole new body, sans brain, and transplant mine. That'd be awesome!

Re:Hello??? This is Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31984248)

Speak for yourself! I want one.

And for further reading (4, Insightful)

kenp2002 (545495) | more than 3 years ago | (#31983950)

Science always advances faster then the moral and ethics of the society.

Science Fiction tends to serve as the cursory warning of the abuses of science. Please reply with suggetsions on reading that our fellow scientists should watch when they are not busy playing God (in the figurative sense.)

The Island comes to mind but even comic books like the Micronauts foretold the warnings of Body Bank abuses. The Repo Men is a recent film that from what I can gather might also make for a good reading.

Oh how I wish that science would first think:
"Ok if this works what are the ethics" rather then "do it first, then we'll worry about the ethics later."

I'm all for science, I just have the crippling burden of being a history buff, knowing how often science gives birth to atrocities. Comparing post-1600s science has made religion look tame.

Re:And for further reading (1)

tangelogee (1486597) | more than 3 years ago | (#31984154)

The problem is that ethics are an intangible thing, and we all know how science abhors non-real concepts (aside from imaginary numbers, of course).

Re:And for further reading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31984208)

Zaphod Beeblebrox

Re:And for further reading (5, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#31984260)

Oh how I wish that science would first think:
"Ok if this works what are the ethics" rather then "do it first, then we'll worry about the ethics later."

Science doesn't think anything. It's a process. Plenty of scientists can be assumed to have chosen morality over science. You don't hear about them because they didn't do anything. All scientific progress can be put to ends both good and ill, there is therefore nothing ethical or unethical about science fact, only the actions of men.

Re:And for further reading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31984310)

It will and can not happen that way.

It's not for the scientists alone to decide upon the ethics of their findings but for the society as a whole.

RTFA ? Why would we want to do that ? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31983968)

This is actually about a flatworm's ability to regenerate from serious injuries, not specifically about growing heads.
They claim they've found the genes responsible for regeneration in flatworms.

The title is "Gene that allows growing a new head identified
Now we just need memory backup - and worm DNA"

Which says quite a bit more than the catchy but non-informative title this article on slashdot has.

Abortion Debate (1)

Rhacman (1528815) | more than 3 years ago | (#31983988)

So if someone starts to grow a new head would it be unethical to cut it off even if it got there against their will? What do the varied religious texts say about extra heads you've grown long after birth?

Voltron Gene?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31983994)

"...and I'll form THE HEAD!"

how to get ahead in navigating (3, Funny)

MagicM (85041) | more than 3 years ago | (#31984034)

I know a group of cannibals that would trade you a nice banana picker for one of these!

Is it just me or.... (4, Insightful)

ProppaT (557551) | more than 3 years ago | (#31984092)

Is it just me or is this the last body part we should actually care about regenerating? Once my brain is gone, I couldn't care less if you regenerated it for me to start over with a fresh, empty brain or not. I'd rather them find a way to regenerate my body on my existing head, thank you very much.

Alzheimer's cure, maybe? (1)

mhollis (727905) | more than 3 years ago | (#31984142)

TFA mentioned possible useful things, like curing or reversing Alzheimer's as well as looking in to how to stop "rogue" cells from forming cancer.

I can see a lot of potential from this, but we're looking some 20 years out and there are, undoubtedly, many other genes in the process that need to be looked into to make sure that the body parts being regenerated form correctly and link up to the rest of the body correctly. I can see new mouse heads in 15 years based on this discovery, followed by human regeneration beginning experimentally in 20.

Of course, my Alzheimer's (assuming I have it or get it) will have progressed to the point where I would not be a candidate by then. They tend to come up for cures for stuff just after someone I know dies from the disease.

Shiver me timbers! (1)

mattr (78516) | more than 3 years ago | (#31984258)

Okay I am reading Greg Bear's City at the End of Time, at the same time as I am rereading Charles Stross' Accelerando on my phone. And then saw the BoingBoing story about a two headed lizard that sometimes has one head attack the other. And now this! Got a real shiver of acceleration from this one, and half of it is from the wild names of the scientists. It sounds like the intro to Bunkaroo Banzai and the plot starts from here..

"Top bio-boffin Dr Aziz Aboobaker and grad student Daniel Felix, who carried out the new research, say that the discovery of "smed-prep" unlocks the mechanisms by which..."

This suggests to me that as things accelerate we will have that wierded out thing more and more. Could be low blood sugar though..

Zombie Husbandry problems solved (1)

FauxReal (653820) | more than 3 years ago | (#31984370)

Now that we can grow brain filled heads to keep the zombies satisfied we can start breeding them for use as... well, somebody will figure that part out later.
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