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Scientists Attach Bar Codes To Embryos

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the I-got-the-number-when-I-was-young dept.

Biotech 69

Zothecula writes "Fans of the film Blade Runner may remember a scene in which the maker of an artificial snake is identified by a microscopic serial number on one of its scales. Well, in a rare case of present-day technology actually surpassing that predicted in a movie, we've now gone one better — bar codes on embryos. Scientists from Spain's Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), along with colleagues from the Spanish National Research Council, have successfully developed an identification system in which mouse embryos and oocytes (egg cells) are physically tagged with microscopic silicon bar code labels. They expect to try it out on human embryos and oocytes soon."

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69 comments

Is this where... (2, Funny)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34340662)

I put on my tinfoil hat and proclaim that the insane conspiracy fantasies of right wing fundamentalist nutters are coming true? On second thoughts, I may need to be dosed up with a little more religion.... or LSD.

Re:Is this where... (2, Funny)

TheHonch (1390893) | more than 3 years ago | (#34340690)

No, this is where you say "I, for one, welcome our bar-coded overlords"

Re:Is this where... (1)

lordmetroid (708723) | more than 3 years ago | (#34340806)

I for one will resist this commercialization, I do not want to walk into the super market and buy me a handful of bar-coded embryos.

Re:Is this where... (1)

vegiVamp (518171) | more than 3 years ago | (#34348932)

I agree wholeheartedly. It's so much better if you put in the effort and make them yourself. A bit like pies, really.

surely you mean (0, Redundant)

sigxcpu (456479) | more than 3 years ago | (#34341430)

"I, for one, welcome our new scientist overlords"
oh, wait

Re:surely you mean (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 3 years ago | (#34341780)

Huh? Scientists usually hold very little political power, they rarely hold office, when they do, they're legislators outnumbered by peers that are lawyers. It's the religious extremists or extreme nationalists that are dangerous because it's that kind of person that's actually in an executive office and tends to use whatever they have in their power.

Re:Is this where... (4, Informative)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#34340760)

A tinfoil hat won't save you from the embryo bar code! The fact that you're not an embryo and have no zona pellucida will. Read the very short article: these are tagged onto the outside of the embryo. The embryo hatches out of it prior to attaching to the uterine wall, the tag is lost at that point. This is not like imprinting organisms from conception to adulthood, despite the tone of the summary.

Re:Is this where... (1)

gringer (252588) | more than 3 years ago | (#34341082)

This is not like imprinting organisms from conception to adulthood, despite the tone of the summary.

No, for that you need to shoot the embryos with tiny gold pellets loaded with a very specific DNA sequence — 40-50 bp should do it. That's a much more advanced technology that we should have in about, er, -10 years [springerlink.com].

Re:Is this where... (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#34348470)

That won't imprint it for life either. You can get DNA into the embryo, no problem, but without convincing the cell it's something the cell needs to replicate, that DNA won't get copied with the cell's normal DNA and will be dilluted out in a few divisions.

Getting DNA inserted into the genome is possible in mice and numerous other organisms, though I don't think anyone has done it in humans. Getting it inserted into the genome in -every- cell of a human body would be much more difficult. Getting it to reliably get implanted into every embryo, and making sure it wasn't in the middle of an important gene? I wouldn't worry about that.

Re:Is this where... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34341124)

Given that organisms already have DNA by which they can be identified and without which they are going to find essentially all critical life functions to be very difficult indeed, the idea of using some fancy, novel, and removable tag would be pretty ridiculous.

It's an interesting bit of research, and will probably save the highly specialized "people trying to grow a bunch of early-stage embryos without getting them mixed up, for assorted research purposes" a considerable amount of time and trouble; but its utility for tinfoil hat stuff seems minimal. Humans are already loaded with GUIDs, some of which they shed involuntarily and essentially continuously, so you don't really need to go to extra effort there...

Re:Is this where... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34341158)

Damn crazy future. In my time, they only put the barcode on your neck.

Re:Is this where... (5, Insightful)

ZDRuX (1010435) | more than 3 years ago | (#34340762)

How about you provide examples of where discoveries such as this have NOT been used to document and catalog people?

Is it really THAT FAR FETCHED to see hospitals and organizations advertising this in the future as a way to combat terrorism, or a way to prevent your child from being kidnapped, or to find your lost pets, or to ensure your baby isn't misplaced after birth, or a million other reasons I can think of?

How about a perfect way to take DNA from crime-scenes and having a few high-profile cases solved thanks to this DNA barcode, which then opens up excuses for everyone to be barcoded at birth, is it REALLY that hard to see this?

If I told you 50 years ago that you wouldn't be able to take a bottle of water on an airplane with you, you'd call be a conspiracy theorist, if I told you 50 years ago that protests would be shut down using sound cannons, if I told you 50 years ago that police will take blood samples from you at random spot checks, you'd call me a conspiracy theorist.. and yet - today this all seems pretty normal to you.

Do you not see the irony in this? Not even one little bit?

Re:Is this where... (2, Interesting)

Danieljury3 (1809634) | more than 3 years ago | (#34340802)

DNA Barcode... Is DNA not unique to individuals? Why not just take a sample of everyone's DNA at birth instead of barcoding it or are there too many people claiming in court "It wasn't me. It was my evil twin" and getting away with it

Re:Is this where... (2, Informative)

Verunks (1000826) | more than 3 years ago | (#34341204)

DNA Barcode... Is DNA not unique to individuals? Why not just take a sample of everyone's DNA at birth instead of barcoding it or are there too many people claiming in court "It wasn't me. It was my evil twin" and getting away with it

not really, for example twins have the same DNA

Re:Is this where... (2, Informative)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 3 years ago | (#34341794)

not really, for example twins have the same DNA

Don't even identical twins both have single bit errors that the other doesn't?

Re:Is this where... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34343602)

Not any more than the single bit errors occurring between the cells in an individual.

Remember, in order to get identical twins,
1. A sperm and an egg form an embryo
2. The embryo grows from one cell to something between two and eight cells
3. The embryo is split into two embryos with fewer cells
4. The two embryos grow separately into two fetuses

Since it only takes 2-8 cell divisions before the twins are split apart, but it takes 10^n more cell divisions to create a full human being, the single bit errors between two identical twins pale in comparison to the single bit errors between the cells in a single individual.

Re:Is this where... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34340818)

mod parent up.. his 50 years ago statement is dead on and is more true than the 'strict deniers' want to admit. strict deniers are no better than the wackjob conspiracy nuts over there on the other pole and are often no different than authority apologizers. the difference between the two is that the strict deniers are taken seriously by most people.

Re:Is this where... (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34340908)

Do you not see the irony in this? Not even one little bit?

I don't see an irony in what you described, no. An example of irony would be the conspiracy theorist's wife being an employee of a company behind some of this creeping fascism, or one of the people behind this kind of thing being a victim of its misuse.

Re:Is this where... (0, Offtopic)

Kilrah_il (1692978) | more than 3 years ago | (#34341020)

You mean you need to implement a barcode at the embryo stage in order to have a unique identifier to each member of society? Aren't fingerprints, ear lobes, facial features and even the DNA itself unique enough?
I won't go into the whole tin foil hat argument, but in order for your predictions to succeed, you don't need this new high tech.

BTW, how many predictions from 50 years ago did not pan out? Oh, and while on the subject: Did anyone give out a prediction about the scenarios you pointed out 50 years ago? I mean, you take something that happens now and then use a hypothetical prediction from 50 years ago to prove your point. That doesn't make sense.
Give me real predictions that panned out, and we have something to talk about. And even then I bet that for every prediction, we can find a hundred others that turned out to be nothing more than kiddie horror stories.

Shame on me, I did go into the tin foil hat argument. Sorry, folks.

Re:Is this where... (1)

Aryden (1872756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34341582)

no. DNA has a percentage of accuracy, so you could in theory convict someone based on DNA evidence due to their dna being too similar to the actual criminal's. This methodology would remove that and make it exact.

Fingerprints, facial features, earlobes etc can all be altered. Just look at most of your actors and actresses, or just watch an episode of any of the "real housewives of "

Re:Is this where... (1)

konohitowa (220547) | more than 3 years ago | (#34346428)

Slashdot is so damned funny. The guy you responded to was 'insightful' while discussing the topic at hand. Your response discussing the same topic was 'offtopic'.

I really want an "Agree/Disagree" button next to the moderation field with some filtering goodies that allow me to +/- based upon my assessments. As it stands, I view +6 Troll/Flamebait/Offtopic, -3 Insightful, and +2 Informative, but that means I sometimes miss out on the 1 or 2 comments per day that truly were insightful, will still getting to learn all about about Rob Malda's fecal obsessions. Although, turdman seems to have backed off of those posts recently.

I also want a way to permanently nuke, with extreme prejudice, anything that kdawson has touched. ;)

Re:Is this where... (1)

uninformedLuddite (1334899) | more than 3 years ago | (#34347264)

That is why I never laugh at the conspiracy theorists that 'smart' people tend to mock as insane. There are an awful lot of things that they talked about decades ago that had them labeled nutters and that we accept as a normal part of life

Re:Is this where... (1)

willo1945 (1947192) | more than 3 years ago | (#34340894)

I first read about this on 'supaswap-news.com' it reminded me of 1950's sci-fi or old B Movies Like the tinfoil hat comment Ha!!!

Re:Is this where... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34341840)

Revelation 13 KJV

1: And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. 2: And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. 3: And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. 4: And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? 5: And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. 6: And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.

7: And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. 8: And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. 9: If any man have an ear, let him hear. 10: He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.

11: And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. 12: And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13: And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, 14: And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. 15: And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. 16: And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 17: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18: Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

Informative or flamebait? Who knows really, but I'm sure those who believe the above is prophecy will just love the news that we are researching how to barcode human embryos. Fuck that, this is a sick technology that only a despotic totalitarian fuckwit would enjoy humanity possess. I find this repulsive that anyone would consider such a dehumanization as to barcode us all. Tyrrany only stops when it meets resistance. We should oppose this even if we think the religious types are nutters, this is an insult to human dignity.

Re:Is this where... (1)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 3 years ago | (#34344588)

And behold, I found a really pretty red mushroom that I didst eat on an empty stomach.

Re:Is this where... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34345052)

Yes... there's just one question: Why?

Re:Is this where... (1)

murfguy (1942884) | more than 3 years ago | (#34355502)

Funny in a sad way. I just finished a term project on the subject of RFID and smart card technology uses in th control over people. It is quite sad that this the direction the world governments are heading in. A world uprising is needed to stop such a thing, it is apparent that politics won't stop it and man's desire to be God. Religiosity is not intended.

The End Times and Christian eschatology (1, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34340674)

Not that I believe in that kind of hokum, but could we please not do science that encourages people like Jack van Impe and his hot, hot wife Rexella? They believe that everyone will be tagged with a scannable code. That it will be the currency just before and during the beginning of the end times. They think that only those who resist it will be saved from God's judgment.

Everytime you put a barcode on a living thing, you stir up that pot of crazy.

This Thanksgiving, let's take a moment to think about all the great stuff science has given us. And try not to forget that just because science is great, it doesn't mean that the Christian retards have any less power.

Re:The End Times and Christian eschatology (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34340708)

Well fuck them.

I'm all for fundamentalist end-timestards making fools out of themselves - if we play it right, we might persuade them to hide underground from 2012 to well after 2022, provided we regularly broadcast convincing radio reports of the seas boiling and the dead walking the earth.

Wouldn't ten years of no loonies on the street be pretty nice?

Re:The End Times and Christian eschatology (4, Interesting)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#34340808)

Everytime you put a barcode on a living thing, you stir up that pot of crazy.

The summary really should have pointed out that THE TAGS DON'T STAY ON. Hopefully we can nip this in the bud.

And try not to forget that just because science is great, it doesn't mean that the Christian retards have any less power.

What power in this context? The power to foam at the mouth about this fairly boring bit of research from Spain? The ability to pass laws stipulating that human embryos should not be marked with barcodes?

Don't get me wrong, any power is more power than those nuts -should- have, and this could get them new recruits which would also be bad, but this is not a serious issue otherwise.

Re:The End Times and Christian eschatology (2, Insightful)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 3 years ago | (#34341262)

The summary really should have pointed out that THE TAGS DON'T STAY ON. Hopefully we can nip this in the bud.

That's not how the psychology of confirmation bias works. Anyone looking for confirmation of their beliefs about a barcode apocalypse will simply ignore that part of the story. I'm sure these Van Impe characters would quite happily spread the story that embryos are being barcoded to their flock, selectively quote mining the relevant news stories.

Re:The End Times and Christian eschatology (2, Informative)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 3 years ago | (#34341758)

Yes, the tags are only there to help identify the egg so that mix-ups don't happen when fertilising them. There was a case a few years ago in the UK where two couple's eggs got mixed up resulting in each mother having the child of the other's partner.

I don't know if sperm can be tagged in the same way but at least this would reduce the chances of a mistake by 50%.

Re:The End Times and Christian eschatology (3, Insightful)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 3 years ago | (#34341058)

Once again, it's worth noting that no Christians are attacking atheists here. There's just you attacking them.

Re:The End Times and Christian eschatology (2, Insightful)

deetoy (1576145) | more than 3 years ago | (#34342280)

The odd thing I see with the arguements above is the failure to realize some caution in the application of science is a good thing.

If the 'religious nuts' provide some caution to the scientific community and encourage the public to debate how science is implemented then that has a net positive result. Worth noting here that not all things claiming to be in the religious name actually are.

'declared biologically innocuous in an earlier study', yeah, we were told Thalidomide was a great drug .....

It is an interesting way to improve the tracking of embryos - the potential effects on development post embryo will need to be tested further before they can progress to human embryos. Further debate and research will be needed to identify if this is the only or desirable way to achieve the desired result.

The relevant bible clause here [bible.cc] is worth a read - then ask yourself if forecasting this as a bad thing for mankind 2000 years ago makes Nostradamus look like an amateur. I can't help but wonder what Jesus would have said about gene patents.

“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”
Albert Einstein

Dibs! (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#34340694)

I call dibs on 666.666-666-666 for my baby!

Re:Dibs! (3, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34340932)

Someone I knew during my university days in scenic New Jersey painted "666" on his forehead, and walked into the local 24-hour Wawa market (it's like a Kwik-E-Mart) at the middle of the night. Some Schlaumeyer grabbed two loaves of French bread (baguettes), and put them in a cross shape. Then he yelled, "Back! Back!"

At least one person in the store got the joke.

Re:Dibs! (3, Funny)

Vernes (720223) | more than 3 years ago | (#34341200)

Is the barcode alphanumeric? In that case I claim: "Robert`); DROP TABLE Students;--"

Not that new (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34340814)

Salmon otoliths were barcoded in the early 80's (I think) to distinguish between different hatcheries. Coding was achieved by varying the water temperature during development, thus affecting the rate of growth, and hence colour of the bone in bands. The code stayed with the fish for life.

Re:Not that new (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#34344176)

Salmon otoliths were barcoded in the early 80's (I think) to distinguish between different hatcheries. Coding was achieved by varying the water temperature during development, thus affecting the rate of growth, and hence colour of the bone in bands. The code stayed with the fish for life.

Yeah, that's totally the same thing as actually tagging cells with microscopic pieces of silicon.

Not that new... bullshit.

It's The Evolution, ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34341032)

...baby!

Easier for adoption agencies too (2, Funny)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 3 years ago | (#34341048)

Just take the baby off the shelf, scan the bar code, enter your credit card, and all the paperwork takes care of itself!

Re:Easier for adoption agencies too (1)

azalin (67640) | more than 3 years ago | (#34341996)

The Simpsons already did that.

Re:Easier for adoption agencies too (1)

turkeyfish (950384) | more than 3 years ago | (#34342106)

Thats just part of Ruppert Murdoch's scheme to push this stuff on an unsuspecting public who buys into this as "normal". His idea is to have everyone tagged so that whenever they walk within 20 ft of a TV, they will be immediately be exposed to Fox News. How else could you explain his massive investment portfolio into bar coding and radio tag technology?

But will it blend? (1)

kronnek (982486) | more than 3 years ago | (#34341070)

All nice and everything... Unless it can be scanned at the supermarket and I can use my club card to get a discount, it's useless.

shit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34341192)

Now they are all going to grow into super intelligent, super strong and agile perfect assassins and will need to be given a number instead of a name.

dna hashtags? (1)

idigitallDotCom (1396193) | more than 3 years ago | (#34341234)

I don't know if that's the right term, but surely a dna "hashtag" is a more effective than sticking a silicon label on to the embryo sack? Or can't one get DNA sequences (unique?) from an embryo?

Switched babies (1)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 3 years ago | (#34341240)

Actually, a non-negligible amount of babies get mistakenly switched around in hospitals. This is the reason why many hospitals nowadays (at least in Poland) give newborns bracelets with the name of their parent -- but there are claims that they still manage to get it wrong quite often.

Less seriously: I was born a stupid, ugly but work-loving baby, yet an evil midwife switched me in the crib.

*Beep* (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34341340)

This is all a conspiracy - first step towards an Embryo supermarket.

"*Beep* That'll be 9.95 sir, cash or credit?"

human barcodes prior art (1)

viralMeme (1461143) | more than 3 years ago | (#34341348)

"Max is a genetically engineered human, created by Manticore .. All the kids in Manticore had a number inserted into there genetic patterns that shows up as a barcode on the back of the neck" link [jedisaber.com]

first po5t!? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34341378)

have somebody just happiness Another elected, we 7ook and the Bazaar

It won't be copied during cell reproduction so... (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 3 years ago | (#34341458)

... surely even better would be to insert the barcode as a section of DNA directly into the genome?

Perhaps we're not far from that either.

ID is OK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34341624)

Having worked in the technical IT side of IVF for years I can tell you that we already bar code embryos and sperm. We also write the patients name on the pot. But there are still mix ups and very occasionally the wrong embryo is implanted. The more checks on who owns what the better.

You have to remeber that that embryos, eggs and sperm are stored at -190'C, you have to wear goggles, thick gloves and there is vapour everywhere and frost on everything. It's hard to read labels. (we use rfid tags)

Interestingly when you take a pot of sperm out of the dewar and it goes from -190 to +25'c sometimes they explode showering you with frozen shards.

This won't work in real life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34343644)

The risks involved in taking care of a day 3 to day 7 embro are great. Anytime you muck with it, you introduce risk. People going through retrieval / implant will not tolerate this added risk.

Keeping track of embro's is not a problem if proper procedures are followed.

This provides very little benefit for such a high risk activity. Fail.

Hey scientists? (1)

paxcoder (1222556) | more than 3 years ago | (#34345364)

They expect to try it out on human embryos and oocytes soon

Would you kindly go fuck yourselves?

Blade Runner? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34347256)

Reminds me of the scene in the street where Decker is getting the snake scales checked, and the street vendor shows the scanning microscope screen showing the ID codes.

Pah. (1)

xSander (1227106) | more than 3 years ago | (#34348348)

Why not create embryos without any junk DNA and add special DNA in them so that unremovable barcodes appear on their necks?
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