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Scientists Make Fish Grow "Hands" In Experiment Revealing How Fins Became Limbs

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the hands-to-hold-you dept.

Science 110

An anonymous reader writes "While fossils have long shown that limbs evolved from fins, scientists have shown live in the laboratory how the transition may have happened. Researchers said that the new study published in the journal Developmental Cell offers evidence revealing that the development of hands and feet occurred through the acquisition of new DNA elements capable of activating specific genes."

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Just wrong! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42316969)

The fish think it's very wrong, but they can't just find where to lay a finger...

Re:Just wrong! (1)

aicrules (819392) | about 2 years ago | (#42319039)

This may have been a good joke if you'd just given it a few more minutes of thinking.

Re:Just wrong! (1)

rhyder128k (1051042) | about 2 years ago | (#42320271)

No doubt, this new development will lead to some finger pointing.

Re:Just wrong! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42321915)

No, it's a handy achievement!

In a related story... (4, Funny)

Genda (560240) | about 2 years ago | (#42316971)

New fish applaud scientist for hands...

Re:In a related story... (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 2 years ago | (#42321595)

New fish applaud scientist for hands

Since they are only a 10th done, they got The Finger instead.

Now if only... (5, Funny)

Genda (560240) | about 2 years ago | (#42316985)

The scientist would give them noses, they'd have something to do on those interminable waits between feedings.

Re:Now if only... (5, Funny)

DigitalReverend (901909) | about 2 years ago | (#42317319)

I hope not, there's nothing worse than fish that smell.

Re:Now if only... (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | about 2 years ago | (#42321251)

Maybe not worse, but equivalent⦠visitors after 3 days.

http://www.pbs.org/benfranklin/l3_wit_franklin.html [pbs.org]
Apparently he didn't actually originate all of themâ¦
"Fish and visitors smell after three days."

The meaning of Life... (1)

Genda (560240) | about 2 years ago | (#42317009)

Now the Pythons will need to change the FISH scene in "The Meaning of Life" (ala George Lucas) and have the fish in the tank shaking hands.

All you need to know (5, Informative)

GODISNOWHERE (2741453) | about 2 years ago | (#42317065)

From TFA:

"Of course, we haven't been able to grow hands," Casares told New Scientists

Re:All you need to know (4, Funny)

gewalker (57809) | about 2 years ago | (#42317409)

And the fish died 4 days after being treated with the new gene. A complete success otherwise.

Re:All you need to know (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42317435)

Slashdot: Scientists make fish grow hands!

Scientists: No we didn't...

Re:All you need to know (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42318405)

Title of the FA:

Scientists Make Fish Grow "Hands" in Experiment That May Reveal How Fins Became Limbs

Next line in the FA, synopsis:

Scientists have successfully made fish grow "hands" instead of fins in an experiment that may reveal how animals transitioned to living on land instead of only in water.

First line of the actual article:

Scientists have successfully made fish grow "hands" instead of fins in an experiment that may reveal how animals transitioned to living on land instead of only in water.

and near the end of the article, the line of the OP:

"Of course, we haven't been able to grow hands," Casares told New Scientists

So it's not Slashdot, it's scientific journalists (or maybe just MedicalDaily, but it's so convenient to say just "Scientists" or "Scientific journalists" to make you think that scientists form an hivemind) who take everyone for bloody idiots. Really pitiful...

Re:All you need to know (1)

lxs (131946) | about 2 years ago | (#42323013)

More specifically, it's New Scientist which has a proud tradition of behaving like a tabloid.

Quotation marks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42323719)

A "hand" is not a hand. The fish developed autopods instead of fins, which according to TFA are precursors to hands and feet.

Re:All you need to know (3, Informative)

argStyopa (232550) | about 2 years ago | (#42320985)

To be fair, the article ITSELF is pretty confused.

1st sentence:
"Scientists have successfully made fish grow "hands" instead of fins in an experiment that may reveal how animals transitioned to living on land instead of only in water."

Near the end:
""Of course, we haven't been able to grow hands," Casares told New Scientists..."

So I'd submit that the summary being a little confusing isn't really the summarizer's fault this time.

Re:All you need to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42323589)

To be fair, the article ITSELF is pretty confused.

1st sentence:
"Scientists have successfully made fish grow "hands" instead of fins in an experiment that may reveal how animals transitioned to living on land instead of only in water."

Near the end:
""Of course, we haven't been able to grow hands," Casares told New Scientists..."

So I'd submit that the summary being a little confusing isn't really the summarizer's fault this time.

Wow. That's 2 firsts for /. There's a good reason for the botched summary and someone here actually read the article.

Re:All you need to know (1)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | about 2 years ago | (#42323967)

Reading "comprehension" fail.

Re:All you need to know (1)

jlv (5619) | about 2 years ago | (#42317709)

Mod this up.

Re:All you need to know (3, Informative)

slew (2918) | about 2 years ago | (#42318617)

But apparently they grew "hands" (which is apparently what pseudo-journalists call autopods) not hands (sans quotes)...

However, from the truth is stranger than fiction department, a possible reason that it didn't really work might be the lack of a mediating factors like Sonic Hedgehog [nytimes.com] expression signalling (yes, that's the name of a real gene, which was named after the video game character by the Harvard researchers who discovered it) which has to something to do with making limbs [harvard.edu] from autopods, but is mostly used in the formation of scale structures in zebrafish.

Just one more... (4, Funny)

Genda (560240) | about 2 years ago | (#42317071)

Masturbation will still be dicey, but the kissing gouramis are now hugging and kissing gouramis. My work is done!/p?

Intelligent design (1)

Alien Being (18488) | about 2 years ago | (#42317113)

God made these scientists with his own two fins so that we would recognize the potential of our water-breathing brothers. Fish have always been seen as low forms of life but now it's time to balance the scales.

Yay, god!!!

Re:Intelligent design (3, Funny)

Spaseboy (185521) | about 2 years ago | (#42317345)

(Phil-Ken-Sebben)balance the scales...Ha Haaa!(/Phil-Ken-Sebben)

Bizarre (1, Insightful)

cfulmer (3166) | about 2 years ago | (#42317175)

So, the hand genes were just sitting around, waiting to be 'activated' by specific DNA?

I think that means that either Intelligent Design is real or we don't have really good terminology to describe what actually happened.

Re:Bizarre (4, Insightful)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 years ago | (#42317497)

....or you don't have a good understand of what happened.

Re:Bizarre (-1, Troll)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about 2 years ago | (#42318049)

No, GP is correct. The summary is just plain awful. It makes it sound like there is some latent hand gene sequences in fish that were just waiting to be activated. If this were found to be true, then no one could argue against the existence of God.

Re:Bizarre (1)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | about 2 years ago | (#42318849)

I could, probably starting with pointing out that your proclaiming it was the Christian deity.

Clearly, the development of hands is more reasonably attributed to His Lord Majesty Noodle the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It is clearly His divine wish that we become more like Him, so He allowed us to grow appendages in his likeness. We should praise Pasta that our fins have evolved into something more resembling Spaghetti.

Can you imagine making Pasta with fins? The horror!

Re:Bizarre (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42319137)

Then how do you explain rigatoni, fusilli, farfalle, gnocchi, conchiglie, etc.?

Are these not pasta?

Re:Bizarre (1)

shaitand (626655) | about 2 years ago | (#42320113)

He is a Flying Spaghetti Monster not a Flying Rigatoni Monster.

Re:Bizarre (1)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | about 2 years ago | (#42319147)

Can you imagine making Pasta with fins? The horror!

Yes, the tasty tasty horror!

Re:Bizarre (1)

Scarletdown (886459) | about 2 years ago | (#42320245)

Can you imagine making Pasta with fins? The horror!

Meh, I would rather make pasta with flour and either water or eggs.

Re:Bizarre (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 years ago | (#42319081)

It makes it sound like adding DNA from an animal that has already evolved hands(feet) reprograms the genes that build body parts.

Re:Bizarre (2)

kbg (241421) | about 2 years ago | (#42319781)

There are actually gene sequences for example in Dolphins that can grow "feet" but are simply deactivated and no longer used. These are simply remnants of previous species that used to walk on land. So actually these dormant genes actually support evolution.

Re:Bizarre (1)

cas2000 (148703) | about 2 years ago | (#42321761)

If this were found to be true, then no one could argue against the existence of God.

That's exactly what's wrong with religious thinking - or any other kind of magical thinking: the instant leap from "something weird has been observed" to "wahh! i don't understand" and then immediately to "god(*) must've dunnit".

fucking idiots.

the correct response is "more investigation is required".

the best moments in science have always come from someone thinking "that's odd..."

(*) which god, anyway? there's so many of the stupid imaginary fucking things, and so many minor variations of the same ones (each one "worth" torturing and murdering for), to choose from.

Re:Bizarre (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42323077)

If this were found to be true, then no one could argue against the existence of God.

One can certainly argue against the existence of "God" or "Yahweh", the immoral and schizophrenic overlord of the Abrahamic religions.

Re:Bizarre (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42325143)

I'm glad fucking morons like you aren't around to take important decisions. Jesus fuck you're stupid.

Re:Bizarre (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42317511)

They didn't grow human hands. The genes "sitting around" were apparently genes for fins.

Re:Bizarre (4, Informative)

LateArthurDent (1403947) | about 2 years ago | (#42317649)

So, the hand genes were just sitting around, waiting to be 'activated' by specific DNA?

I think that means that either Intelligent Design is real or we don't have really good terminology to describe what actually happened.

According to the article, the fish embryos continued to grow for 4 days, developing autopods, a precursor to hands. Then they died.

Hilariously enough, this article which is headlined "Scientists Make Fish Grow 'Hands'", contains a quote from one of the scientists involved, "Of course, we haven't been able to grow hands." Basically, this isn't intelligent design, it's exactly how evolution is described to work: You have existing code for fins, a slight modification of which appears to cause differentiation into autopods. This particular change is only one piece of the puzzle, so it wasn't a viable modification.

Re:Bizarre (1)

jonadab (583620) | about 2 years ago | (#42318661)

> Basically, this isn't intelligent design

Of course not. That would imply that the scientists who designed the genetic modification did so intelligently -- a preposterous notion. Since their custom GM fish all died as embryos, it's obvious that this was in fact a very unintelligent design.

Re:Bizarre (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 2 years ago | (#42318951)

Of course it's not intelligent design, fish don't need hands. Intelligent design would give them something useful to a fish, like an outboard motor, .

Re:Bizarre (1)

shaitand (626655) | about 2 years ago | (#42320147)

Thank you sir. And since fish do not have outboard motors we have now proven that there is no god. Unless someone wants to contend that outboard motor designers simply have a better understanding of fluids than god?

Re:Bizarre (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about 2 years ago | (#42321423)

But fish don't have hands to work the gas pumps. Oh wait...

Re:Bizarre (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42323065)

Well, yeah... Computational fluid dynamics is a relatively new field. It didn't exist 5,000 (or is it 6,000?) years ago when God designed fish.

Re:Bizarre (4, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | about 2 years ago | (#42317721)

So, the hand genes were just sitting around, waiting to be 'activated' by specific DNA?

Kinda maybe but not really? There's no gene for hands. There are genes involved in growing those tissues which comprise limbs, which are in turn controlled by other genes. Control those genes one way, you get fins, another way, you get "hands". The controlled genes were already present in the fish, and being used to make fins. Add a new mouse gene that controls those other genes a different way and you get something more like a hand.

As a ridiculously coarse analogy, it's like saying the standard C library has the code for a chess game because if you take a tic-tac-toe game and then re-arrange a bunch of the code that controls how the stdlib functions are called you get chess instead. Yes there are important pieces being re-used but there's more to it than that.

There's no problem with the terminology, and absolutely no need to resort to ID to explain this. Our bodies re-use the chemical machinery of life forms from billions of years ago. Just in different ways. Evolving new mechanisms for controlling that machinery is still evolution.

Re:Bizarre (1)

jbengt (874751) | about 2 years ago | (#42320561)

As a ridiculously coarse analogy, it's like saying the standard C library has the code for a chess game because if you take a tic-tac-toe game and then re-arrange a bunch of the code that controls how the stdlib functions are called you get chess instead.

Actually more like saying the standard C library has the code for a chess game in it because if you take a tic-tac-toe game and repeat it several times, a chess game appears (and loses in four moves)

Re:Bizarre (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42317799)

So, the hand genes were just sitting around, waiting to be 'activated' by specific DNA?

Nope. If you read the article you will see they used mouse genes.

Next on the agenda: 3 billion men candidates for the horse cock gene transplant (would you call it that?).

Re:Bizarre (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42318353)

Speak for yourself, I don't need no horse gene transplants.

Re:Bizarre (1)

Scarletdown (886459) | about 2 years ago | (#42320337)

Nope. If you read the article you will see they used mouse genes.

Next on the agenda: 3 billion men candidates for the horse cock gene transplant (would you call it that?).

That would be a good way to prevent a future Idiocracy scenario. If the transplant was a success, then the 3 billion stupidest guys on the planet would no longer be able to breed, as no woman would want them to get anywhere near them with a schwanzstucker like that.

Re:Bizarre (1)

drkim (1559875) | about 2 years ago | (#42323661)

Next on the agenda: 3 billion men candidates for the horse cock gene transplant (would you call it that?).

...Why would I want it to be smaller..?

Re:Bizarre (4, Insightful)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | about 2 years ago | (#42317913)

First, they didn't actually manage to grow hands. The closest they were able to achieve was "autopods", a precursor somewhere between hands and fins. The cause of this difference was a transplanted mouse gene which increased the production of a certain protein involved in selection and development of different kinds of tissue.

The real lesson from this is that small changes in DNA can have large effects on physiology. A bit more of a certain protein at the right point in development and you get autopods instead of fins. A few other minor changes and you might even get something approaching real hands.

It isn't that fish have unused DNA lying around which can be "activated" to produce hands; rather, the genetic codes for fins and hands are very similar, perhaps differing by just a couple of mutations. This similarity is evidence in favor of common descent. Why would a "designer" put in the effort to make the DNA so similar? No doubt, if our own experience as designers is anything to go by, it would be far easier to achieve ideal fins and ideal hands without that constraint. Hands and fins differentiated only by the presence of a few specific proteins is perfectly consistent, however, with inherited genetic traits and natural selection.

Re:Bizarre (4, Interesting)

InterArmaEnimSil (2549238) | about 2 years ago | (#42318319)

the genetic codes for fins and hands are very similar, perhaps differing by just a couple of mutations

Except for the fact that while the effect of the transplanted gene was relatively small - an increase in the quantity of a protein - there is nothing saying that the code of the mouse genes which produced the change was "just a couple of mutations." My guess is that the scientists probably imported at least several Kb of already-functional code into the fish genome to produce the marginal change in the protein production. Could be more, could be less.

Saying that the genetics are similar because the effect is similar is akin to going, "Hey, this custom Cinnamon theme on Fedora looks a whole lot like Windows XP - it must be just a few tweaks to get from one to the other!" The underlying code might be similar, or it might not, (In the case of Fedora and Windows XP, it is not) but the presumption of code similarity from product similarity is unfounded. Likewise, the presumption that the functional mouse genes are just a simple tweak or two away from functional fish genes is nonsense. In this case, they might be, or they might not, but there is simply no way to make that judgment based on the effect the code produces.

Why would a "designer" put in the effort to make the DNA so similar?

Code similarity is far from a "constraint." Libraries, modularity, and code reuse are the bread-and-butter of effective and efficient programming. Why make something similar? As a designer of code, I have an answer - because if similar code works in similar cases, then you don't have to bother doing it all twice, ten, or ten thousand times, saving work and reducing the likelihood of error or corruption.

Of course, that doesn't support Intelligent Design. However, claiming that experience designing code suggests that it would be easier to re-implement a feature from scratch for every use case rather than to re-use code is a bad idea.

On a related note - Hey, let's make this an argument about religion on a tech news site, right where arguments about religion belong! Again....

Re:Bizarre (4, Informative)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | about 2 years ago | (#42319753)

My guess is that the scientists probably imported at least several Kb of already-functional code into the fish genome to produce the marginal change in the protein production.

I see your guess and raise you actual science. What they did, from the article, was take a gene the fish already possessed and multiply it. The fish already produces this protein, but with fewer copies of the gene. Increasing the number of copies, and thus the amount of protein produced, resulted in autopods.

Saying that the genetics are similar because the effect is similar...

I didn't say that. We already know that the genetics are similar, because we've sequenced the DNA of a number of organisms and determined that they're really very similar, even when the organisms appear quite different. Plants and animals, for example, share far more DNA than one would naively expect. What I said was that the fact that a small change in the expression of certain proteins changes the development of the fins to something much closer to hands is consistent with common descent. It shows how small changes over time could have changed fins (or fin-precursors) into hands. That this actually occurred requires other evidence, which we have from a variety of sources.

Code similarity is far from a "constraint." Libraries, modularity, and code reuse are the bread-and-butter of effective and efficient programming.

No argument there, but where is the modularity in DNA? Where are the boundaries between the libraries and the rest of the organism? Code reuse is possible because we carefully avoid making every piece interact with every other piece. We deliberately restrict the ability for small changes in one are to have global effects on the rest of the program, preferring to create small, self-contained modules with well-defined interfaces. DNA is just the opposite: a single huge parallel program, with patches layered on top of patches, and no organizing structure to be found anywhere. What it most resembles (for obvious reasons) is the output of a genetic algorithm, the difference being that genetic algorithms are configured with fitness functions to achieve specific goals, while natural selection has no goal apart from the survival of the genes.

On a related note - Hey, let's make this an argument about religion on a tech news site, right where arguments about religion belong! Again....

You're the one that brought up religion. Up till now, we were discussing common descent ("evolution") and Intelligent Design, a term invented specifically to avoid the religious connotations of Creationism. However, you're probably correct that it's more honest to classify ID as religion rather than science.

Re:Bizarre (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about 2 years ago | (#42323111)

Code reuse is possible because we carefully avoid making every piece interact with every other piece. We deliberately restrict the ability for small changes in one are to have global effects on the rest of the program, preferring to create small, self-contained modules with well-defined interfaces. DNA is just the opposite: a single huge parallel program, with patches layered on top of patches, and no organizing structure to be found anywhere

You can think of a DNA program like the output from an optimizing compiler: it will reuse storage locations and share blocks of code, but there may still be high level modularity that you simply don't see easily at the binary level.

Re:Bizarre (1)

InterArmaEnimSil (2549238) | about 2 years ago | (#42325267)

I see your guess and raise you actual science. What they did, from the article, was take a gene the fish already possessed and multiply it.

I stand corrected, provided that hoxd13 is chemically identical in the two species, and it probably is However, I would still maintain that the scientists had to import more code, per my original guess, in more subdued fashion, into the genome - if not, then a copy-paste of a function alongside a copy of itself would not increase the size of a source file.

We already know that the genetics are similar, because we've sequenced the DNA of a number of organisms and determined that they're really very similar, even when the organisms appear quite different.

True.

changes the development of the fins to something much closer to hands is consistent with common descent. It shows how small changes over time could have changed fins (or fin-precursors) into hands.

Also possible. However, if I were the scientists behind this study, I wouldn't be really publicizing it. Not that I expect fish to grow actual functional hands, but the fact that the fish died in the embryonic stage tells me that, while the work produced a cool-looking mutant, it also destroyed any fitness the animal had. Autopods? Yes. Incompatibility with life? Also yes. I do not mean to overgeneralize this "Hah, see! It couldn't have happened in nature!" I merely mean to comment on this particular individual case. Mutating an animal to produce a weird-looking result in a way that kills it before it even hatches seems a lot like flipping bits in the kernel then cheering as it begins to boot, then crashes and bricks. We already knew that misregulated hoxd13 expression produces mutation in appendages...is it really an increase in knowledge that forcing misregulation of hoxd13 by means of genetic engineering produces....mutation in appendages?

No argument there, but where is the modularity in DNA? Where are the boundaries between the libraries and the rest of the organism?

What we have in DNA are effectively the equivalent of binaries. As I can't read DNA "binaries" (or actual binaries), I can't tell you. However, as you stated, organisms share much more genetic code than we realize. Also, the percentage of genomes relegated to "junk dna" is shrinking. Identical code with identical or similar function in more than one place is inherently the use of libraries and modularity. Now, one might argue that we will never be able to reverse-assemble or reverse-compile genetic code because there are no actual operative organizational principles along which to do so. This is speculation either way - however, we had better hope that there are, if we ever want genetic engineering to become anything resembling practical for comprehensive programming.

As a side note, as impressively knowledgeable as genetic engineers are, and I greatly value genetic engineering, no human can really comprehend DNA binaries with anything resembling the robustness with which we can understand, say, Java source. If we handled production releases of code the way we handle genetic engineering, our software testers would quickly descend into sobbing, screaming madness.

You're the one that brought up religion.

Perhaps, but from my perspective that's not the case. From the GP...

Why would a "designer" put in the effort to make the DNA so similar? No doubt, if our own experience as designers is anything to go by, it would be far easier to achieve ideal fins and ideal hands without that constraint.

Postulating about what a designer should do, or why it would do one thing or another, I would say, descends (or ascends, depending on one's point of view) into religion, just as it would do the same for someone to argue what morality a god should endorse, or how extra-terrestrials might choose to behave toward us. Though, I will admit that the line between "religion" and "not religion" is more of a huge, foggy, land-mine-pocked demilitarized zone than it is a clear and definite line.

Code Reuse and God (2)

Tablizer (95088) | about 2 years ago | (#42321361)

Regarding "code reuse", a perfect creator wouldn't need to worry about abstractions and "generic" libraries: he/she/it would make each item with what it needs and only what it needs. Abstractions are largely to help save human developers time and effort under our limited abilities, not to streamline the code-base.

Then again, "omnipotent" and "perfect" are not necessarily the same thing. Maybe "God" is a Linux admin-like being running us a simulation/emulation. He/he/it has omnipotent power from our perspective because he can change or delete any parts of the simulation that he wants. But this doesn't necessarily make him "perfect". He may make mistakes or be sloppy in some areas.

(Don't tell him I said that, otherwise he may click on my "cancer" check-box or something.)

Re:Code Reuse and God (1)

aiht (1017790) | about 2 years ago | (#42321781)

(Don't tell him I said that, otherwise he may click on my "cancer" check-box or something.)

A Linux admin-like being wouldn't click on no fancy-schmancy checkbox!
More like
echo 1 > /proc/`pidof Tablizer`/cancer

Re:Code Reuse and God (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 2 years ago | (#42321945)

"Only Allah would use GUIs!" There, that'll start yet another Holy War in the middle east.

Re:Code Reuse and God (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | about 2 years ago | (#42322575)

Heretic. You know perfectly well that Allah is the guy forbidding all imagery. You think he'd use a GUI? He's the command line guy here!

Re:Code Reuse and God (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42322689)

Earth civilization is definitely MS-Windows

Re:Code Reuse and God (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42322443)

Just to be clear, since the thread has migrated to religion, with respect to biology, nowhere does it say in the bible that God's intent was to make us, or animals in general, "perfect". It says we were made "good".

Assuming that we're even referencing anything scientifically coherent talking about a "perfect biology" that we supposedly should already have (as supposedly should all the other highly-variant biological forms be equivalently perfect while simultaneously being completely different), this would give us nothing to progress toward, and make our proposed state of existence in heaven superfluous.

This particular, intentionally logically impossible, "goalpost shift" we can put down directly on the atheist side of the ledger. It never was the theistic position.

Re:Code Reuse and God (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 2 years ago | (#42322703)

this would give us nothing to progress toward

You mean it's humanity's job to re-engineer the animals?
     

Re:Code Reuse and God (1)

InterArmaEnimSil (2549238) | about 2 years ago | (#42324777)

Honestly, presuming some kind of designer - omnipotent God, sneaky genetic-engineer alien, whatever - how would we know whether that designer would or wouldn't use things like abstractions and libraries? Saying that a perfect creator wouldn't use such things (and I said nothing about a perfect creator in the first place), is presuming that we know, despite not being perfect programmers ourselves, exactly how a perfect programmer would write code. There are plenty of human programmers who are better than me, and I'm not even sure of all the details of how they write code. If I did, I'd be as good as they are. We can't presume that some sort of non-human creator, if such a thing even exists, would conform its work to what we think, based on our snapshot of programming knowledge, it should do.

Also...not streamline the codebase? Really? Man, I'd get fired if I didn't concern myself with not bloating the codebase..

Re:Bizarre (1)

cusco (717999) | about 2 years ago | (#42320131)

Why would a "designer" put in the effort to make the DNA so similar?

Laziness?

Re:Bizarre (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42318009)

So, the hand genes were just sitting around, waiting to be 'activated' by specific DNA?

No. But this is like a game of telephone. It starts and ends like this,

1. Scientists try to do some experiments to see if they can manipulate genes to see which ones differentiate limbs from fins. You know, since evolution says fish => land. (also land to fins, like whales)

2. After lots of work, scientists get a 4-day embryos that die that have different shaped fins, like autopods. So they found gene that may be a candidate.

3. Scientists communicate to press "Of course, we haven't been able to grow hands!"

4. Slashdot links to an article "Scientists Make Fish Grow Hands!!!!!!"

5. you,

I think that means that either Intelligent Design is real or we don't have really good terminology to describe what actually happened.

6. Scientists: "WTF?"

I guess next week in the news, "Scientists discover green man on Mars!!" and then someone will poast "It is a sign of creator!" and will be modded +5 Insightful.

Re:Bizarre (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42318345)

The same Intelligent Design that made us crave sweet/fat foods that cause us to grow fat and die?

Re:Bizarre (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42320525)

No, hands and fins develop from more or less the same gene sets. The difference is how, when, and to what extent all of the genes are expressed during development. By changing those attributes of expression, identical (or very nearly identical) gene sets can produce astoundingly different morphologies.

Re:Bizarre (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42320623)

BTW, I forgot to add: These differences in expression would fit quite well into both the theory of evolution and the theory of intelligent design.

In an evolutionary settings, it stands to reason that relatively small changes (like gene expression) are more likely to happen, and hence would be heavily represented among visible mutations.

In an intelligent design setting, anyone sufficiently intelligent to be manipulating life on a genetic level would intuitively find it much more efficient to simply manipulate the expression of genes than to start from scratch, and to whip up entirely new gene sets.

Overall, if you're looking to prove either of those theories is right or wrong, there are better places to invest your efforts. But if you want to debate intelligent design or evolution on a genetic basis, it would behoove you to first learn a bit more about genetics.

Hoax (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42317187)

Hoxd13 Contribution? Sounds like a Hoax

Thank you, scientists (1)

Spaseboy (185521) | about 2 years ago | (#42317295)

I've been waiting for you to give sharks opposable thumbs...

Re:Thank you, scientists (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 years ago | (#42317515)

How else are they supposed to put the lasers on their heads?

Already have those: (1)

mill3d (1647417) | about 2 years ago | (#42318867)

Lawyers...

What makes the hand-held lasers any better ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42317355)

The head-mounted ones worked just fine for both the sharks and the Predators...

I for one (2)

sjames (1099) | about 2 years ago | (#42317575)

I for one, welcome our tool using piscine overlords.

I have to ask... (3, Funny)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about 2 years ago | (#42317775)

Was there a thunderstorm raging outside when this experiment was conducted?

This just seems like the kind of experiment that would be conducted with a thunderstorm raging outside.

Just saying...

So whats in our existing code? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42318259)

If the code for hands was just siting around waiting to be activated. What code is sitting around in us waiting to be activated? Is it possible to activate it ourselves through our thoughts and actions or only through many generations of humanity bringing forth their expression? I'm not sure if this supports or denies intelligent design. I do think this shows that all life is much more closely related then any of us realize.

Re:So whats in our existing code? (1)

aiht (1017790) | about 2 years ago | (#42321793)

If the code for hands was just siting around waiting to be activated. What code is sitting around in us waiting to be activated? Is it possible to activate it ourselves through our thoughts and actions or only through many generations of humanity bringing forth their expression? I'm not sure if this supports or denies intelligent design. I do think this shows that all life is much more closely related then any of us realize.

Wow. All this shows is that you have not learned much about genetics. Yes, all life is much more closely related than you realized. But now you have realized, so... keep up the good work!

naturally (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 years ago | (#42318363)

This just in: Fish learning to jack off.

Tried to ... (1)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#42318469)

... grow a hot looking blond with a fish tail but screwed up.

Re:Tried to ... (1)

domatic (1128127) | about 2 years ago | (#42321965)

Let me guess, got a fish torso with human legs?

Put a bag on it's head and have fun anyway.

When we used to do stuff like that at the lab (1)

HangingChad (677530) | about 2 years ago | (#42318741)

When we used to do experiments like that at the lab we would get death threats from the religious crazies.

The only death threat I got was in college doing research on skewing the sex ratio in horses toward females. I was surprised a few people got so wrapped around the axle by that, doesn't seem like any big deal, even in hindsight.

Not like making fish grow hands or anything.

So they didn't really have hands... (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | about 2 years ago | (#42318765)

Did they have fins? Useless "hands" + no fins = dead fish.

Fish with hands is fine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42318911)

But birds with arms is where it's at.

Eat them up-- (1)

seven of five (578993) | about 2 years ago | (#42319113)

Yum.

Quite a jump (0)

ehaggis (879721) | about 2 years ago | (#42319613)

Quite a jump to make a string of organic material attached to a fish and claim that it somehow is the way fish developed legs. If I pump a fish full of air and it farts, is that the explanation I can use for my flatulence; "It's evolution!"

Now that they have hands... (1)

ehaggis (879721) | about 2 years ago | (#42319627)

...they can play scales.

Re:Now that they have hands... (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 2 years ago | (#42321385)

...they can play scales.

Of course, they are chordates after all.
     

Re:Now that they have hands... (1)

ehaggis (879721) | about 2 years ago | (#42323927)

It's funny you took note of that.

They were trying to develop.... (1)

m.shenhav (948505) | about 2 years ago | (#42319793)

.....lab grown FISH FINGERS! (how did it take this long for a fish finger joke to appear?)

So... (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about 2 years ago | (#42319865)

When doing stuff like this, do you have some evil scientist laugh you practice so you can do it and yell "IT'S ALIVE!"? Because if I were making fish grow hands, I'd pretty much have to do that. Hell, I did my evil scientist laugh and yelled "IT'S ALIVE!" when I got my C++ version of our perl-based satellite ephemeris code working. It's the first time I've ever heard the entire CM team shut up for like, ten seconds.

Honestly though, how big an achievement is this, really? Fish be growing, like, 2 heads and shit up around Idaho.

I am far more interested in prokayote=eukaryotes. (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 2 years ago | (#42320161)

There is little that shows how the organelles, or the difference in DNA came to be.

The opposite process was already known (4, Funny)

fatphil (181876) | about 2 years ago | (#42320317)

Scientists have long known that consumption of (sufficient quantities of) Koskenkorva can make Finns become legless.

Although strangely, when in this state, we tend to call them "our 4-legged friends" as they tumble off the ferry. So maybe they were gaining two legs after all.

Worst headline ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42320849)

This has to be one the worst, sensationalistic, bulls#!t headlines I've ever seen. The article quotes one the experimenters as saying "Of course, we haven't been able to grow hands,".

Re:Worst headline ever (1)

drkim (1559875) | about 2 years ago | (#42323795)

This has to be one the worst, sensationalistic, bulls#!t headlines I've ever seen. The article quotes one the experimenters as saying "Of course, we haven't been able to grow hands,".

You must be new here...

Surely you enjoyed these other fabulous Slashdot articles:
"Steve Jobs Rises From The Dead To Sue Everyone!"
"Linux Market Share Now Larger Than Windows And Mac Combined!"
"Inexpensive New Gadget Promises Time Travel!"
"Big Media Company Orders Executions Of Online Pirates!"

Hoax! They really came from Fukushima! (2)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about 2 years ago | (#42321149)

They're just trying to take credit for naturally evolved fish with hands found in the ocean at Fukushima.

Next thing you know, they'll try to take credit for creating Godzilla too.

Shameful...

Two fish walk into a bar (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 2 years ago | (#42321435)

one says to the other, "I need a hand finishing my ale here". The other says, "Well, Bud, I would fetch a scientist to help you grow arms, but I'm afraid you'd drink like a fish."

Wake me up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42322393)

Wake me up when they can make humans grow fins, ...or better yet, gills.

captain birdseye... (1)

queBurro (1499731) | about 2 years ago | (#42324413)

captain birdseye what have you done you monster
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