Shape our genes now for our future planet
To live on a planet with no dry land, the Sharers “lifeshaped” their own genes. Webbed fingers and toes, and symbiotic “breathmicrobes” adapted them to a water world.
Should we do the same? Our own coasts will be flooding soon; maybe Floridians could use webbed feet. Our own Earth is inexorably becoming “alien,” an overheated world lacking ice and full of violent storms. As I discussed at Scientific American, we might have to think about reshaping ourselves for our own planet. To protect ourselves from nuclear power disasters, we could engineer greater resistance to radiation — the bacterium Deinococcus radiodurans can withstand far more radiation than we can, for instance, so why not make use of those bacterial genes. As freshwater dried up, genetic engineers are busy adapting nitrogen-fixing bacteria to nourish plants in salty soil. But we’ll need to make ourselves more salt-tolerant too.
Should we start adapting humans to our alien future home–before it’s too late?
Note: Since comments questioned rising sealevels, seven meters (7 m) in the next century is a conservative guess.
Sixty Meters (60 m–yes, meters) is possible if the Antarctic melts.
And remember–whether 7 meters or 60, it won’t stop there.
That’s what The Highest Frontier is about.