Three-Person Babies Just Two Years Off
While the future of mankind is unknowable, illustrator Nickolay Lamm (NickolayLamm.com) has produced a set of imaginative evolutionary changes to the human face over the next 100,000 years. This far future look was inspired by conversations Lamm had with Dr. Alan Kwan, an expert in computational genomics from Washington University, St Louis, Missouri. Kwan bases his speculation on phylogenomics, which determines the evolutionary relationships of life forms by comparing large datasets of gene sequences. Here are four possible facial configurations that humans may evolve through over the next hundred millennia. First off, we begin with a "normal" male and female of today.
20,000 A.D. -- Humans have a larger head and forehead that is subtly too large. The yellow ring around the eyes represents a communications lens -- the "Google Glass" of the future. The contact lenses relay hi-resolution visual information on an array of bioluminescent biobots (bacteria-based robots) and gives humans a removable and toggleable heads-up display and video communications. Hair is finer but grows denser because its role of containing heat loss from the enlarged head remains unchanged.
60,000 A.D. -- Head size increases to accommodate a larger brain. Pigmented skin is engineered to better deal with effects of radiation among space colonies. The genetic construction of thicker eyelids and more pronounced arch alleviates the effects of low or zero-gravity that has been found to disrupt and disorient the eyesight of today’s astronauts. Wearable technology continues but remains in subtle forms and limited permanence. Miniature bone-conduction devices implanted above the ear now work with the communications lenses.
100,000 A.D. -– Facial engineering is now heavily biased towards features that we find fundamentally appealing: strong, regal lines, straight nose, intense eyes, and placement of facial features that adhere to the golden ratio and left/right perfect symmetry. By today’s standards the eyes are now unnervingly large (but awfully big “windows to the soul”). Genetically boosted layer of cells behind the retina (the tapetum lucidum) enhance night vision and gives humans a cat-like glowing “green eye” look.
If the UK legalizes it, babies could be created from three people in about two years, scientists said.
The next generation of IVF would involve the eggs of two women and the sperm of one man in order to prevent mitochondrial diseases, scientists reported to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.
Mitochondrial disease affects one in every 6,500 babies, and is passed on from the mother. By combining the healthy mitochondria from a donor with the nucleus of the mother’s egg, scientists believe two slightly different methods could implant a healthy embryo in the mother’s womb.
“Mitochondrial donation will give women who carry severe mitochondrial disease the opportunity to have children without passing on devastating genetic disorders,” a spokesperson said.
Babies born via the process would inherit genetic material from three people, because mitochondria contain DNA.
The review, which was commissioned by the government, calls for more detailed testing to assess the safety of the procedure, especially in regards to future generations of transferred mitochondria.
“Are these techniques safe in humans? We won’t know that until it’s actually done in humans,” Andy Greenfield, who chaired the scientific review panel, told the BBC. “Until a healthy baby is born we cannot say 100 percent that these techniques are safe, if you think back to when IVF was a new technology all of these questions were asked before IVF.”