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Old 21-06-2008, 11:01 PM posted to bionet.plants
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First recorded activity by GardenBanter: Jun 2008
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Default Challenge of Creating Man Eating Plants

The possibility of creating carnivorous plants large enough to eat
people is intriguing. While, disappointingly, man-eating plants are
currently confined to the halls of sci-fi, it seems like it should be
possible to create carnivorous species that are large enough to chow
down on YOU! If we genetically re-engineered existing meat-eating
flora in regards to growth-control then maybe we can have REAL "Little
Shops of Horrors" in the future?

There is a claim that genetically-reengineered housecats are now
available, the four-foot long Ashera cat. However, there is
controversy over this how this over-$20,000 per kitty species came
about and whether or not the creator and his company are perpetrating
a fraud.

But, regardless of the validity of the Ashera Cat claim, there
certainly is ever-growing activity in genetic reengineering. For
instance, reengineered lawn grass is creating a controversy due to the
fact that it has "gotten out of the lab."

The device and technique used for altering the grass' DNA are
described in the article:

"A boxy-looking, foot-tall machine, the biolistic gun (from biology
and ballistics) inserts genes into plants. Fragile genes are bound to
tiny bits of tungsten or gold. These microprojectiles are then fired
into plant cells. Most shots miss, or they make it through the rigid
cell wall but not into the nucleus. If you repeat the process enough
times, though, a few rounds eventually penetrate the nucleus, adding
the new trait to the plant's genetic code. "

Possibly changing growth limits is not enough; maybe the structure
could not support its own weight if caused to get too big. Then it
would be necessary to REALLY reengineer it....such as by adding and
rearranging DNA to create a skeletal support structure? Well, then it
gets hyper-complicated. But with sufficient advances in biotech, maybe
this is possible? In any case, while this is only about ten percent as
cool as resurrecting dinosaurs, it is probably also a lot easier. So,
on the way to bringing back the dinosaurs, shouldn't we like to see
the development of man eating plants?

For your edutainment, here is some video on man eating plants:

OK, OK, well, then there's this:

In trying to figure out what the scientific name for this
classification might be, I was thinking, well, "homo sapiens" is too
long to fit in and "homovorous" sounds weird. How about the Greek word
for Man, "Andros?" So I decided on "Androvorous Plants."

I hereby announce the establishment of an institute for developing man-
eating plants: the Group for Research into Androvorous Botanicals, or
GRAB. While donations to GRAB are not yet tax-deductible, they ARE

Now, of course, you probably do not want to be responsible for people
getting eaten by plants so you would want to see the plants fed, say,
slabs of raw beef from the grocery store. GRAB has a civilized Policy
Statement that once carnivorous plants large enough to eat people are
developed, they will be fed in such preferred, genteel manners. Like
they way they feed lions at the zoo. But if someone, somewhere, gets a
hold of this technology/species/DNA such that you start hearing about
people getting eaten, do not worry. YOU are not responsible. After
all, YOU feed yours slabs of beef and YOU signed on to GRAB's
civilized Policy Statement! Thus, when awesome videos of people
getting eaten by man eating plants start showing up on YouTube, you
get all the excitement and none