Stargate Atlantis Gets Biomechanical

By Stephen Cass | July 22, 2008 5:18 pm

Screenshot from the Stargate Atlantis episode titled “Seed”On the last episode of Stargate Atlantis, several of the characters were accidentally infected with an unusual pathogen: one that reprograms their bodies to begin the first stage of the process used to construct a Wraith starship. Wraith starships are biomechanical, that is they are made from organic, semi-alive materials rather than built out of metal, rubber and other more familiar materials. In fact Wraith ships aren’t really built at all — as the episode demonstrates, they’re grown.

In the real world, we’re actually making progress on what could be the distant ancestor of this technology. At places like Brown University, MIT, and Berkeley researchers are working on synthetic biology: the goal is to reprogram the DNA of microbes so that they can be used to construct minature machines, or act as tiny computers to process information. (A special shout out to DISCOVER’s 2006 Scientist of the Year, Jay Keasling.) There is even a contest — The International Genetically Engineered Machine competition — hosted by MIT. Teams of students use a library of standard “parts” (genetic sequences that perform specific fuctions) known as BioBricks to make their creations. Winners of this year’s competition will be announced in November.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Apocalypse, Biotech, TV

Comments (3)

  1. i’m a huge stargate nerd. ive seen every single film, episode and show. I’m re watching SG1. I dont know how i feel about SGU yet though. not really liking it.

  2. I discovered your weblog website on google and check a couple of of your early posts. Proceed to keep up the excellent operate. I simply additional up your RSS feed to my MSN Information Reader. In search of ahead to reading extra from you later on!…

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »