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dimanche 12 octobre 2014

Animals that don't Exist

The Worm

The worm, Neongenesis prime, is the first artificial “life” known to mankind. The word “life” is used loosely here, since whether or not the worm is truly a life-form is still subject to debate.
The worm seems to have been created around 2011 AD. By whom and for what purpose is as of yet unknown. In fact, very little is known about the worm, and its origins. As of today, we know that it is an A.I. that is based on genetic algorithms to allow it to learn, and absorb new information. But the exact mechanisms of its code are still a mystery.
Designed to be as stealthy as possible, the worm will erase itself before it risks being detected. Only a handful of fragments from the original code have been retrieved by researchers. Because of this stealthiness, it is unknown how widespread the worm is, and what its exact functions might include. One thing is for certain, though: it is capable of spreading itself, and can penetrate even the most secure networks. In addition, researchers believe it is able to adapt to new security procedures, learning how to evade the latest technology. However, the reason for which we consider the worm a life-form is something else entirely.
One of the rare instances in which a fragment of the code has been retrieved happened in one of the genetic engineering laboratories of Monsanta, the worlds largest agricultural corporation. Not only did the IT-team at Monsanta manage to recover a fragment of the code, they were also able to trace the activities of the worm to some extent. The worm had modified the genes technicians at Monsanta were implanting into known strains of plants and animals.
It had hijacked the gene-extraction and -insertion mechanisms to create its own code, one base at a time, and then insert them into the plants and animals instead of the genes selected by Monsanta. When Monsanta inserts new genes into an existing code, those genes are extracted from another life-form, and their functionality is known and tested (although their interactions with their new host are another matter). But the worm created genes from scratch, something the equipment wasn't supposed to be doing. The first reverse-cyborg had just seen the light of day.
For how long the worm had time to modify genomes before he was found by the researchers is a mystery. And Monsanta are not the only ones with laboratories capable of such feats. For now, the plants that were issue of the worm's latest experiment seem to be growing normally. But who knows what might happen once nature and technology decide to team up?

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