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<Help> How can I realistically use pantropy in a hard science fiction setting?
Welcome to the forums Smile Could you give a quick overview of your setting's general level of technology? That would help answer the question. Particularly it would be good to know what types of technology aren't available beyond mind uploading.

In our article on the subject there are a list of ways that pantropy can be achieved:

Cyborgs, biological sophonts augmented with artificial components
Tweaks; biological clades with minor or major adjustments to their genome
Artificial bodies; non-biological host bodies holding uploaded personalities
Neogens; with entirely new genomes designed from scratch.
Xenogens; with genomes and biochemistry based on local examples

Only one of those uses mind uploading and it doesn't necessarily have to (more on that in a bit). In theory genetic engineering, and biotech in general, could give rise to organisms that are adapted to a range of radical environments. Keeping it hard-SF the difficulties in this endeavour would be:

1) Designing the organism in question (even if its just a tweak of your own species)
2) Creating people based on the design

The second can be a big problem because it's one thing to genetically engineer offspring but another entirely to rewrite the genome of an adult organism once many critical stages in development are over (never mind the vector). If you want a particularly hard/realistic process for your setting I would make the change slow and steady over the course of generations. Restrict genetic engineering technology to the germline. Have the first colonists that arrive be normal humans who have to live on a spinning space station/domed city. This first generation work hard to figure out what traits an organism would need to thrive on the planet. They then engineer a batch of embryos and implant them in surrogates. These embryos are the second generation and their genomes have been tweaked to be closer to the end-goal without making them impossible for a pregnancy to bring to term. This second generation mostly live in the same environment but have their own sections more suited to them. They continue the work and engineer a third generation. So on and so forth with each generation being slightly more adapted than the next until eventually a batch is born that is perfectly adapted to the planet.
OA Wish list:
  1. DNI
  2. Internal medical system
  3. A dormbot, because domestic chores suck!

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RE: How can I realistically use pantropy in a hard science fiction setting? - by Rynn - 04-28-2016, 12:29 AM

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