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Is I am Legend possible?

  1. Jun 28, 2010 #1
    Is "I am Legend" possible?

    Ok, in the I am Legend storyline someone comes up with some sort of gene therapy treatment for cancer that uses retroviruses. It works well until the retrovirus unexpectedly mutates, turning people into a new feral, zombie like species. I wonder, is this even possible? If not, why?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 28, 2010 #2
    Re: Is "I am Legend" possible?

    I find it difficult to say what is possible and what is not, but there is this: there are many retroviruses already, but we live without hordes of zombies. I would be more concerned about the LCH opening a portal for little green men to probe our collective rectums. (and I am not concerned about that, for the record)

    Consider: what mechanisms would require massive alterations to create a feral human who could survive, or "zombie-like"? You're talking about a massive series of alterations that might not be possible based on the human genome, so while anything may be possible, no, it is my opinion that this is not. I would be far more concerned about a cancer treatment that causes a different kind of cancer, than I would about zombies.

    Now, having said that, if I wanted to make human zombies, I would look to the Caribbean legend: what would allow for long-term dissociation and aggression? I would think about something along the lines of an anticholinergic drug, along the lines of: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datura as a dissociative drug. I don't think the result would be the kind of zombie you're thinking of, unless a bunch of nude and delirious people is your notion of a zombie nation.
  4. Jun 29, 2010 #3
    Re: Is "I am Legend" possible?

    So in other words, no. Thanks.
  5. Jun 29, 2010 #4
    Re: Is "I am Legend" possible?

    Yeah, in other words, no! :rofl:

    I wanted to give your notion a fair hearing however, so "just no" would have seemed a little curt and unfair.
  6. Jun 29, 2010 #5
    Re: Is "I am Legend" possible?

    Well I did ask why not. :) Personally I suspected it would be no, but I was curious as to why in any event. Anyway if you haven't seen the movie it is pretty interesting. Worth a look.
  7. Jun 30, 2010 #6
    Re: Is "I am Legend" possible?

    Sorry to break in here but...

    What if the vacine had been created from parts of other existing viruses like rabies? It almost seems to me that the Zombies were somewhat like "Mad dogs", rabid animals.

    So maybe the vacine gets very widely used, years go by and something makes parts of the rabies virus re-activate making most people "get" rabies and turn into mad-dog-rabid-animal Zombies?

    The original "Omega Man" was pretty good too!
  8. Jun 30, 2010 #7
    Re: Is "I am Legend" possible?

    It's already happening. Have you seen the gangs of "tweekers" and "crackheads" roaming the cities on foot.
  9. Jun 30, 2010 #8
    Re: Is "I am Legend" possible?

    I hate zombies, so I say no, it can not happen.
  10. Jun 30, 2010 #9
    Re: Is "I am Legend" possible?

    A vaccine, no, but could you engineer a tough, enraged, stupid and aggressive human? Probably. Could those traits lead to long-term survival? Doubtful.
  11. Jun 30, 2010 #10
    Re: Is "I am Legend" possible?

    There was a really oddball sci-fi movie and I wish I could remember the name but it was along similiar lines as the movie "I am Legend" (which should not be confused with the short story "I am legend" they are completely different.)

    It went like this.
    The gene which affects the fight or fright instinct (but mostly the violent side) was combined with men's sex drive in a retrovirus by aliens. This caused all the men on the planet to kill all the women. The human race ended ; the end.
  12. Jul 1, 2010 #11
    Re: Is "I am Legend" possible?

    That is far more feasible than the longevity and physical changes of "zombies". If you want to end the species, then this is a possibility, even with some who are immune, enough men control essential infrastructure such as the military that destruction is possible.
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