my question is as follows: How cold temperatures can withstand a genetically modified person who has the opportunity for a long time (more than a day ) at low temperatures (below -30 ° Celsius ) to acquire a special layer of dense hair, like what we can see in penguins?

The plumage of penguins is dense and dense: some small short feathers cover the body of the bird like a tile, protecting it from getting wet in cold water.

https://pikabu.ru/story/sherstyanoy_pingvin_6554346?cid=135510523 ( Only photographs of the plumage structure of the Emperor Penguin are important. Is it possible to create similar in my people? )

In General, how much cold this genetically modified person can withstand and how much it is possible to preserve the human form ( so that in normal times it does not differ from another ordinary person)

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Why would anybody even think of using generic engineering for such trivial purpose? We don't have to grow feathers, because we are smart humans, not dumb birds: we use coats stuffed with insulating materials, which we can put on when needed and take off when we want to. Historically, we actually even used penguin down to stuff some our coats, but today we have even better insulating materials. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Commented Jan 4, 2020 at 10:34
  • $\begingroup$ I know and understand everything perfectly, but imagine a situation where this genetically modified person is almost naked in the cold. If kurtik/coats or coats just yet. As far as the above modification. It is a thin subcutaneous layer, which at cold temperatures quite quickly produce the above hair (fur ) cover of black color, for maximum thermal insulation quality and absorption of sunlight. At what minimum temperatures will this man plus be able to survive? $\endgroup$
    – user71408
    Commented Jan 4, 2020 at 10:59
  • $\begingroup$ Plumage works by trapping air creating a layer of barrier between skin and the freezing temperature outside however since you are going for GMO try special protein which is antifreeze and let the person hibernate instead. $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Commented Jan 4, 2020 at 11:28
  • $\begingroup$ I know about antifreeze and also use them, but at the moment I am also interested in this particular option. But if you have better suggestions that allow a genetically modified person to survive and, in principle, to feel full at a temperature of several tens of degrees Celsius below zero. It would be very good that this GMO person does not differ externally from the ordinary. What in addition to a dense layer of subcutaneous fat can be added or improved in the body? $\endgroup$
    – user71408
    Commented Jan 4, 2020 at 11:54
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Can we use blubber, like a seal? Because I have a head start on that adaptation. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Commented Jan 4, 2020 at 18:12

1 Answer 1


Keratinous structures such as feathers tend to take a while to grow in and appear. Maybe your genetically modified people could secrete something as a temporary coping mechanism for the cold.

Perhaps an aerogel layer could work. Aerogels are excellent insulators because they employ many small pockets of air or gas suspended in gel. They are extremely lightweight due to high air content and could be produced with a variety of substances, from silica or carbon to metal oxides.

Aerogels provide insulation from both heat and cold. The properties depend on the substances used, and one company has produced aerogel containing jackets that can withstand temperatures of as low as -196C (-321F). One thing to note is that aerogels can be rather hard and brittle, so if over skin for example, an aerogel layer may eventually crack off.

If your people can secrete aerogel through their pores in the extreme cold, then perhaps it would work well as a temporary insulating layer. That way, they could still look like an average human when the gel layer flakes off (maybe if they entered warm temperatures and stopped secreting the aerogel).

Aerogel can be produced with carbon, an element already abundant in the body and diet. Aerogels may even be rather cheap to produce metabolically, as they are mostly air. Your genetically modified people could have special glands or cells in their skin, maybe much like sweat glands, that secrete carbon gels into which the cells release carbon dioxide gas(or another gas) instead of liquids. Carbon may do the job well, but if you look around at the properties of silica aerogels and metal oxide aerogels, you may find more favorable properties.

Over days, they could produce aerogel from the skin. They could even use waste products or toxins in their aerogels, solving the insulation problem while maybe even saving themselves from poisoning.

  • $\begingroup$ Is it possible to ferment (create natural ways ) aerogel in the subcutaneous layer, like subcutaneous fat? That is, it will not change its thermal insulation properties? ( just with the above variant of its allocation through the pores, there is a problem-its rapid loss, it is quickly spent ) $\endgroup$
    – user71408
    Commented Jan 5, 2020 at 6:35
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I don't see why not. You could add a layer of aerogel producing cells beneath the skin. So long as the cells produce a gas (via fermentation or other means) and a gel substance, they should be able to produce aerogel and maintain it below the skin. $\endgroup$
    – Cas
    Commented Jan 5, 2020 at 15:13
  • $\begingroup$ can you please describe the process of how human cells can ferment an airgel? That is, how will the body make it? $\endgroup$
    – user71408
    Commented Jan 5, 2020 at 17:13
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You also said that the thermal insulation properties of an "airgel" depend on its composition. And that he is able to tolerate both low and high temperatures. Would it be possible to alternate layers (that is, have a multilayer structure) of highly specialized types of airgel? To be able to withstand critical temperatures for ordinary people, both high and low. What will be the temperature limits for the above "superman"? $\endgroup$
    – user71408
    Commented Jan 5, 2020 at 17:54

You must log in to answer this question.