Because Science: How Captain America's Super-Soldier Serum Could Work in Real Life

Wednesday, 29 April 2015 - 12:52PM
Wednesday, 29 April 2015 - 12:52PM
Because Science: How Captain America's Super-Soldier Serum Could Work in Real Life
In Captain America: The First Avenger, Steve Rogers goes from a skinny, frail young man to a big and strong super-soldier, all thanks to some kind of "super-soldier serum" and a chamber that hits him with some kind of radiation called "vita rays." But could this happen in real life? According to Nerdist's new webseries, Because Science, scientists could potentially create an ideal super-soldier using similar means, although the technology is still in its infancy.

In the above video, host Kyle Hill explains that Captain America's powers are technically within the realm of possibility, as he is "not superhuman, but at the absolute peak of possible human performance." In order to transform him into a super-soldier, the government would need to modify his genes. Hill claims they could use the gene editing method called CRISPR, which is also the means by which scientists recently genetically modified embryos for the first time in history, in order to "switch off" certain genes, turn others on, and change the ways in which others are expressed. Since we know the specific genes responsible for traits like muscle growth and hemoglobin efficiency, the creation of a human with "superhuman" levels of strength and endurance is theoretically possible.


However, this method would not take effect immediately, but rather would change Steve Rogers's physique over a long period of time. This is where the vita rays come in, as they can be assumed to be analogous to light-activated drug delivery systems. We haven't yet perfected the technology, but according to Hill, scientists are "looking into" this method of drug delivery. 

"If Steve Rogers was [sic] injected with some gene editing formula inside some light-activated nanomaterials, then feasibly the super-soldier formula and vita-chamber could work in tandem to create the perfect soldier. But that kind of work is decades away. Why? Because science.

Hail Hydra!"

And here are a few other Because Science videos on nerd-friendly topics, including how Daredevil can "see without sight," whether lightsabers can exist in real life, how Iron Man's suit doesn't kill him when he flies, why the Flash is faster than you think, how fast the world would be overtaken in case of a zombie apocalypse, how much building a Death Star would cost, how consciousness works in Chappie, and why the Hulk is green:

Science of Sci-Fi

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