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Hollywood has been showing it to us for years. Frankenstein, The Six
Million Dollar Man, Jurassic Park, etc.; the list goes on. All these movies show
man’s instinct to create. This fiction of playing God in recent years is
becoming a reality.
In 1952, deoxyribonucleic acid was discovered(Dewitt, 1994). The spiral
staircase molecule, DNA. DNA is the building block of life. This block holds
the code for every aspect of any life on the planet Earth. DNA decides whether
one life will be a plant or rhinoceros. DNA also carries the information that
tells how smart, creative, bossy, shy, athletic, or any other description you
can think of. The secret code of DNA would prove to be invaluable. This is
the reason the Human Genome Project has been started. Scientist around the world
are using super computers to crack the code. This 15 year project is predicted
to end by the year 2005(Dewitt, 1994). That is only 10 years from now. What does
that mean to the average Joe?
Well, today we already live with genetically engineered items. The FDA
has approved bioengineered tomatoes that ripen without rotting(Dewitt, 1994).
Entire herds of cattle are now being injected with a growth hormone(BST) so that
they will produce more milk than ordinary cattle(Dewitt, 1994). Also drought
resistance grass that needs no moving.
Scientists will soon be able to collect DNA from endangered species.
This DNA could be used to clone more condors, bald eagle, mountain gorillas, and
many other animals. Totally extinct animals may be recreated as well, i.e.
Jurassic Park. Imagine having your own dodo bird or pet triceratops.
Many types of diseases will be cured. Just take out the gene that giving
you the problem. Pure panacea. As soon as a baby is born his or hers parents
will know everything about him or her. If they will be artistic. Will she get
breast cancer? Will he be tall or short? Is he a genius. Ten years from 2005,
these questions won’t even have to be asked. Made to order babies.
Made to order babies?!? Is this where we are headed? It’s only a matter
of time before a president’s hair clippings are swept up at a barbershop and
then used to detect what diseases he has or is susceptible to. The rich may one
day be able to obtain immortality by cloning themselves. I couldn’t picture
three Donald Trumps all thinking the same.
There is even a darker side to this. Governments may decide to create
super soldiers. Killing machines with top physical and mental prowess. This was
the dream of Adolf Hitler himself. These genetic alterations may also only be
accessible to the rich. Darwin’s rule of evolution, survival of the fittest; if
this holds true, anyone with more than 25% melanin in their skin(Afrikans
mainly)will be left out. The perfect man and woman will be a reality with
genetic engineering. What is the perfect man or woman? That is a question no one
knows, but probably someone will soon define. Mankind may get so intelligent
that we forget all of our animal instincts.
As with all things, there can be a good side and a bad side. Genetic
engineering will have a major effect on our future society. There will be many
social changes. It is hard enough today to know whether someone has breast
implants or if there hair is real. We might have to guess if a person was born
or manufactured at Genes R’ Us(Dewitt, 1994). A greater sense of deception and
mistrust will invade the psyche of the masses. Our behavior itself may itself be
a manufactured product of some person in a white lab coat. Many believe that
the Internet and online services will lead to the elimination of personal
privacy. Genetic and bioengineering just maybe the end to human nature.
Elmer-Dewitt, Philip (1994, January). The Genetic Revolution. TIME
Magazine, Vol. 143 No. 2
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