Monday, 21 June 2010

Do you think that technology should determine our biology? asks James

James presents his argument about genetic technology.   
What are you views?

This articles is from James at and appears at


I Have The Perfect Body. I Have a Perfect Mind. I Never Get Sick. I'm Just Perfect.

Genetic engineering. It seems a little scary if you ask me. Movies like Gattaca, The Island, and I-Robot always make me wonder just how far off this technology is. Not too long ago, the plots in these thought-provoking movies seemed far-fetched. Now it seems like they could actually happen in today’s world. Remember it was only 1997 when Dolly, the first sheep cloned from an adult somatic cell, made a big splash on the international scene.

Fast forward to 2010, to date, there is not a cloned human in existence (that we know about). Regardless, we’ve made some major progress when it comes to understanding DNA and manipulating an organism’s genes. Have we made too much progress?

Soon, very soon, your neighbourhood pharmacy will carry a personal genetic test. That’s right, your very own personal genetic test. Walgreens was about to sell the product but yanked the order after the FDA wanted to know more about the procedure.

The soon to be released product, made by Pathway, tells you what specific diseases you’re susceptible to in your lifespan. It also identifies the reactions that you may have to certain types of drugs, and informs you what genes may mutate to cause diseases in your offspring.  All that in a drug store product. What’s next, identifying the genes that yield red heads, overweight people, homosexuals, and anyone with ADD?  Why don’t we just identify all the “undesirable” traits and get rid of them? Then, and only then, will it be a perfect society. Now that’s scary.

I like technology. I consider myself a fan. I get paid to create content for websites, I own an iPhone, I love new gadgets, and I am always online. From computers to sustainable energy, I think technology is going to bring about enormous amounts of positive change within the next decade. However, there is a downside to all this technology. Do I really need to know my DNA?  Do I need to know if my offspring will have disease X? Do they need to identify undesirable traits? Do they need to create a cloned human? I think not. I think Mother Nature is the last person we should mess with.

I think that our DNA plays a role in the order of things. We are supposed to have death, just like we are supposed to have birth. Its nature and I think if we start marking, manipulating, and toying with DNA we’re going to throw off the balance of life. Who knows… worse things could happen when you mess with biology and Mother Nature.

Maybe it’s too soon to talk about this. Could you just imagine what would happen if big business got involved in genetic engineering? They could use your genetic information to sell you all the drugs and medical care you need for the ailment you’ll have in 10 years time. There would be companies that would assist you when you are ready to pick out the traits of your offspring.

Fast forward to 2030. Gyms and healthy websites like would be a relic of the past because most, if not all diseases have been eliminated. Everyone is healthy, buff, and perfect. It turns out that blonde hair and blue eyes was a desirable trait after all. In 2030 it is the most desirable trait when designing your new child.

Maybe I am going a little overboard with the outcome of the technology but you have to admit, it doesn’t seem too far off.  I am just a little concerned about technology when it’s used to determine our biology. Don’t get me wrong. We should study everything about DNA for scientific advancement and disease-curing purposes. But when it comes to genetically engineering our genes… I say no way!

How much genetic engineering is too much? Do you think it’s a good thing or bad thing?

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