I recently viewed the movie Gattaca, a sci-fi movie, in which society analyzes each human's DNA to determine their status in life. The hero, Vincent Freeman (played by Ethan Hawke), works as a janitor because of a heart defect. In direct contrast, Vincent's parents carefully select their second son for desirable traits to achieve as much perfection as possible. Vincent's longing to go into space causes him to decide to disappear from society, undergo dramatic physical changes, and re-emerge as someone with the "right" DNA to go on a space mission.
While watching the film, I felt aware of our society's trend towards these kind of practices, but didn't realize just how far we've fallen. Yesterday, Guardian Unlimited published "Improved Embryo Test Cuts Risk of Hereditary Illness."
"British scientists announced today an advanced screening test for embryos, using a form of DNA fingerprinting, which could help prevent couples passing inherited disorders such as cystic fibrosis on to their children."
This screening test won't prevent couples from passing inherited disorders on; instead it will involve the elimination and death of children with those inherited disorders.
We're closer to Gattaca than I thought.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Posted by the traveler at 9:01 PM