Monday, July 5, 2010

Holly Armishaw [9]

Holly Armishaw
Vancouver - CANADA

“Human Genome Project” 1999

“The ‘Human Genome Project’ is an international research program designed to construct detailed genetic and physical maps of human DNA, to localize the estimated 50,000 to 100,000 genes within the human genome, and to perform similar analysis on the genomes of several other organisms used extensively in research as model systems. The scientific products of the HGP will comprise a resource of detailed information about the structure, organization and function of human DNA…” (U.S. National Institute of Health, Division of Extramural Research). This new biotechnology has already led to the commodification of human DNA. Presently, ads are being run on national television, which offer parents the ability to prescreen their planned protégé for any number of hereditary diseases or disorders. What many people don’t know, is that genetic engineering goes beyond the screening of disease, it also allows for the selection of desirable traits. Parents are able to purchase designer genes for things like hair and eye colour, height, and even, someday soon, the genes responsible for superior intelligence potential. The issue that I wish to bring forth is that this technology will create a whole new breeding ground for discrimination. One major concern is, who will have access to this technology, or rather, who can afford designer genes? When these stronger, healthier and brighter babies grow up and go to school, how will the unfortunate normal children compete? One can imagine that within the next ten years, this technology will become widespread public knowledge. Designer babies will become a trendy, status symbol – a consumer object. “Gap Genes” represents the current standard of genetic engineering, the standard prescreening, 'just the basics. Before long, the frills will become available, at a higher cost to the consumer; hence “DKNY Genes”. Money can buy anything, including people in the future. At this point, one can only hypothesize what long-term effect genetic engineering will have on the human population.

- Holly Armishaw

No comments:

Post a Comment