The Human Genome in Human Context
: Scientists recently announced that they had virtually completed the task of mapping the human genome. The implications of such an event vary. Some believe it will usher in a new era of Genetic Engineering
, complete with a multitude of ethical fears
such as the insurability of people with genetically identifiable risks for diseas or the creation of an entirely new form of Humanity. The author of the article believes that we really don't have much to worry about right now. While we may have mapped the genome, we have do not yet know how to apply it. Some quotes from the article:
"Enhancements in human abilities that may come through genetic engineering will in most cases be negligible compared to those already achieved, or achievable in the future, through tools."
"The problem is compounded by the fact that the relation of genes to traits is not one�to�one. Some traits are influenced by many genes, and some genes influence many traits. The law of unintended consequences is therefore bound to operate with a vengeance."
"...there is already quite conclusive evidence that human behavior, though strongly conditioned by genetics, is not completely determined by it. "
All in all, a fascinating article and a refreshing change from the typical Horrors of Genetics diatribe. I don't think we'll be heading for a world like the one presented in the film Gattaca
any time soon...