Life connected au des while technology evolves by design?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Gattaca is the best fiction I have seen (commentary/spoilers ahead)

The protaganist of Gattaca is a man born with bad genes. Although such impacts of his genes are not certain (just probable), Gattaca sees his genes as good for nothing but cleaning. Then one day he gets a crippled Eugene to give him samples to fake out Gattaca's genetic screening and immediately gets an upper-tier job where he climbs the ladder of success but suddenly has to dodge an investigation long enough to realize his life's dream. But in addition to its messages about essentialism, Gattaca also portrays a society in which peaceful eugenics has become normalized even among those who do not essentialize1.

If germ-line engineering (genetic modification of the reproductive cells) were available in Gattaca, its protaganist could have married his girlfriend. She found him an exceptional individual but considered his genetic material unreliable for making children. Even if a geneticist could select the best of him, there would be less of the best of him than those whose genes had already been distilled from their parents' this way.

Juncos usually form lifetime male-female social pairs, but scientists have observed that the offspring of non-monogamous but otherwise ordinary members of this species have an advantage. The advantage of unfaithful birds' offspring does not necessarily come from genetically superior sires but rather sires that are more genetically compatible with their mothers, creating chromosome pairs that work in tandem to engender better performance in life. The mothers' mates have no problem with this because they unconditionally love their pair-bonded partners.2

1Niccol, Andrew (Writer). (1997). Gattaca [DVD].

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