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The Evolutionary Perspective
Category Archives: Neo-eugenics
Posted: November 27, 2016 at 9:51 am
Title Length Color Rating Gattaca, A Film by Andrew Niccol – Gattaca, A Film by Andrew Niccol Exactly five seconds after he came into the world, Vincent Freeman was already considered to be a loser. His first genetic test revealed high probabilities of hyperactivity, sight troubles and serious heart diseases, a life expectancy of 30 years and 2 months and quite low intellectual faculties. At that time, the artificial insemination of test tube babies selected according to their genetic potential had become for many people the natural way of making children…. [tags: Movie Films Gattaca Niccol Essays] 1596 words (4.6 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Gattaca: A Philosophical Analysis – Brimming with ultramodern scenery and metaphysical speculation, Gattaca is a profound glimpse into the not-so-distant future of humanity. Vincent, the main character, is a frustrated faith birth living in a world in which his genetically manipulated peers have succeeded him in every competition. Motivated by an unquenchable fascination with space, Vincent recruits the chronically petulant but genetically flawless Jerome Morrow, who allows Vincent to assume his genetic identity in exchange for companionship and free alcohol…. [tags: Literary Themes] :: 2 Works Cited 1070 words (3.1 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Gattaca and Jurassic Park – The films Gattaca, directed by Andrew Niccol in 1997, and Jurassic Park, directed by Stephen Spielberg in 1993 seem like two films that have no connection. Gattaca is a film about a man, Vincent Freeman, overcoming his genetic disadvantage to become an astronaut. Jurassic Park on the other hand is a film about bringing dinosaurs back to life, while also causing massive chaos. However, despite these major differences in plot, both films are based on a similar idea, genetic engineering. Genetic engineering is defined as the process of directly affecting the genetic makeup of an individual using biotechnology…. [tags: film, andrew niccol, stephen spielberg] :: 3 Works Cited 1110 words (3.2 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Analysis of the Bioethical Issues in Gattaca – Analysis of the Bioethical Issues in Gattaca Biology is the science of life. Technology uses science to solve problems. Our society has progressed in its understanding of life to the point that we are able to manipulate it on a fundamental level through technology. This has led to profound ethical dilemmas. The movie Gattaca explores some important bioethical issues that are currently the focus of much dispute. The underlying thematic issue presented is the question of the extent to which biologically inherent human potential determines the true potential of a person…. [tags: Papers] 843 words (2.4 pages) Better Essays [preview] Brave New World and Gattaca – Brave New World and Gattaca Huxley Living in a genetically perfect world is not necessarily a great achievement to mankind. It makes one think, “where do you draw the line in the advancement of eugenics?” Both worlds, the Brave New one and Gattaca, are alternative futures (clearly dystopic), written and shown in a believable way (not as much in BNW, though) through the use of satire. Also, for GATTACA, the director incorporates the traditional elements of movie – a murder-mystery tied in with a love story PLUS a science fiction touch – very effectively. Satire in Huxley’s novel is glaringly obvious (mockery of the education system and the morals of today along wi… [tags: Brave New World] 624 words (1.8 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Gattaca The Movie And Discrimination – In the movie Gattaca the main character Anton was discriminated against because of his gene makeup. Anton never even had a chance in the society in Gattaca because the potential employees of companies were not tested on their skills or knowledge but on their physical and mental possibilities. The same society also used derogatory terms for people like Anton. Just because his parents decided that he would come into the world naturally instead of through gene therapy or alteration. Terms like faith birth’; and invalid’; were used against Anton…. [tags: essays research papers] 409 words (1.2 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Gattaca – Gattaca is a movie directed by Andrew Niccol and the film is set in the “not too distant future.” Andrew Niccol’s perception of the future isn’t what most people expect, but once thought about carefully it seems quite believable. This movie presents us with a new method in which society strives for perfection and it also makes us wonder if genetic engineering is morally correct. Your place in society in Gattaca is based on your genetic makeup and the way you were born. People born the way we know as natural are “in-valids”…. [tags: Movies Film] 703 words (2 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Comparison of Scales of Justice and Gattaca – Comparison of Scales of Justice and Gattaca The texts Scales Of Justice and Gattaca are two texts which allow the reader to witness a variety of interpretations and explore the relevant issues that are visible within contemporary society. Such issues as corruption within the police force, racism, sexual harassment, discrimination and manipulation of power are shown to give different interpretations of issues which plague todays society and potentially our future. Scales Of Justice shows the corruption in the police force…. [tags: Contemporary Society Literature Essays] 3904 words (11.2 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Gattaca – The story of Vincent shows in Gattaca that there is possibility of beating the genetic engineering system. Vincent is one of the last naturally born babies born into a sterile, genetically enhanced world, where life expectancy and disease likelihood are ascertained at birth. Myopic and due to die at 30, he has no chance of a career in a society that now discriminates against your genes, instead of your gender, race or religion. Vincent an invalid, dreams of working within Gattaca and making it into space…. [tags: essays research papers] 667 words (1.9 pages) Good Essays [preview] Gattaca – Film Name: GATTACA Director / Writer: Andrew Niccol Producers: Danny DeVito, Michael Shamberg, and Stacey Sher Co-Producer: Gail Lyon Main Characters: Ethan Hawk as Jerome Morrow / Vincent Uma Thurman as Irein Jude Law as Eugene / Jerome Morrow Summary of Film: The film starts out in the not-too-distant future. The setting is a dark almost surreal view of Nineteen-Fifty Retro. In fact, every object in the film has a Fifties look to it, yet every thing was operated with future technology…. [tags: essays research papers] 799 words (2.3 pages) Strong Essays [preview] 1984, by George Orwell and Gattaca, by Andrew Niccol – Nineteen Eighty-Four written by George Orwell and Gattaca directed by Andrew Niccol are prophetic social commentaries which explore the broad social wrong of a totalitarian government. Both texts depict a futuristic, dystopian society in which individuality is destroyed in favour of faceless conformity. Niccol and Orwell through the experiences of their protagonists reflect the impact isolation from society has on individuals. The authors of both texts also use their protagonists Winston, who cannot understand the rhetoric of the government party and Vincent, who is trapped, unable to achieve his dreams because of his imperfect genome, to demonstrate individual rebellion against society and… [tags: Prophetic Social Commentaries] 987 words (2.8 pages) Better Essays [preview] Genetic Perfection in Gattaca – Genetic Perfection in Gattaca Topic: “The world of Gattaca is focused on genetic perfection, yet it is the imperfect Vincent that achieves the most” Discuss. Set within a world governed by genetic engineering, Andrew Niccol’s film, Gattaca, portrays the dire consequences of such a society in “the not too distant future”. Given a pre-determined life as a “god child” due of his parent’s adherence to religious beliefs, Vincent Freeman is an individual who “refuses to play the hand he was dealt”. Vincent although seemingly cursed with an imperfect genetic composition manages to overcome considerable odds in order to achieve his dream of space travel…. [tags: Movie Film Review] 1051 words (3 pages) Good Essays [preview] Cross-Cultural Film Analysis – Gattaca – Cross Cultural Film Analysis – Gattaca Film Summary Vincent is destined to be a second class citizen, conceived naturally, rather than in a laboratory. He is born into a world which discriminates against genetics, rather than religion, race or gender. In order to gain access into the Gattaca Corporation and reach his dream of going to Titan he takes on the identity of Jerome Morrow, a person with ideal genes but crippled from an accident. He uses Jeromes hair, blood, urine and skin to pass all tests and is set to reach his lifelong desire when the mission director is murdered…. [tags: Film Movie Analysis] 1219 words (3.5 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Human Genetic Screening and Discrimination in Gattaca – Human Genetic Screening and Discrimination in Gattaca Works Cited Missing A few months ago I watched a movie called Gattaca, which dealt with the issue of genetic discrimination in the near future. In the movie, people were separated into two classes, those that were genetically screened and positively altered before birth and the class that was unaltered. The separate classes had stark divisions, from what jobs that you were able to apply for to where you could eat. Security was aimed at keeping unaltered people away from the enhanced people…. [tags: Movie Film Biology Biological Papers] 1808 words (5.2 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Andrew Niccols Film, Gattaca – Andrew Niccols 1997 film Gattaca supports the belief that nature, despite its defects, is preferable to a flawless genetically engineered existence. This idea is explored through the character of Vincent who exhibits desire, resilience and determination, natural human elements that cannot be manufactured and are seemingly not present in the faultless future that is presented in Gattaca. These characteristics appear to be contrasted by the other characters in the film, such as Anton and the conforming Irene, who are perceived to be flawless in the context of their surroundings but are quite mechanical and emotionless…. [tags: Movies, Films] 711 words (2 pages) Better Essays [preview] Exploring the Future – Science Fiction often opens the eyes of humanity so we can try to imagine what the future will hold. More specifically, Science Fiction movies allow us to explore examples of utopian or dystopian societies. They allow us to explore different planets in outer space. Due to all of the creative components found in the set designs of several science fiction movies, a viewer can watch the movie and escape reality. The interesting innovations seen in the set designs look very futuristic so the viewers imagination is inspired and lets you indulge in the film…. [tags: Science Fiction, Gattaca] 1252 words (3.6 pages) Strong Essays [preview] The Idea of Discrimination Based on Genetic – The film Gattaca was released in 1997, just six years prior to the completion of the Human Genome Project (completed in April 2003), with a working draft completed in June 2000. The name of the film refers to an Aerospace corporation featured in the movie; however, its letters correspond to the 4 nucleotide bases that make up the integrity of the human genome. The sequencing of the human genome poses tremendous benefits not only in the future, but in the present. From identifying pharmaceutical targets in the body, screening for diseased genes, or determine if individuals are predisposed for certain hereditary or nonhereditary illness…. [tags: human genome, gattaca, genetic discrimination] 1245 words (3.6 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Cracking Your Genetic Code: A Review of Genetic Testing – Cracking Your Genetic Code: A Review of Genetic Testing In Gattaca, the plot focuses on the ethics, the risks, and the emotional impact of genetic testing in the nearby future. The film was released in the 90s; yet in the present, the film does not give the impression of science fiction. Today, genetic testing is prevalent in many aspects of the scientific community. This paper will describe genetic testing, its purpose, diagnostic techniques that use genetic testing, relating Huntingtons disease to genetic testing, and the pros and cons of genetic testing…. [tags: film analysis, gattaca, ethics, risks] :: 9 Works Cited 1554 words (4.4 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Comparing Dystopian Dream of Brave New World, The Handmaids Tale and GATTACA – The Dystopian Dream of Brave New World, The Handmaids Tale and GATTACA In Utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill writes that it is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied. By this he meant there are qualitative degrees of satisfaction and if to be satisfied were lowered in status to that of a pig, its better for us to be dissatisfied humans. The film GATTACA and the books Brave New World and The Handmaids Tale create fictional places where the needs and desires of humans are met, but not as well as they should be and not without a price…. [tags: comparison compare contrast essays] 3033 words (8.7 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Discussion of Whether Gattaca Portrays A Realistic View Of The Future And Gene Manipulation – Discussion of Whether Gattaca Portrays A Realistic View Of The Future And Gene Manipulation Media. It controls a lot of what we think, what we believe and so changes our attitude and behaviour towards certain things. It has changed our thinking so much so that we believe almost anything and everything the media say and do. Without the media, life would not be as it is. Newspapers, magazines, television, internet, radio, the lot have very much altered our thinking. Lately, there have been many talks on the issues regarding genetic manipulation and human cloning…. [tags: Papers] 1548 words (4.4 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Eugenic Decision-Making – Eugenics is defined, in some way or the other, as the process of reshaping the human race by determining the kinds of people who will be born. As such, there is much debate in the field of eugenics, with authors, like Philip Kitcher, who support laissez-faire or a minimalist approach of eugenics in which eugenic decision-making should be limited only to avoid neurological illnesses and in which parental free choice is valued. Gregory Stocks essay, The Enhanced and Un-Enhanced, presents otherwise by supporting the position of maximalist eugenics, allowing individuals the full extent in the selection of genes…. [tags: Gattaca, Laissez-Faire, Maximalist Eugenics] 1482 words (4.2 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Evolution of Human Characteristics – Human characteristics have evolved all throughout history and have been manipulated on a global scale through the use of science and technology. Genetic modification is one such process in which contemporary biotechnology techniques are employed to develop specific human characteristics. Despite this, there are a countless number of negative issues related with genetic modification including discrimination, ethical issues and corruption. Hence, genetic modification should not be used to enhance human characteristics…. [tags: genetic modification, ethics, discrimination] 794 words (2.3 pages) Better Essays [preview] A Critique on the Transhumanism Movement – When did being human become not good enough. Transhumanism theories strive toward the perfect human, a posthuman, which can be achieved through modern technology. In the opinion of transhumanists, humans are constantly subject to change and their calling is to transcend their body and brain in order to reach their full potential. While this may have positive effects for the people involved, such as immunity toward hereditary diseases, Down syndrome for example, the question arises what is considered ethical in these practices…. [tags: Genetic Manipulation, Nanotechnology] :: 18 Works Cited 3010 words (8.6 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] The Dangers of Genetic Engineering – The Dangers of Genetic Engineering Science is defined as knowledge based on observed facts and tested truths arranged in an orderly system. It has had an extreme effect on technology, which covers production, transportation, and even entertainment. In the past, though, science has always remained distant. However, with the birth of genetic engineering, science has become something that will deeply affect lives. Advancements are being made daily with genetic engineering: the Human Genome Project is nearly done, gene replacement therapy lies within reach, and cloning is on the horizon…. [tags: Papers] 1248 words (3.6 pages) Good Essays [preview] The Battle Between Science and Religion: The God of the Gaps Theory by Neil DeGrasse Tyson – Imagine a world where many people are not born the way they are just by chance, but by design. Not a design by a god but by men. What is one of the most common science fiction topics. Well thanks to scientific advancement people can start moving cloning more into science and less into fiction. Thanks to the impeccable work of many scientists across the world the world is moving forward in many ways. But it begs the question, what limits do politicians have to place on science. Is best to let them have free reign over their domain, as politicians have on their own, or do they need to be tethered…. [tags: god, scientific ignorance, bias, media] :: 5 Works Cited 1676 words (4.8 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Programmed To Be Free: Exploring Andrew Niccol’s Gatacca – Programmed To Be Free Gatacca by Andrew Niccol tells the story of Vincent, a young man naturally and traditionally engendered in a world where genetic engineering is the followed pattern to have a child. Few minutes after his birth, Vincents fate is revealed through a DNA analysis. Two important facts in the analysis will mark Vincents life, a fail in his cardio system and his life expectancy, only thirty years. The film shows a world where life is highly determined by genetics, and happiness is mostly based on the quality of the genetic profile, a kind of identity card for people…. [tags: Film Analysis, Movies, Films] :: 4 Works Cited 1231 words (3.5 pages) Strong Essays [preview] The Case Against Perfection by Michael Sandel – Michael Sandel is a distinguished political philosopher and a professor at Harvard University. Sandel is best known for his best known for his critique of John Rawls’s A Theory of Justice. While he is an acclaimed professor if government, he has also delved deeply into the ethics of biotechnology. At Harvard, Sandel has taught a course called “Ethics, Biotechnology, and the Future of Human Nature” and from 2002 to 2005 he served on the Presidents Council on Bioethics (Harvard University Department of Government, 2013)…. [tags: ethics, biotechnology, genetic engineering] :: 4 Works Cited 972 words (2.8 pages) Better Essays [preview] Testing an Authors Vision Organization Guide – Testing an Authors Vision Organization Guide Introduction You will need to transition us, the readers, from our world into your paper. Make sure you give us a sense of context (what gave rise to your paper?), conflict (give us a sense of They Say/I Say), and focus (give us a question that focuses your paper or give us your thesis statement). So, for the focus you might have: —Is this vision of genetic manipulation in literature possible, and if so, should we be afraid. —OR.This vision of genetic manipulation is occurring in small amounts today and could blossom into a world in which individuals fear imperfection and groups of perfect people wield power over those less than the visio… [tags: Assignment] 1045 words (3 pages) Strong Essays [preview] ?Vincent is not a hero? Discuss – Vincent is not a hero Discuss Andrew Niccol has created a character that is portrayed as being a struggler from the moment he was born, he was destined to play this role as soon as he was conceived naturally as he was to wear the label of God child for the rest of his life , this label determines they life style and quality of life he will lead and the prospects are not good -They used to say that a child conceived in love has a greater chance of happiness. They don’t say that anymore. Niccol leads us to believe that Vincent is a man who has overcome the odds in order to achieve his dream in a society where individuality is an unrequited trait and the ability to conform plus right DN… [tags: essays research papers] 972 words (2.8 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Genetic Engineering is Immoral – Genetic engineering gives the power to change many aspects of nature and could result in a lot of life-saving and preventative treatments. Today, scientists have a greater understanding of genetics and its role in living organisms. However, if this power is misused, the damage could be very great. Therefore, although genetic engineering is a field that should be explored, it needs to be strictly regulated and tested before being put into widespread use. Genetic engineering has also, opened the door way to biological solutions for world problems, as well as aid for body malfunctions…. [tags: Genetic Engineering Essays] 423 words (1.2 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Neo-Eugenics The Social and Biological Ethics of Designer Babies – … Also it is now understood that ooplasm, the cytoplasm within an egg, can be transferred to another egg in order to swap mitochondrial DNA. Scientists have also figured out that ooplasm is not the only part of the cell that can be transferred, but that whole nuclei can be replaced as well. This is a major breakthrough because whole sets of DNA can be placed into another cell. In a culture where parents seek advantages for their children in schooling, diet, exercise, extracurricular activities, and the like, it is hard to imagine that cultural pressures would not be great to pursue the same for their children with respect to enhanced traits. This quote from an academic journal from Berke… [tags: Healthier Reace, Future Generations] :: 2 Works Cited 1586 words (4.5 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Hollywood: Promoting Stereotypes to Make Easy Money – Every week numerous Hollywood movies and rereleases open in theaters, video stores, and online movie distributors nationwide: heartwarming films such as The Blind Side; laughter inducing and children captivating classics like Aladdin; movies about overcoming struggles such as, Gattaca. All these new movies and classics alike hold a particular place in our hearts and in our lives. Maybe because of a similarity to our own lives or the main character embraces characteristics we hold dear. Whatever the reason, a contributing factor to the variety of movie produced in Hollywood can trace itself to liberal and socially progressive movie making…. [tags: Hollywood vs Minorities] 1841 words (5.3 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] The Ethics of Genetically Enhancing Children – The term designer children is unnerving at first to many. The idea of parents designing the genetic makeup of their offspring makes children seem like a commodity in a genetic free market. Thoughts of a dystopian society like the one in the film Gattaca come to mind. However, taking an immediate repugnant stand against genetic enhancement is not well-founded. A more open-minded inspection of the issue reveals that the idea of parents improving their childrens life prospects through genetic engineering (provided it is safe) is, at its core, not unethical…. [tags: designer children] 1314 words (3.8 pages) Strong Essays [preview] The Decline of the World’s IQ – What will end the world as we know it. It could be climate change, disease, famine, or global war. If none of those come to pass there is always the truth that we are breeding our IQ into the basement. Its called dysgeneic fertilization, and it has been happening for as long as weve been recording intelligence. Although this decline can be seen across the board, not everyone is affected the same way or to the same extent. With each generation that passes a gap widens between those retaining intelligence and those hemorrhaging intelligence…. [tags: Dystopic Apocalypse] :: 6 Works Cited 1099 words (3.1 pages) Strong Essays [preview] DNA Donation: A Personal Choice – Moral choices, ethical dilemmas, personal biases, and strong opinions tend to go hand in hand; you certainly cannot have one without the other. The topic of this paper is an ethical dilemma that will cause me to make a moral choice; I am also personally biased and strongly opinionated in regards to the situation. The topic is the donation of my DNA for a research study; the goal of the study will be to find a variant of a gene that will resist specific bacterial diseases. If the company succeeds in finding this gene, it may be able to produce a drug to sell to people who have these diseases…. [tags: Medical Ethics ] :: 5 Works Cited 1340 words (3.8 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Altering Human Genome – Altering Human Genome The gene pool could use a little chlorine. -Bumper Sticker Consider Gods handiwork; who can straighten what He hath made crooked? -Ecclesiastes 7:13, from Gattaca I not only think that we will tamper with Mother Nature. I think Mother wants us to. -Willard Gaylin, from Gattaca With the scientific breakthroughs of the recent decades the humans have become more powerful than ever in their mastery of Nature. The genetic engineering that allows extracting and modifying the genetic makeup of the future person or animal is in a sense the power of Creation…. [tags: Eugenics Genetics Science Essays] :: 14 Works Cited 1425 words (4.1 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Value of a Dystopia – A perfect world with no negative aspects can be defined as a utopia. A utopia consists of having all the required or desirable elements of life that one has in mind. Everyone has an altered perception on what a utopia is, but in order for the world to be a utopia a universal definition is vital. Some elements to be considered in a utopia include a society that is stable socially, morally, politically, and economically. The more a world is in deficient to these key elements of a utopia, the farther the world travels from the parameters of a utopia…. [tags: Sociology ] :: 5 Works Cited 2306 words (6.6 pages) Term Papers [preview] The Theory of Knowledge – That which is accepted as knowledge today is sometimes discarded tomorrow. Knowledge itself can be compared to a small child who is about to begin the long way in learning. Why this comparison. Since, as the child grows and goes through all the school years, with time, he will learn more and more than what he did before. The same situation can be applied to knowledge itself. The pursuit of knowledge has lead mankind to the point of development we are at as of the 21st century. With the passing of time, new ideas and methodologies, and key technological developments have lead, not to discarding knowledge, but to modifying our previous knowledge…. [tags: Natural Sciences] :: 3 Works Cited 1037 words (3 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Dystopian Comparisons – In the Book A Clockwork Orange, the short stories Harrison Burgeron, The Lottery and the movies Gattaca and the Truman Show by Anthony Burgess, Kurt Vonnegut, Shirly Jackson, Andrew Niccol and Peter Wier respectively. These pieces of literature(and cinematography) all have a society that controls and manipulates the individual or Protaganist. The society does this because it wants total control over both the individual and the society as a whole. A Clockwork Orange is futuristic look at England…. [tags: Compare Contrast] 1439 words (4.1 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Genetic Engineering and the End of the World As We Know It – “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” — From a Song by REM Having completed the Human Genome Project, scientists now seek to uncover the secrets of the human proteome (Begley 1). It is “guesstimated” that the proteome, meaning all the proteins, will involve up to 1000 times more data than the genome did. But this again brings us to the question: What will the scientific and medical communities do with all this information. deCode Genetics, partnered with Roche Holding of Basel, wants Iceland’s genes to examine 25-35 common genetically linked diseases (Marshall 539)…. [tags: Genetic Manipulation Essays] :: 5 Works Cited 1406 words (4 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Designer Babies – Within the last 100 years or so scientists have many valuable discoveries that have benefited mankind. These discoveries include the discovery of genes. Scientists have discovered what makes humans so unique from one another. However, with this newly gained knowledge of the function of genes comes the ability to alter or change them. Just imagine in the not so near future, you and your partner want to start a family together. You travel to your local gene councillor to pick the physical and characteristic traits of your child…. [tags: Genetic Engineering] :: 3 Works Cited 1141 words (3.3 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Therapuetic Cloning – Children grow up watching movies such as Star Wars as well as Gattaca that contain the idea of cloning which usually depicts that society is on the brink of war or something awful is in the midsts but, with todays technology the sci-fi nature of cloning is actually possible. The science of cloning obligates the scientific community to boil the subject down into the basic category of morality pertaining towards cloning both humans as well as animals. While therapeutic cloning does have its moral disagreements towards the use of using the stem cells of humans to medically benefit those with incomplete sets of DNA, the benefits of therapeutic cloning outweigh the disagreements indubitably due… [tags: dna, medicine, treatment] :: 5 Works Cited 1296 words (3.7 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Genetic Engineering – In the field of animal and human genetic engineering there is much more speculation, than fact, because very little has actually been tested in the real world. Firstly, theres a big question mark over safety of genetic engineering. In addition, genetic engineering can cause greater problems than that what we have today. Moreover, we can create a injustice world between Designer vs Non-designer children. Furthermore, genetic engineering is a type of murder because of the process of genetically modifying a baby…. [tags: designer babies, perfect baby] :: 5 Works Cited 911 words (2.6 pages) Better Essays [preview] Biometric Security Technology – Biometric Security Technology You have seen biometric technology in the films Mission: Impossible and Gattaca. The technology has also graced the covers of many weekly news magazines. But many people, even though the technology has been widely talked about for the last half decade, are still surprisingly unaware of what biometrics are and why the technology is so important for computer security and personal identification. Biometrics are automated methods of recognizing a person based on a physical or behavioral characteristic (2001)…. [tags: Technological Computers Essays] :: 6 Works Cited 1393 words (4 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Belief and Knowledge – There are many contentions our present world has faced that require a thorough thought process in order to represent a side of the argument. We see that there are many different authorities that tell us we should be thinking in certain directions. However, most people need to realize that influence from these different sources such as academics, politicians, companies, global organizations, media, and others in this nebulous category, dont always steer us in the write direction. Maybe they can provide us with knowledge about a certain problem, or information regarding each side, but when it comes down to the bottom, belief and knowledge seems to be what most people turn to…. [tags: essays research papers] 1571 words (4.5 pages) Strong Essays [preview] The Truman Show – The Truman Show The life of Truman Burbank has been broadcast around the world with tremendous success since the day he was born. A star for the mere fact that he exists, Truman has no idea that there are cameras in every corner of his world. he has literally been ON television from the moment of his birth. With the honor of being the first child to be formally adopted by a corporation, Truman has had every moment of his existence captured by television cameras. The Truman Show, a worldwide reality series that runs twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and every day of the year, has been witness to his first words, his first steps, his first day at school– nothing has escaped the… [tags: Papers] 677 words (1.9 pages) Better Essays [preview] Genetic Manipulation – Genetic Manipulation Genes, being part of the basic building blocks of man, control all aspects of one’s life. They control how tall you are, what color your eyes are, and what diseases might afflict you in the future. Therefore, the manipulation of such genes can be a controversial topic. The controversy most likely stems from the ethical and social questions that are raised by this procedure. Jean Dausset, author of “Scientific Knowledge and Human Dignity,” and George B. Kutukdjian, author of “UNESCO and Bioethics,” both discuss the topic of genetic manipulation…. [tags: Papers] 1136 words (3.2 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Is Utopia Possible? – Is Utopia Possible. Utopia: remote cabin on the beach, the kingship of a vast empire, Nirvana; Heaven, the Happy Hunting Grounds, paradise, perfection. What exactly is Utopia. According to Webster it is “1, an imaginary and indefinitely remote place” or ” 2, often capitalized : a place of ideal perfection esp. in laws, government, and social conditions”. Where is this perfect place. Will my dog live forever there. Will I never grow old. If I never grow old there does that mean I never mature…. [tags: Papers] 588 words (1.7 pages) Strong Essays [preview] The Truman Show and Pleasantville Review – The Truman Show and Pleasantville Review The Truman Show, a comedy/ drama was directed by Peter Weir (nominee for Best Director in 1998, Academy Awards). The film was scripted by Andrew M. Niccol, including last years “Gatttaca,” a similarly themed tale, Niccol delivers optimism and affection for the human condition. Jim Carry plays the role of Truman Burbank who is a charming and unwitting star, the world’s most popular, 24 hour non-stop soap called ‘The Truman Show’. Pleasantville is a winsome and witty comedy/ drama starring Tobey Maguire as ‘David’ and Reese Witherspoon as ‘Jennifer’…. [tags: Papers] 1332 words (3.8 pages) Strong Essays [preview]
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Posted: November 23, 2016 at 10:03 pm
The April 10, 2012 dead-tree edition of The Oregonian lead with a big dose of global warming realism.
This is what I was greeted with when I trotted out to fetch my dead-tree edition of The Oregonian this morning: Global warming without warming above the fold! Id seen the on-line version of this story last night with its own headline Global warming hiatus in recent years helps spur skepticism but to see it lead the dead-tree edition was even more satisfying.
To his credit, reporter Scott Learn points out some facts that Joe Romm would characterize as long-debunked denier talking points. And yet, The Oregonian is nobodys idea of a global warming denier :
For people who want more action on global warming, an inconvenient truth has arisen over the last decade: Annual average temperatures stayed relatively flat globally and dropped in the United States and Oregon despite mankinds growing release of greenhouse gases.
The hiatus in temperature increases may be contributing to higher public skepticism about warming, particularly in the United States.
Computer climate models didnt predict the hiatus, notes Portland meteorologist Chuck Wiese.
Climatologists, and climate models, are overestimating the impact of greenhouse gases on warming relative to natural climate cycles, they say, and arent being held accountable when warming projections dont pan out.
They just keep moving the goalposts to where you can never get a satisfactory answer, Wiese says.
Kudos to The Oregonian for having the guts to report the truth, rather than just regurgitating the blathering coming from the consensus.
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Climate models? Nah. In this case its models predicting when Japanese earthquake debris starts washing up on the West Coast of the US, which only serves as further evidence that nearly all computer models cannot be relied upon.
NOAA originally predicted debris from the tsunami triggered by the 9.0 earthquake in Tohoku, Japan, in March of 2011 would begin washing up on shores in the Pacific Northwest in 2013. Those were rough estimates based on forecasted ocean conditions and reports of debris from fishing and commercial vessels.
But, The Oregonian now reports:
Perhaps the largest piece of debris resulting from last year’s tsunami in Japan is this fishing boat. It was sighted March 20, drifiting 150 miles off the coast of British Columbia. Photo via Canadian Department of National Defence
Debris from the March 2011 Japanese tsunami will likely wash ashore sooner than originally thought.Thats a prediction the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says was confirmed by the sighting of a Japanese fishing vessel lost in the tsunami and spotted last week in Canadian waters off the Queen Charlotte Islands.
Faced with the facts, NOAA responds:
Were working on updating the model, said Dianna Parker, NOAA spokeswoman. We expect results will show some of the debris that rides a little higher will arrive ahead of schedule. The bulkier debris, sitting lower in the water, will take longer.
Whether it be global warming climate models, or earthquake debris models, or a fill-in-the-blank model, its garbage in, garbage out.
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When you get right down to it, S. Matthew Liaos crazy neo-eugenics idea boils down to:
Small people = small carbon footprints
Perhaps we were warned many years ago in this song:
Its a world of laughter, a world or tears Its a world of hopes, its a world of fear Theres so much that we share That its time were aware Its a small world after all
CHORUS: Its a small world after all Its a small world after all Its a small world after all Its a small, small world
There is just one moon and one golden sun And a smile means friendship to everyone. Though the mountains divide And the oceans are wide Its a small small world
World of tears? World of fears? Share? Its time were aware? Oceans are wide? Hmmmmmm.
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Automotive News reports:
DETROIT (Reuters) A $100,000-plus Fisker Automotive luxury car died during Consumer Reports speed testing for reasons that are still unknown, leaving the struggling electric car startup with another blow to its image.
It is a little disconcerting that you pay that amount of money for a car and it lasts basically 180 miles before going wrong, David Champion, senior director for the magazines automotive test center, told Reuters.
Fisker has benefited from the publicity generated when actor Leonardo DiCaprio was handed the first Karma last summer and pop idol Justin Bieber received one as a gift this month.
The breakdown of the Consumer Reports car is more bad news for a company that already recalled some Karmas. Fisker also has changed its CEO and halted production over the past month as it seeks to renegotiate the terms of a $529 million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy.
One of Fisker Automotives primary financial backers is venture captital firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, of which Al Gore is a partner. Fisker also received a $528.7 million conditional loan from the Department of Energys Advanced Technologies Vehicle Manufacturing Loan Program. Thats a LOT of money to produce only 200-300 cars thus far, some of which seem to be lemons.
This is the same company that last year caught flak because after it secured the US government financing, started assembling their cars in Finland.
By the looks of things, Fisker Automotive seems headed for the same fate as Solyndra.
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This video is from December 21, 2009 at COP15 just about a month after Climategate 1.0 hit so its not exactly fresh, but I just discovered it on YouTube, and DeSmogblogger Chris Mooney makes a very frank admission about the skeptic blogosphere that I believe went unnoticed back in 09, but is relevant even 2+ years later:
You have the rise of the blogosphere, where global warming denial is actually running rampant, and I think its totally got us whupped, in terms of pro-climate bloggers versus anti-climate bloggers.
One explanation of why the alarmists were, and are continuing to get whupped, was noted by Ross McKitrick recently, and was featured on WUWT as last weeks quote of the week. McKitrick:
The problem the alarmists had, was that there was never anything substantial to hit back at. They had the equivalents of the big guns and the massive air support but there never was a skeptic HQ to be pounded, no big central organization, no massed ranks of skeptic soldiers or even any third-partybacking the resistance.
Every one of the skeptics was a lone volunteer guerrilla fighter, who needed absolutely no logistical support of any kind to continue the fight indefinitely. The alarmists never understood this, preferring to think that there simply had to be some massive hidden organization orchestrating the resistance. While they wasted time and effort attacking targets that only existed in their head, each of the guerrillas chewed on them mercilessly in their own particular way.
The entire Mooney video is here.
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The Al Gore /AIT Index returns!
The index is calculated from Dr. Roy Spencers UAH Globally Averaged Satellite-Based Tropospheric Temperatures that are released each month. The GORE LIED graphics department simply whips out a magenta crayon, and marks up Dr. Spencers graph to show the temperature change since Al Gore released his fantasy/sci-fi movie, An Inconvenient Truth.
Through February, 2012 globally averaged temperatures have plunged .56F (.31C) since An Inconvenient Truth was released at the Sundance Film Festival on January 24, 2006 truly an inconvenient truth.
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An Inconvenient Video from COP-15 (2009) featuring DeSmog Blogs Brendan Demelle. This video was deemed soooo compelling by viewers that in the two years its been posted it had a whopping nine views when I scrounged it up from the YouTube dustbin. An excerpt from Demelle discussing the state of journalism, and the rise of bloggers:
with the struggling economy which is hurting newsrooms there just arent as many resources to devote to deep investigative journalism than there used to be, and I think thats why you see a rise in citizen journalism, people taking it upon themselves to go and try to figure out what the facts are and to report the facts. Also, you know, one of the things that Danny mentioned is that journalists are, you know, taught to be objective and not to have a view. Id just say that youre also taught to report facts, and not lies and misdeeds.
He may say that, and yet I get the feeling that Brendan will only part with that fake 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy memo when we pry it from his proverbial cold, dead fingers.
Heres the whole video. DeMelle appears at 8:00
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The rest is here:
Posted: October 15, 2016 at 5:29 am
Jeffrey Epstein is currently infamous for his conviction for soliciting a fourteen-year-old girl for prostitution and for allegedly orchestrating underage sex slave orgies at his private Virgin Island mansion, where he purportedly pimped out underage girls to elite political figures such as Prince Andrew, Alan Dershowitz, and probably Bill Clinton as well (he also traveled to Thailand in 2001 with Prince Andrew, probably to indulge in the countrys rampant child sex trade).
But before these sex scandals were the highlight of Epsteins celebrity, he was better known not just for his financial prowess, but also for his extensive funding of biotechnological and evolutionary science. With his bankster riches, he founded the Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation which established Harvard Universitys Program for Evolutionary Dynamics.
Epstein, a former CFR and Trilateral Commission Member, also sat on the board of Harvards Mind, Brain, and Behavior Committee. He has furthermore been actively involved in . . . the Theoretical Biology Initiative at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, the Quantum Gravity Program at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Santa Fe Institute, which is a transdisciplinary research community that expands the boundaries of scientific understanding . . . to discover, comprehend, and communicate the common fundamental principles in complex physical, computational, biological, and social systems.
The scope of Epsteins various science projects spans research into genetics, neuroscience, robotics, computer science, and artificial intelligence (AI). Altogether, the convergence of these science subfields comprises an interdisciplinary science known as transhumanism: the artificial perfection of human evolution through humankinds merger with technology. In fact, Epstein partners with Humanity+, a major transhumanism interest group.
Transhumanists believe that technologically upgrading humankind into a singularity will bring about a utopia in which poor health, the ravages of old age and even death itself will all be things of the past. In fact, eminent transhumanist Ray Kurzweil, chief of engineering at Google, believes that he will become godlike as a result of the singularity.
But the truth is that transhumanism is merely a more high-tech revision of eugenics conceptualized by eugenicist and UNESCO Director-General Julian Huxley. And when corporate philanthropists like pedophile Epsteinas well as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Peter Thiel, and Google executives such as Eric Schmidt and Larry Pageare the major bankrollers behind these transhumanism projects, the whole enterprise seems ominously reminiscent of the corporate-philanthropic funding of American and Nazi eugenics.
In America, Charles Davenports eugenics research at Cold Spring Harbor was bankrolled by elite financiers, such as the Harriman family, as well as robber barons and their nonprofit foundations such as the Rockefeller Foundation and the Carnegie Institute of Washington. Davenport collaborated with Nazi eugenicists who were likewise funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. In the end, these Rockefeller-funded eugenics programs contributed to the forced sterilization of over 60,000 Americans and the macabre human experimentation and genocide of the Nazi concentration camps. (This sinister collusion is thoroughly documented in War Against the Weak by award-winning investigative journalist Edwin Black).
If history has shown us that these are the sordid bioethics that result from corporate-funded biosocial science, shouldnt we be weary of the transhumanism projects of neo-robber barons like Epstein, Gates, Zuckerberg, Thiel, and the Google gang?
It should be noted that Epstein once sat on the board of Rockefeller University. At the same time, the Rockefeller Foundationwhich has continued to finance Cold Spring Harbor programs as recently as 2010also funds the Santa Fe Institute and the New York Academy of Sciences, both of which Epstein has been actively involved in.
The Rockefeller Foundation also funds the Malthusian-eugenic Population Council, which transhumanist Bill Gates likewise finances in carrying on the population reduction activism of his father, William H. Gates Sr.
And in 2013, the Rockefeller Foundation funded a transhumanistic white paper titled Dreaming the Future of Health for the Next 100 Years, which explores [r]e-engineering of humans into separate and unequal forms through genetic engineering or mixed human-robots.
So, considering that transhumanismthe outgrowth of eugenicsis being steered not only by twenty-first-century robber barons, but by corporatist monopoly men who are connected to the very transhumanist Rockefeller Foundation which funded Nazi eugenics, I suspect that transhumanist technology will not upgrade the common person. Rather, it will only be disseminated to the public in such a wayas Stanford University Professor Paul Saffo predictsthat converts social class hierarchies into bio(techno)logical hierarchies by artificially evolving the One Percent into a species separate from the unfit working poor, which will be downgraded as a slave class.
In his 1932 eugenic-engineering dystopia, Brave New World, Aldous Huxley (Julians brother) depicts how biotechnology, drugs, and psychological conditioning would in the future be used to establish a Scientific Caste System ruled by a global scientific dictatorship. But Huxley was not warning us with his novel. As historian Joanne Woiak demonstrates in her journal article entitled Designing a Brave New World: Eugenics, Politics, and Fiction, Aldous brave new world can . . . be understood as a serious design for social reform (105). In a 1932 essay, titled Science and Civilization, Huxley promoted his eugenic caste system: in a scientific civilization society must be organized on a caste basis. The rulers and their advisory experts will be a kind of Brahmins controlling, in virtue of a special and mysterious knowledge, vast hordes of the intellectual equivalents of Sudras and Untouchables (153-154).
With the aforementioned digital robber barons driving the burgeoning age of transhumanist neo-eugenics, I fear that Huxleys Scientific Caste System may become a reality. And with Epstein behind the wheel, the new GMO Sudras will likely consist of not only unskilled labor slaves, but also child sex slaves wholike the preadolescents in Brave New Worldwill be brainwashed with Elementary Sex Education, which will inculcate them with a smash monogamy sexuality that will serve the elite World Controllers.
Huxley, Aldous. Science and Civilization. Aldous Huxley: Complete Essays. Eds. Robert S. Baker and James Sexton. Vol. III. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2000. 148-155. Print. 4 vols.
John Klyczek has an MA in English and is a college English instructor, concentrating on the history of global eugenics and Aldous Huxleys dystopian novel, Brave New World.
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Posted: July 12, 2016 at 5:33 am
Infowars.com October 22, 2010
Alan Watt continues to divulge his fascinating in-depth insights into how culture is created from the top down and used by the elite to manipulate and pervert natural human instincts towards their own ends. Every change in culture, right down to fashion and music, points out Watt citing Plato, had to be authorized and promoted from the top. This science of mass mind control is still taught today by the insiders and mediums such as television are used as weapons of social control to prevent humanity from ever realizing its full potential.
Watt talks about how the elite technocrats plan for the long term, in 50, 100 and even 150 year cycles in which to implement the different aspects of their agenda, and how each cultural shift was deliberately timed to be implemented at a certain time. The current cultural bombardment surrounds the emergence of neo-eugenics, with big foundations and organizations like the Optimum Population Trust pushing the idea that humans are superfluous, virus-like, and therefore worthless.
Watt discusses how sperm counts across Europe and America have dropped at an alarming rate of up to 80 per cent over the past 50 years, and how the medias complete ignorance of this crisis proves that it was authorized as a deliberate program of de-population. Watt traces the program back to its origins in the 1950s, where synthetic female hormones like estrogen were put in baby foods by companies like Proctor and Gamble, as well as baby milk bottles washed with Bisphenol A, the very substance that attacks male genitalia and prevents it from developing properly. Watt also outlines how Bisphenol A in womens cosmetic products contributes to toxifying their bodies, leading to an environment for male babies that leads them to have a reduced sperm count or even become sterile.The foundation of the agenda can be discovered in the writings of people like Bertrand Russell and the Huxley brothers, who talked about the need to sterilize the masses as far back as the 1930s.
Watt also divulges how the elites ultimate goal for every human allowed to be born is for them to serve the state and be deceived into accepting this enslavement as a natural form of existence. The elites greatest fear is that the inferiors will out-breed the superiors, which is why they continually push neo-eugenics and are obsessed with inter-breeding to keep their own genetics intellectually pure.
This one hour interview is part two to the previous Alan Watt feature video Shock And Awe The Manipulation Of The Human Psyche and we encourage all our subscribers to watch it now by visiting the video reports section at http://www.prisonplanet.tv not a subscriber or have let your subscription lapse? Please consider becoming a member at http://prisonplanet.tv/signup.html
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Posted: July 1, 2016 at 9:49 pm
Every year, 4.1 million babies are born in the USA. On the basis of the well-known risk of Down syndrome, about 6,150 of these babies would be expected to suffer from this genetic condition, which is caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21. In reality, only about 4,370 babies are born with Down syndrome; the others have been aborted during pregnancy. These estimates are based on a prevalence rate of 0.15% and an abortion rate of about 29% of fetuses diagnosed with Down syndrome in Atlanta, GA (Siffel et al, 2004), and Hawaii (Forrester & Merz, 2002)the only two US locations for which reliable data are available. Data from other regions are similar or even higher: 32% of Down syndrome fetuses were aborted in Western Australia (Bourke et al, 2005); 75% in South Australia (Cheffins et al, 2000); 80% in Taiwan (Jou et al, 2005); and 85% in Paris, France (Khoshnood et al, 2004). Despite this trend, the total number of babies born with Down syndrome is not declining in most industrialized nations because both the number of older mothers and the conception rate is increasing.
These abortions are eugenic in both intention and effectthat is, their purpose is to eliminate a genetically defective fetus and thus allow for a genetically superior child in a subsequent pregnancy. This is a harsh way of phrasing it; another way is to say that parents just want to have healthy children. Nevertheless, however it is phrased, the conclusion is starkly unavoidable: terminating the pregnancy of a genetically defective fetus is widespread. Moreover, because none of the countries mentioned above coerce parents into aborting deformed fetuses, these abortionswhich number many thousands each yearare carried out at the request of the parents, or at least the mothers. This high number of so-called medical abortions shows that many people, in many parts of the world, consider the elimination of a genetically defective fetus to be morally acceptable.
This high number of so-called medical abortions shows that many people consider the elimination of a genetically defective fetus to be morally acceptable
This form of eugenic selection is not confined to Down syndrome, which is characterized by mental retardation, a higher risk of various diseases, and a range of major and minor abnormalities in body structure and function. Fetuses with many disorders detectable by ultrasound in utero are also aborted. Data from the European Surveillance of Congenital Abnormalities shows that between 1995 and 1999 about 40% of infants with any one of 11 main congenital disorders were aborted in Europe (Garne et al, 2005). Similarly, the International Clearinghouse for Birth Defects Monitoring System (ICBDMS; Rome, Italy) provides data for the eight main industrialized (G8) countries. From this data, I calculate that in 2002, 20% of fetuses with apparent birth defects were aborted in G8 countriesthat is, between 30,000 and 40,000 fetuses. As a result, many congenital disorders are becoming rare (ICBDMS, 2004) and, as they do, infant mortality rates are also declining. In Western Australia, neonatal mortality rates due to congenital deformities declined from 4.36 to 2.75 per 1,000 births in the period from 1980 to 1998. Half of that decline is thought to be due to the increase in abortions of abnormal fetuses (Bourke et al, 2005).
The widespread acceptance of abortion as a eugenic practice suggests that there might be little resistance to more sophisticated methods of eugenic selection and, in general, this has been the case. Increasingly, prenatal diagnosis of genetic conditions is carried out on the basis of molecular tests for Mendelian disorders. There are few published data on the frequency and consequences of such tests, but a recent survey of genetic testing in Italy showed that about 20,000 fetuses were tested in 2004, mostly for mutations causing cystic fibrosis, Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy and Fragile X mental retardation (Dallapiccola et al, 2006). In Taiwan, screens for thalassaemia mutations have caused the live-birth prevalence of this disease to drop from 5.6 to 1.21 per 100,000 births over eight years (Chern et al, 2006).
However, such tests probably do not markedly decrease the mutational burden of a nation’s newborns. Usually, a fetus is only tested for a specific mutation when its family medical history indicates that there is a clear risk. If, as must often be the case, parents are oblivious to the fact that they are carriers of a genetic disorder, they will have no reason to undergo a prenatal diagnosis, which is both expensive and invasive. Fetuses are also not tested for de novo mutations. However, given that manyperhaps mostparents want healthy children, should all fetuses be screened for many disease-causing mutations?
It is a question that some geneticists are now asking (Van den Veyver & Beaudet, 2006). They point out that comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) microarrays could be used to screen a single embryo or fetus for thousands of mutations. One type of CGH microarray that is close to clinical application is designed to detect changes in gene copy number across the whole genome (Vissers et al, 2005). These arrays, which are based on bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clones, can detect aneusomiesdeletions and duplicationsof about 100 kilobases in size. Such aneusomies are found in almost all individuals with no negative consequences, but a minority, which affect dosage-sensitive genes, cause disease. A recent study in which 100 patients with unexplained mental retardation were screened for aneusomies gives some indication of the importance of aneusomies in genetic disorders (de Vries et al, 2005). Most of the copy number changes found in these patients were also found in healthy parents or controls and thus were probably not responsible for the disease; however, ten patients had unique de novo mutations. Therefore, this study identified a likelyalbeit unprovengenetic cause of mental retardation in 10% of patients; a remarkable result for a single screen.
The virtue of a BAC-based microarray is that it can detect novel, as well as known, deletions and duplications; its limitation is that it misses the point mutations that are the cause of many, perhaps most, genetic diseases. Such mutations presumably account for at least some of the retardation in the 90 patients in whom no aneusomies were detected. At present there is no feasible method of screening the genome of a patient for all possible mutationsat least not without sequencing it. However, there is no technical obstacle to constructing an oligo-based micoarray able to detect all known disease-causing mutations.
there is no technical obstacle to constructing an oligo-based micoarray able to detect all known disease-causing mutations
How useful would such a microarray be? More precisely, if a geneticist were able to screen a randomly chosen embryo for all known disease genes, what is the probability that he or she would be able to predict a genetic disease should the embryo come to term and live to adulthood? At the time of writing, the Human Gene Mutation Database (HGMD; http://www.hgmd.cf.ac.uk) identifies 64,251 mutations in 2,362 human genes that impair health. Most of these mutations are individually rare, but collectively they are very common. Indeed, given that there are so many mutations, the probability that an embryo is at risk of a genetic disease caused by at least one of them must be quite high.
An individual’s risk of suffering from a genetic disease depends on the mode of inheritan
ce of the diseaseautosomal dominant (AD), X-linked recessive (XLR) or autosomal recessive (AR)and the global frequency of the causal mutation. A survey of 567 disease-causing loci from the Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man database showed that about 59% are AD, 32% are AR, and 9% are XLR (Jimenez-Sanchez et al, 2001). Using these percentages with the 64,251 known disease-causing mutations in HGMD, we can estimate that 37,908 are AD, 20,560 are AR and 5,783 are XLR.
To complete our calculation, we need to know the typical global frequencies of each of these three types of mutation. It is surprisingly difficult to obtain global frequency data for disease alleles; however, Reich & Lander (2001) give the total frequencies of all known disease mutations for 14 monogenic diseases: 4 AD, 3 XLR, and 7 AR. The HGMD then provides us with the total number of disease-causing mutations known for each of these 14 genes, which ranges from 31 for haemochromatosis to 1,262 for cystic fibrosis.
Using these figures, I have calculated average allelic frequencies (). The fact that AR mutations are more common than AD or XLR mutations makes sense, as selection acts less intensively on them. Multiplying these numbers by the number of mutations in each inheritance class calculated above, while taking into account the mode of inheritance and assuming global HardyWeinberg equilibrium, I calculate that the probability of predicting an inherited disease in a randomly chosen human embryo is almost 0.4% (). Therefore, it should be possible to predict a disease in 1 in 252 embryos.
The probability of predicting a genetic disease in a random embryo if it were screened for all currently known mutations
The prediction of a genetic disease in a fetus does not necessarily indicate that it should be aborted. This decision ultimately depends on the strength of the prediction and the nature of the disease, both of which vary greatly among mutations. A female embryo with a single BRCA1 mutation, which is dominant, has a 68% probability of developing breast cancer by the age of 80 (Risch et al, 2001). Conversely, an embryo with two copies of the HFE C282Y mutation, which is recessive, has less than a 1% probability of developing haemochromatosis, a relatively mild blood disease (Beutler et al, 2002). Whether such risks warrant aborting either fetus is a decision to be made by its parents and their clinical advisors, but it should be noted that most of the mutations in the HGMD cause classical Mendelian disorders detected by family linkage studies and so have fairly high penetrance.
The estimate of the rate of disease prediction that I have given here is crude, but it is probably conservative. For convenience, I assumed a HardyWeinberg equilibrium, but in isolated populations or populations with a high degree of consanguinityfor instance, much of the Middle East through to Pakistanthe number of disease-causing homozygotes will be higher than my calculations. In addition, the rate of disease prediction will continue to rise as more and more disease-causing mutations are found. In 2005, 7,017 mutations were added to the HGMD26% more than in 2004.
One impediment to a universal, total prenatal screen for all known mutations is the invasive nature of the procedureit requires amniocentesis () or chorionic sampling to retrieve cells from the amniotic sacand the traumatic nature of the treatment, which is therapeutic abortion. Perhaps, then, a total mutation screen will not be used in prenatal diagnosis, but rather in preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). This procedure tests embryos produced by in vitro fertilization (IVF) for chromosomal abnormalities and specific mutations before implantation, by removing a single cell from the embryo at the eight-cell stage. Healthy embryos are then implanted; poor embryosshowing one or several abnormalitiesare frozen or discarded. As in prenatal diagnosis, PGD is generally carried out only when a family medical history suggests that the embryo is at risk of a specific disease (Braude et al, 2002). Since its introduction in the mid-1980s, the procedure has spread quickly, although it remains illegal in some countries, such as Germany, which does, however, allow prenatal screens for a range of severe inheritable diseases. Data collected by the European IVF-monitoring Programme for the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE; Grimbergen, Belgium) showed that 1,563 PGD screens were recorded in 25 European nations in 2002, compared with 882 in 2001 (Andersen et al, 2006). There do not seem to be any comparable data for the USA, but given the large number of US IVF clinics offering PGDand the lack of regulationthe number of people across the world who have survived a PGD screen must now number tens of thousands.
the number of people across the world who have survived a PGD screen must now number tens of thousands
Ultrasound scan to amniocentesis test. Amniocentesis is a diagnostic procedure performed by inserting a needle (seen on the left) through the abdominal wall into the uterus and withdrawing a small amount of fluid from the sac surrounding the fetus. The …
How common will PGD become? Is it possible that one day every citizen of an industrialized nation will have survived, as an embryo, a PGD screen? Most commentators who have considered such a scenariowhich was portrayed in the movie GATTACAdo not think so (Silver, 2000). Their main argument is that PGDand the need to use IVFis too expensive, inconvenient and limited in application to ever become widespread. They have a point: nature has contrived a cheap, easy and enjoyable way to conceive a child; IVF is none of these things.
However, the difficulties might be exaggerated. A course of IVF in the UK costs between 7,000 and 10,000expensive, but cheaper than a mid-range car, and trivial compared with the costs of raising a child. Conception rates using IVF are generally lower compared with the old-fashioned method, but that is because many of the women who undergo IVF are relatively old (CDC, 2003). For women under 35 who have no fertility problems, the success rate per cycle is greater than 50%, which is comparable to natural monthly conception rates. However, perhaps the most important evidence against the idea that IVFand PGDwill not catch on is the observation that it already has. At present, about 1% of Americans are conceived using IVF, and each year 4% of Danes start their life in a petri dish (Nyboe Andersen & Erb, 2006). It seems possible that if the cost of IVF decreases further and the number of PGD screens expands, an increasing number of parents will choose not to subject their children to the vicissitudes of natural conception and the risk of severe genetic disease.
It seems possible that an increasing number of parents will choose not to subject their children to the vicissitudes of natural conception and the risk of severe genetic disease
Ultimately, the argument for a universal, total mutation screen will be based on its economic costs and benefits. It is too soon to draw up a detailed balance sheet, but we can suggest some numbers. Congenital mental retardation afflicts about 51,000 children annually in the USA; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that each afflicted child will cost the US economy $1 million over the course of his or her lifethat is, a collective cost of $51 billion (CDC, 2004). This does not include the social and emotional cost that parents assume
in raising a mentally disabled child, which all but defy quantification.
Will neo-eugenics spread? Probably. At least it is hard to see what will stop it if, as I claim, it becomes possible to detect all known disease-causing mutations before birth or implantation, if the cost of IVF and PGD declines, and if eugenic screens have clear economic benefits. Some readers might find it peculiar that in this discussion of neo-eugenics, I have not considered the ethical or legal implications with which this subject is generally considered to be fraught. Although I do not doubt their importance, I simply have no particular knowledge of them. Peter Medawar put it best 40 years ago: If the termination of a pregnancy is now in question, scientific evidence might tell us that the chances of a defective birth are 100 percent, 50 percent, 25 percent, or perhaps unascertainable. The evidence is highly relevant to the decision, but the decision itself is not a scientific one, and I see no reason why scientists as such should be specially well-qualified to make it (Medawar, 1966).
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