11/24/2006

Genomics break-through bad for the politically correct movement?


Medical News Today-Humans Differ Genetically More Than Previously Thought

Google News Links

I was immediately struck by the headline listed in the first link above because a fundamental assumption of human evolution and biological structure has now been shattered to bits. As I understand this information I have read and reread, it states that the genetic variation between individuals could now reasonably be considered a factor in that person's cognitive and physical development. Prior conventional wisdom asserted that all human-beings are at the genetic level 99.9% the same, when in actuality it appears that the probable genetic variation between two individuals may in fact be 10-15 times greater. Due to inexplicable circumstances encountered over the course of our species' evolution, it is now common for there to be found extra "copies" of genes at varying rates from individual to individual, rather than the presumed two (one from each parent) per genetic trait. Though the article, and most of the articles so far listed on Google News have stressed the importance of these findings for the prospects of prescribing the genetic catalysts of specific diseases among some and not other, I see quite different implications on the horizon for the the concept of the individual and the "genetic ceilings" of limited capability if science continues to follow along this path.

Anyone who hasn't seen GATTACA, the 1997 film staring Ethan Hawke, should be sure to add it to their Netflix movie list ASAP. Hawke plays a genetically deficient individual who was branded as below average at birth based strictly on a blood sample. The movie goes on to address many of the ethical conundrums that this discovery has now leapt from the silver screen of science fiction and has planted itself on a collision course with the bio-ethical debates that are currently raging throughout American society. Since it has been a few years since I have had the opportunity to view the film I will refrain from commenting at length herein, but once I have had the chance to watch it through and write a review worthy of its philosophical foresightedness.

For now I would like to leave everyone to ponder the possibility that our race defines more about us than what terms we preferred to be grouped under (i.e. black, hispanic, etc...). What if we are each, as a result of our racial and cultural heritage, quantifiably superior to our fellow man of different heritage at the most basic level of being? This question only broaches a conversation that cannot very easily be addressed at length at this time, but upon further reflection I will definitely post my thoughts. I would greatly appreciate hearing your's, so please comment below on the ideas put forth in all posts.
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