HGP - Human Genome Project
The evil Dr. TAD
Now, according to the media, "We have cracked the code". The genetic code of life that is. We can play God, design our future offspring and generally discriminate against our human neighbours. As you can probably tell already, I'm not that enthusiastic about the announcement that scientists have mapped all those A, C, G, T letters that make up human DNA.
Well, I don't think they truly have finished. This Human Genome Project has, IMHO, turned into a farce during the past few years. This knowledge, that 'we all' apparently now have, has been hyped as being THE most important discovery in history, blah, blah... With the ability to cure cancer, prolong life to extreme limits, produce a hyper-intelligent race and of course create vast profits for certain companies.
Why farce? Well, if having the list of A, C, G, T letters is such an awesome power then why were so many companies and institutions competing in a race to see who could finish first? This isn't a f***ing egg-n-spoon race! And how can they be sure that in their crazy urge to reach the finishing post that they haven't made a mistake? They can't. I have a bad feeling that we will see in the near future the effects of those hurried mapping mistakes, and I don't expect those responsible to accept any fault, or feel any obligation to correct their mistakes.
The way it has been portrayed in the media you would think that they have just found the fountain of life, proof of God, the secret of life, how to travel through time, cure boldness and how to stop a piece of toast from hitting the floor butter-side down. But let's face it, the mapping is only the very first step. They haven't found a cure for cancer or AIDS. In fact they have only managed to take all of the pieces out of the jigsaw box and count them.
Now comes the more difficult task of putting the jigsaw together.
Open the box, slam the door!
The potential abuse of this genetic information scares the sh*t out of me. You can forget about racial, gender, age and disability based forms of discrimination. ALL of this and far, far more will soon be possible. When applying for medical cover, a job, insurance or a loan you may need to provide a genetic sample in order to assess your chances of living long enough to finish the task and if you have any undesirable traits which can be used to reject your request.
Could this be a real Pandora's Box? and if so, would you entrust it to large companies or a global corporation? Maybe M1cro$oft will be the chosen company to write the software which scans each 'genetic C.V.' and accepts or rejects each applicant based on their MS genome 2000 database results.
Getting a job rejection letter is bad enough, but consider getting one which says "Sorry, but in five months time we predict you will die a slow, painful death due to the stress caused by this rejection letter. Have a nice day."
WE OWN YOUR ASS!
The possible implications of this new knowledge has already provoked some concerns, and rightly so. The insurance companies and employers are 'creaming in their jeans' with the thought of getting their grumby hands on this genetic information.
There already have been thousands (if not millions) of patents connected with the Human Genome Project (HGP), which I personally think is totally immoral. Sure, they have a right to protect their work, but shouldn't this be for a cure, a medicine or treatment method? Why should they wish to own a disorder, a faulty gene sequence?
Keep taking the pills.
There is no doubt that the information can be useful in the future, BUT. At the present time nothing has changed. You still need to take your pills, have your kidney dialysis and undergo brutal operations, surgery or treatment. It has taken about 10 years to collect the HGP information and will probably take another 10, or perhaps 100, years to understand what each of those A, C, G, T letters actually do.
So what happens if the average length of life is extended by fixing problems before they occur? What will the future hold for over-population? Will there be a certain limit for each citizen's life? Something along the lines of the classic film, Logan's Run where at a specified age your ass is terminated. Or will the governments around the world announce a law where only certain people can reproduce, perhaps only those who carry the most productive genes?
Will it be a a case of "Brave New World" or "Grave New World?"
I'm sure the military will also take advantage of the HGP. Imagine weapons where you could program a specific DNA target and release a customised virus just for that person and no-one else. Frightening, isn't it?
Welcome to Human-Genome-World(tm).
We hope you enjoy your 150 year stay.