Category Archives: genetics

The Body, Unignorable

As I write this Italy is reporting its deadliest day since the beginning of the coronavirus. 368 people are dead, and I am reading A.E. Van Vogt’s Slan, Larry Niven’s Ringworld, and Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake for a module called “Altered Humans –… Continue reading

Posted in Atwood, Biology, Climate Change and Ecology, Coronavirus, dystopia, genetics, Margaret Atwood, Niven, Oryx and Crake, SF, Van Vogt | Comments Off on The Body, Unignorable

Blood Lines – Graphic Fiction about Genetic Enhancement

This collaborative project from 2008 features the artwork of Anna Musun-Miller and the creative narrative by Matt Walker, both former Vanderbilt students in an early iteration of this class. Continue reading

Posted in Class Projects, Comics, coming of age, genetic engineering, Genetic enhancement, genetics, Girlhood, Graphic novel, Precocious children, SF | Comments Off on Blood Lines – Graphic Fiction about Genetic Enhancement

CRISPR, Cloning, and Self Preservation: How SF Handles Morale

Cloning is my favorite thing ever. Okay, let me rephrase. Studying the sociological and scientific impacts of cloning is one of my favorite intellectual ventures (second only to my recent research on the Oxford comma). In high school, I even had the opportunity three times to hear renowned Harvard-alum Sam Rhine lecture at his annual […] Continue reading

Posted in clone, Cloning, CRISPR, Frankenstein, genetic ethics, genetic modification, genetics, Mary Shelley, organ donation, Science Fiction, SF | Comments Off on CRISPR, Cloning, and Self Preservation: How SF Handles Morale

A New Age of Eugenics?

Within the genre of science fiction, the issue of eugenics and the evolution of mankind through selective reproduction and genetic manipulation has played a prominent role works such as Frank Herbert’s Dune, Robert Heinlein’s Methuselah’s Children, and Octavia E. Butler’s Lilith’s Brood trilogy to name only a few. While commonly dismissed in the present-day as […] Continue reading

Posted in Biology, Butler, Octavia, CRISPR, Eugenics, evolution, Fiction, genetic engineering, genetic ethics, genetic manipulation, genetics, Heinlein, humanities, medical ethics | Comments Off on A New Age of Eugenics?

Patient Zero – Prologue

“So what does an immunologist turned successful business man want with a humble epidemiologist anyway?” asked Rohan as his old friend from medical school sat down in his office. “Not a humble epidemiologist,” replied Robert, “the best.” “I looked at the models of disease spread you wanted me to run…I’m afraid I’m going to need […] Continue reading

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What Do We Sacrifice For “Perfection”?

It looked like any other hospital waiting room. Well, any other hospital waiting room in the year 2050. I’ve been told that you weren’t kept behind bars like a common criminal. I’ve been told the doors didn’t always have locks on the outside. Hell, I’ve even been told the rooms had chairs to sit in. […] Continue reading

Posted in biological engineering, biological modification, Biology, creative writing, criminal, cure, defect, disabilities, disability, ethical dilemma, ethics, evolution, Fiction, Future, gender, genetic engineering, genetic modification, genetic perfection, genetics, hospital, medical ethics, medicine, Morality, morals, procedure, Sci-Fi, science, Science Fiction, sex change, sexual orientation, social change, transexual, transgender, transsexual | Comments Off on What Do We Sacrifice For “Perfection”?

If only you knew…

I hate the researchers. I loathe them with every fiber of my being. I was not conscious for the procedure, of course. I was only a microscopic cell when they first implanted the DNA of their own kind into me. After my birth, I was allowed a miniscule amount of time with my mother, until I was violently […] Continue reading

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Manifest Destiny in the New Frontier

Americans have always been a curious lot.  We have felt this desire to “boldly go where no man has gone before” from the time of the late 19th century when the idea of “Manifest Destiny” was coined, an idea reflecting our belief that we were destined to explore and colonize the new realm of the wild west, to […] Continue reading

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. . . Goes It So And

“It will only be a little pinch.” Doctors always say that. I think they say it more for themselves than for the patient. A little asterisk to fluff their conscious. They hurt you, but they tell themselves it is to help you. They hurt you, but it only hurts a little bit. You tell me […] Continue reading

Posted in Biology, evolution, Genes, genetic manipulation, genetics, Sci-Fi, Science Fiction, society, war | Comments Off on . . . Goes It So And

Leaping Across Evolutionary Niches in The Windup Girl

In his science fiction novel The Windup Girl, Paolo Bacigalupi imagines a world in which certain types of genetic information have become scarce commodities, tracked down by the intrigues of global companies and hoarded in top-security seedbanks. Genet… Continue reading

Posted in Darwin, evolution, genetics, niche, Origin of Species, Paolo Bacigalupi, Science Fiction, The Windup Girl | Comments Off on Leaping Across Evolutionary Niches in The Windup Girl