Category Archives: genetics

Religion of the Crakers

Warning: Possible spoilers ahead for Oryx and Crake More tha halfway through Atwood’s Oryx and Crake, we know little of what lead to the biological apocalypse, just somehow it was related to something Crake, formerly Glenn, did. What we do know is that Jimmy is left, watching over the Crakers, and serving as the priest of the […] Continue reading

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Modifications, Movie, and Message of Cloud Atlas

Warning: Some spoilers ahead of Cloud Atlas the Novel and Movie So over spring break I read David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas and then after watched the movie, both because it was assigned for class and I spend a total of 12 hours on planes. And you know what, I genuinely found that the movie was satisfying, though […] Continue reading

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The Logistics of Reincarnation

Hints of reincarnation are strewn throughout Cloud Atlas. While David Mitchell has said that he didn’t intend for this to be a theme, it is nevertheless an intriguing concept to entertain. Also, the film adaptation of the book makes this theme much more apparent, to the point where it is interesting to consider, at least. […] Continue reading

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Lost & Maybe Found?

I think we’ve lost it -our true purpose as writers, scientists, students, or whatever title you feel suits your calling. I say we, and place myself in a position of high guilt, because I didn’t even realize something was missing until I read “Ship Fever” by Andrea Barrett. The novella details the 1847 Typhus epidemic. […] Continue reading

Posted in 1847, Darwin, Disciples, Famine, genetics, Health Care, Ireland, Irish, Lamarck, Mendel, Passion, public policy, Science and humanities, Ship Fever | Comments Off on Lost & Maybe Found?

Sexism as Genetic Discrimination

The movie Gattaca shows an extreme version of genetic discrimination, where the opportunities available to someone are almost exclusively determined by their DNA. After reading Rare Bird, I argue that sexism is a form of genetic discrimination in its own way. Sarah Ann has limited opportunities available to her just because her lack of a […] Continue reading

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What does it mean to be human?

“If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?” The 1982 film Blade Runner is a science fiction classic for a reason. It is a stylishly made noir film that is not afraid to get philosophical. […] Continue reading

Posted in android, Blade, Blade Runner, film, Ford, genetics, Harrison, human, Humanity, literature, machine, Morality, noir, Runner, Science and humanities | Comments Off on What does it mean to be human?

Gene Therapy in Popular Culture

  Evidently, toying with our genes does not hold a place of very high esteem in our popular culture. From 1997′s Gattaca to 2007′s I Am Legend and 2011′s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, gene therapy is depicted as an unnatural and undesirable practice leading to consequences ranging from the degeneration of the human soul to complete global apocalypse. These […] Continue reading

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A World Without Einstein

In the 1997 film, Gattaca, the directors are trying to communicate the dangers of genetic engineering and human-influenced evolution. And while the film is not subtle with its reproach of the implied eugenics movement that is inherent in genetic screening, it really hits its point home with its deleted pre-credits scene. At 8:52 of the […] Continue reading

Posted in art versus science, deleted scenes, Einstein, Ethics of science, Eugenics, evolution, Future, Gattaca, Genetic discrimination, genetic engineering, genetics, human genome project | Comments Off on A World Without Einstein

The code of life may tell us “how” we are, but not “who” we are.

In the PBS documentary Cracking the Code of Life, the viewer gets a glimpse at the science and issues surrounding the growing field of genetics.  Since actually making sense of practices like DNA sequencing is pretty complex, the feature uses comparisons pretty liberally.  Eric Lander, the geneticist that the host probably spends the most time […] Continue reading

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The Business of Competition

While Craig Venter could be considered a morally repugnant man for some of his actions (using his own DNA in Celera’s research into the human genome, using the government’s decoded DNA in his project, etc), I like to think that he was also a catalytic force in the areas of genetic research. He has a […] Continue reading

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