Week 2 Response—“There is no gene for fate.”—Gattaca

No one can actually say that gene is not important in our life, but gene does not mean anything. In the film Gattaca, the gene was the first requirement of their social status—person was born with the genetic modification always got the preferential treatment, like Jerome and Vincent’s brother Anton, and person like Vincent who was born with nature will never get attentions from the society or even discriminated by the over-all situation no matter how much efforts he made. The genetic discrimination world, which was described in this film, was totally not a fable. In fact, it happened in the real world, and because of this, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act was enacted on May 21, 2008. “This was an Act of Congress in the United States designed to prohibit the use of genetic information in health insurance and employment.” (Wikipedia)

According to the history of genetic technology, in 1973 American biologists Stanley N. Cohen and Herbert W. Boyer broke down the DNA into segments and found the breakthroughs after reassembled them. Today’s biological science and technology can not only cloning, transgenic, but also innovation. The development of genetic technology drove the eugenics. In the world of Gattaca, the eugenic clinics were popular, but in the real world, imaging that if human make by genetic modification, the structure of the whole human society will be changed, and the race, region and gender are no longer important because people can choose whatever genes they like to create their children, and definitely it will be a terrible world.

In essence, the development of modern genetic engineering technology cannot obtain any fateful conclusion. For example, we can predict how many chances a person may get the alzheimer disease, but the probability was still super small. Probability can only represent a possible—a 30% chance of heart disease cannot be predicted this person will get heart disease in the future, he or she still has 70% chance of having a healthy heart.

The birth of Human being caused the inequalities of the past, also at present, and will not disappear in the future. The most important thing for facing this situation was not changing the gene itself, that was our attitude of discrimination. In the film, the “perfect” Jerome represented a kind of person who cannot face their failure, and finally he chose death. But Vincent, who has treated as an inferior man, always did his best for the ideal, without reservation, and finally he realized his dream. Vincent kept striving to prove “there is no gene for fate”, this should not only referring that the genetic modification eventually cannot predict the future or explain human’s emotions, but also the more important thing was that even if one day the genetic technology can determine our “core character”, and the computer program can explain our subtle emotion, the meaning of life was still there, like the great quote in the film—“No matter what kind of flaw you have, you still have yourself and the hope.”

—Mengchun Tao

I will be presenting during week 5.


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