Saturday, August 27, 2011


I just saw this for the first time in HD. It's visually quite stunning.

Embryo selection, but no additional engineering:
Geneticist (Blair Underwood): Keep in mind, this child is still you -- simply the best of you. You could conceive naturally a thousand times and never get such a result ...
According to this discussion, an offer of enhancement didn't make the final cut:
In an outtake to the movie, the geneticist states that for an extra $5,000 he could give the embryo enhanced musical or mathematical skills – essentially splicing in a gene that was not present on the parents’ original DNA.


botti said...

 James Watson seems to be a fan in this interview (although I seem to remember he was more critical in his book 'DNA').

"Looking around your office here, I notice that you have a copy of Gattaca on your desk.
W: Awfully good movie. It was pretty clever.

What do you think of the world that was depicted there? Is that something we'll see, do you think, or a version of it?

W: No. See, the reality is that we are genetically very unequal now.

So a version of Gattaca already exists today.

W: A version is already here."

Also, I just came across this interview with Bruce Lahn which touches on genetic engineering as well as cultural evolution having a genetic basis.

"It’s not outrageous to say that more recent cultural
events might also have a genetic component, though, conversely, they may
be purely cultural. I would argue that even though in the long run
cultural capabilities have a genetic basis, it doesn’t mean that each
cultural event has a genetic correlate. Maybe several cultural events
have one or several genetic correlates that didn’t all occur at the same
time. It isn’t that the emergence of written language necessarily had a
genetic correlate, but I think it’s a reasonable hypothesis to explore....

My sense is humans are almost certainly going to
speciate, that we are going to become a very different species, one that
appears and behaves very differently from humans today. I have no
doubt, not even a trace of doubt that this is going to happen. This is
not even a hypothesis. It’s almost as if you are asking me if humans are
still evolving. Of course. ...

Now, how is it that it occurs? I don’t know. I can
give you a couple of scenarios. And I agree with the one you just
brought up. I think that is a very reasonable one. Another one is,
you’re talking about cultural evolution, technological evolution feeding
back on genetic evolution. I can certainly imagine a situation where
feedback is actually deliberating information on our genetic code. Some
people figure out a way to change their genome to survive better. That
literally changes the whole game of evolution. You can imagine that
would create a situation where a substrata of people, people with the
ability to access resources who are also cognitively receptive to this
idea, would suddenly be able to evolve at a high rate."

Sam H said...

It's a good movie. With the wide rage of IQs distributed amongst peoples to a certain extent, especially after intercontinental travel, Gattaca has been here for quite some time. 

Guy_Brodude said...

I never "got" Uma Thurman; she looks like some kind of alien creature.

Guy_Brodude said...

I never "got" Uma Thurman; she has a very odd and alien-like appearance.

botti said...

Ethan Hawke obviously did (for a while at least), I think he & Thurman first met on the set of Gattaca.

LaurentMelchiorTellier said...

I've been planning to zygote-select since I was 15. ^_^ God, I love this movie.

I'm glad the enhancement splicing didn't make it in the final cut, TBH - that would muddy the ethics discussion.

Blog Archive