I have always been amazed and in awe of the progress we have as human beings. The advancements in technology and science consumes me and makes me proud as a human being. These advancements were previously just science fiction and now it is reality! Shows you just how amazing a human mind truly is.
But then, there are times that I just shake my head and think that we have actually regressed rather than progressed…
A recent report stated that a group of scientists have finally “bred” rabbits that glow in the dark. (I’ll give you a moment to have your fill of your chosen expletives)
In the dark.
They did this by injecting jellyfish DNA into rabbit embryos and then reinserting them in their mother’s womb. The result, rabbits that glow in the dark like a radioactive experiment worthy to have its own comic book series.
This is actually quite interesting. The fact that we are able to do this: to splice DNA and insert another specie’s DNA into another is nothing short of amazing. I brought this up with my kids and immediately they were fascinated. However I started laughing when they started asking where the tentacles were. I love how imaginative kids are…
I brought this up as well to A and the whole conversation was worthy of its own post:
Me: Did you know that they have made glow in the dark rabbits?
A: Who are “they”?
A: Like real rabbits?
Me: Like real rabbits.
A: Why would they do that?
Me: Because they can.
A: So…they make glow in the dark rabbits but they can’t make pandas f*ck? Shouldn’t they be focusing on that? Pandas are dying and they play around with glow in the dark rabbits.
Me: (After a moment of pondering) Maybe their expertise is limited to rabbits…
A: Well, there is a benefit. It makes it easier to shoot them in the dark.
Now while I find this whole thing fascinating, it also opens itself up to several debates and questions. Yes, it is amazing that this can be done and this proves that there is a possibility that we can (eventually) alter and engineer our genetics and be disease free. It raises a good question though: Is this what we really want?
Personally, I think the beauty of humanity is that we are essentially flawed. Our flaws and our imperfections are what makes us unique and what makes us human. If it were possible to remove anything and everything that is deemed to be genetically imperfect or damaged (borrowing the term from the Divergent series), would you do it? I asked this question to several of my friends and most of them said that they would jump on the chance of genetically engineering their children to ensure that they are genetically perfect or at least as close to it as possible (Designer babies, I said. Like Chanel or Prada)
Yes, I see the benefits. I see a world where there will be no more heartaches caused by a death in the family due to cancer or MS. I can see a world where we can finally cure the freaking common cold! But I can’t ignore that nagging feeling in my gut. If there’s one thing I have experienced with Mother Nature is that you let her deal with the evolution. Don’t f*ck with her as she can be pretty vindictive.
Coitus with Mother Nature aside, there’s the whole ethical argument as well. Is it moral for us to play “god”? Who gave us the right to play around with DNA? I know it’s a little off (well, no, not really) but let’s go back to the times when the Nazis were experimenting with the Jews. The experiments that they did on them were nothing short of torture. However, the advancements and the discoveries that they have had contributed to the advancement of modern medicine. Does the end really justify the means? Would it have been really better if those experiments didn’t happen. (Well, of course it would’ve been better if they weren’t done out of torture and that the test subjects were volunteers, right? But you get my point, right?)
I honestly don’t know how I should react to this. I guess I’ll just have to cross the bridge when I get there. Or with any luck, maybe I will never ever get there. Maybe my kids will have the option. For now, they do want the glow in the dark rabbit only because they think it makes for a great night light.
I wonder if they also have glow in the dark poop…