Do some even want to be cured?
I wish that the NOVA episode Cracking the Code of Life had included more opinions about the larger picture of what the Human Genome Project could bring about. They did a great job of educating people; as an engineer, I have learned about DNA, cell replication and mutations more times than I can count, and their explanations were strikingly accurate and simple. In episode 8 they did an especially superb job at pulling the heart strings of viewers with babies and tears [NOVA: Cracking the Code of Life, Espisode 8]; but, babies don’t have formulated opinions on genetic engineering and that’s what I wish NOVA had focused on.
Eliminating disease could help so many people all over the world – there is no question about that. But what about those who consider their disease part of themselves or their culture? Would they or their culture cease to exist should a world without disease come about?
I interviewed my childhood best friend, Maggie W., a 22 year-old woman in nursing school who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was 12. I wanted to know what someone who had a condition as a result of a genetic mutation thought about abolishing genetic mutations. Here’s our Skype interview with some pictures of her:
So, you heard her. Diabetes is part of who she is. So, how is healthy Joe Plumber going to be comfortable with genetic engineering while those with conditions curable through genetic engineering are not even completely comfortable with it? I really would have liked to see more discussion of these kinds of ethical topics in the show. ‘Cracking the code of life’ should go hand in hand with ‘molding the code of ethics’, so, the ethics involved should not have been left out.
– Maggie D.