People aren’t perfect.
In fact, they’re quite the opposite.
They steal. They lie. They stab you in the back. They smell. They get sick. They’re always needing to eat. Occasionally, they even die (the audacity!).
All of which surely makes you wonder… wouldn’t it solve a world of problems if we could just make a better human being?
Why, I’m glad you asked!
As it turns out, we’re not the only ones asking this question. The idea of making a better human being by way of genetic engineering has become an increasingly popular talking point in the 21st century.
What’s more, today’s scientists aren’t just asking whether or not it’s possible to make a better human being.
They’re actually attempting to do it- to cure and to enhance the human race. And so, here is your complete guide to how it’s done (both now and in the future):
The Complete 10-Step Guide
1. Give them bulletproof skin. Apparently, human skin reinforced with spider silk is four times stronger than Kevlon- strong enough, even, to stop bullets. And why would anyone want to wear a bullet-proof vest when their skin could do the job just as easily? Move over, Avengers! Who’s super now???
2. Start making body parts via assembly lines. Alright, alright… so they’re not making whole body parts… YET! Biologist-turned-venture-capitalist-extraordinaire Craig Venter and his Institute were one of several to recently receive research awards from the Pentagon’s ‘Living Foundries’ program, intended to streamline the production of genetically engineered cells.
3. Sell them a pair of $1,800 stingray sneakers. Perfect or not, Human 2.0 can still appreciate stylish footwear when the occasion calls for it. Recognizing the obvious and inevitable bubble market forming, Rayfish Footwear has begun selling one-of-a-kind shoes made from genetically engineered stingrays.
4. Start from scratch with an entirely-synthetic genome. In yet another feat of the (in)famous tech-mogul Craig Venter (speaking of Avengers, doesn’t he remind you of someone?), Venter’s institute recently succeeded in creating the first living organism made out of an entirely-synthetic genome.
5. Banish the bad genes. You know all those cancer genes and heart-disease genes and homicidal maniac genes? Yeah, we don’t like them either. Fortunately, we’ve come across a simple solution… now we can just banish them! It’s easy as pie!*
6. Turn DNA into a ‘living hard drive’. Check.
7. ‘Screen out’ the embryos that just don’t cut it. Reduced costs for genetic screening during pregnancy have now increased the number of genetic predispositions that parents can be notified of. This January article in The Globe and Mail points out a few of the people who might have been ‘screened out’ had their parents been notified of their own predisposition. Among them: Stephen Hawking, Stevie Wonder, Michael J. Fox, Neil Young, and Ernest Hemingway.
8. Get them used to the idea by first feeding them genetically-engineered salmon. It’s true. There’s no better way to my heart, at least, than a tasty filet of salmon. Serve me some genetically-engineered crab cakes, and you can stick me with all the needles you’d like. Mmm.
9. Vaccinate the bananas. Now there’s a cause I could really get behind.
10. Help them keep track of Mr. Whiskers. In what is perhaps the most practical feat on this list, South Korean scientists recently designed glow-in-the-dark cats. Let’s just say… not a good idea if you’re a recreational drug user.
*You might notice a hint of sarcasm here. Just for the record, it’s not because I think the research is a joke. It’s only the way the research is sometimes conveyed in the media that I find humorous. (Okay, the stingray sneakers research is a joke… but the rest I have no qualms with)
Photo Credit: Gato-Gato-Gato (Creative Commons)
This week’s topic (also known as the Weekly Curiosity) is genetic engineering. Check back each weekday at 12:34pm for a new post exploring this idea. In the meantime, here are three ways you can join the quest: