What was Stephen King thinking? Typifying our historic grasp of the unknown, King’s novel The Green Mile (see movie) reveals the social impact of human genetic research. Then again, consistent with our understanding of the unknown, the impact had only benign representation.
The benefit of longevity was partially applied to the main character; however, the full application of human genetics allows for greater dignity to the research. The film leaves a legacy of social impacts of human genetics.
Much of genetics has to do with inheritance on the molecular level. The proverbial box opened in 1866 when Gregor Mendel published his findings on inheritance “factors.” After 137 years and full sequencing, the basic functional unit of inheritance, or gene, is no longer a mystery.
Subsequently, as geneticists have demonstrated, the harnessing of inheritance power, human genetics most assuredly will progress beyond cinema fantasy. Are the social impacts of human genetics beneficial?
Today, the possibility of a lengthier life exists, not just for one individual, but for entire generations. While most welcome a longer, healthier life, how trusting can we be that breakthroughs in genetics will not have damaging effects? Well, imagine the possibility of expansion.
Inhabiting the planet are billions who demand resources such as food, water and oil. Employment is also scarce as many have already experienced. The notion of long-distance travel, i.e. planetary, has been exhaustive when considering the human life span and its intolerance for great distances (not to mention other health risks).
Since light speed is still unreachable and, for practical purposes, will remain as such, the ability to lengthen life is within our reach. The passing of time, formerly a problem, will have little impact for a voyaging family in the future. The stellar rush, a golden one, will again have expansionary implications for the affluent and then proceed to the less fortunate earth-dwellers. History will likely repeat itself all over again. The social impacts of human genetics will never end.
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