The gene-ius in us

I just watched a documentary about manipulating genes. In the documentary we among others meet a Chinese girl, Lin Lin, who works as a researcher manipulating pig embryos. Listen to her fluent Chinglish:

 “I still remember the first time I see this embryos under my microscope. And then after 4 months and these embryos they are becoming the pigs. And I am just thinking  oh, these pigs they are used to be the embryos under my microscope, and I make these embryos. I am so exited about that!” -“Why?”, asks the interviewer. “Oh, it is really like being a mum.

This is life that I created. It is by my hand.”

Wow. Those last words belong to nobody but God Almighty. Anyway; so I thought. Manipulating the genome of pigs, the researchers are able to play God, making, molding and shaping individuals according to their own preferences, desires,wishes and ideas about what is best for humankind. The more we know about the genes of individuals, the more precise alterations can be made.  This is not science fiction. Not any more. Combined knowledge of phenotypes (macroscopic traits) and genotypes (an individual’s set of genes) give us rich insight into which genes plays which roles. This is real life, and it is happening daily. What is the goal of it all? At the Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) in China they have the capacity for sequencing 2000 human genomes per day. Why?

Illustrational; from the documentary.
Illustrational; from the documentary.

To perfect humans, naturally. At least that would be a natural implementation of the information gathered on the institute and its counterparts all around the globe. Just like we perfect tomatoes today, we can increase the power of evolution by going beyond natural selection. Human selection by breeding would be much faster and more controllable.

The sequencing power they have at BGI is enormous, if believing what we hear in the documentary. There seems to be nothing but a matter of time before we for instance understand which genes are responsible for elevated IQ score. It surely will turn out to be a complex affair , but with the combined effort of all the scientist teams around the globe now focusing in on the genetic code and the sequencing of individuals, I can hardly imagine that there is much more than a turtles walk across the road before we are there. As some of the scientists met in the documentary were dreaming about; the population mean IQ score could effectively be increased by picking and choosing our offspring. This would in turn lead to a population willing to change and adapt more efficiently. There would be a much greater human potential to realize. I guess they are right. We would all be smarter. And so it goes with all other desirable traits, too. We will all be more attractive. We will breed extremely caring and self-sacrificing nurses. We will breed heroic and brave soldiers and we will breed strategic leaders. Fantastic, indeed. But really – it is mind blowing to think about. Evolving from one-celled organisms, through some fishy intermediaries crawling up on the shore and all the way through to becoming majestic individuals capable of nothing less than altering their own genomic material! Individuals whose life and future is in their own hands to change and experiment with. Not only your own life. You can soon choose the features of your children. Oh my.

Waiwaiwaiwait. Hold on for just a second. What is actually going on here? A few thousand years back, God looked down at us humans, as in Babel a tower was raised into the heavens. With unrestricted control he said in omnipotence that

” If as one people all sharing a common language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be beyond them. Come, let’s go down and confuse their language so they won’t be able to understand each other.” (NET, Gen 11,6-7)

We speak the same language again, and are obviously more connected than anytime before. We research, develop, understand, teach, acquire new skills together with new technology and expand at a higher rate than ever seen before in history. There seem to be no boundaries to what we can do. Soon we will be on Mars. We have thoughts and theories stretching back to the very start of the presently known universe. We can manipulate our own genes or even clone ourselves.

Why does this happen? Where are the boundaries? What does God say when he looks down from heaven today? What about the concepts of spirit and soul that we can read about in the Bible. Where is it? Can we make souls? Many questions that until the present age have seemed artificial and far-fetched are now demanding answers. As Christians I think we will have to face many questions in the future.

What are your thoughts about it?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s