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by Dale Connelly, 6/30/00

Dc: This is DCR, news meant for amusement. The week's biggest news was the announcement that a government project and private venture have virtually completed the mapping of the human genetic code, a first step into a brave new world of biotechnology.
In the days following the announcement, futuristic scenarios have spread … how the gene map will give us new strategies in the fight with cancer … how birth defects might be identified early, and corrected! But also how privacy might be violated and rights denied.
The good and evil possibilities seem limitless.
With me in the studio is one of the thousands of scientists who worked on the project, Dina Guanine. Thanks for coming in, and for bringing a copy of the gene map with you.

(sfx: rustling paper)

Dina: Happy to do it. This belongs to everyone.

Dc: That's one of the public/private issues here. The question of access.

Dina: Yes. It is so much a part of US, I don't see how we can limit access or sell it in any way.

Dc: So everything is here?

Dina: Everything down to the smallest little tic, the tiniest aberration. All our human imperfections, laid out logically and in the proper sequence.
It's magnificent. And potentially very useful.

Dc: Useful for …?

Dina: Fixing problems.

Dc: So you're thinking this map can be used to make humans perfect?

Dina: I don't know that humans can ever be perfect.

Dc: Well why not?

Dina: Imperfection has always been the most reliable human trait.

Dc: And we're not perfect now!

Dina: So how could we ever make something that IS perfect?
It doesn't make sense, and it's not desirable anyway.

Dc: You think achieving perfection through biotechnology would rob us of something?

Dina: Yes. All our cash.
But that doesn't mean there can't be a good middle ground. We don't have to be fallible or messy or thick headed all the time. We can improve and this will help us.

Dc: For example?

Dina: Well, look at you, Dale. It's too late now, of course, but check out all your inherited flaws. That sparse head of hair, that weak jaw, that thin upper lip. It's all written here on the map. We could have looked at this when you were a baby and seen what was going to happen and fixed you long before you went bad.

Dc: Seriously? That could be done?

Dina: Oh, sure. Looky here.

(sfx: map rustling)

Let's find the exact location of the instructions that led to your sunken chest and little pot belly.

Dc: I don't know that we need to do THAT!

Dina: Oh sure. Let's see here … it's chromosome 13 … count down about 38 bars.

Dc: Is this it? Here?

Dina: That? Um …. uh, no, that's your saggy chin.

Dc: How about here?

Dina: There? No, that's your obnoxious little chortling laugh.

Dc: I have an obnoxious laugh?

Dina: It's not your fault. It's in the genes. See?

Dc: This right here?

Dina: No, let me look.

(sfx: rustle paper)

No, I think right there is your overbite. Let's see. This is chromosome 13. Hang on … One … two … three …

Dc: Are you lost?

Dina: NO! Heavens no. Um … G … T … A …

Dc: The map looks very confusing.

Dina: I helped draw the map! I'm not confused. Just a bit … overwhelmed.

(sfx: more rustling)

Dc: So are we all. And this is only the beginning. The real work starts now.

Dina: I keep hearing that, but I've just logged ten years of sequencing genes and so I feel like I have some real work behind me too.

Dina: Can you help me twist this into a double helix?

(sfx: lots of paper crumpling)

Dc: Dina Guanine, gene researcher, with the newly almost completed but certainly close enough for sophisticated guesswork map of the Human Genome. Thanks for coming in.

Dina: Right.

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