DNA tracking is now. Not the future.

Gattaca

Gattaca is a 1997 science fiction film written and directed by Andrew Niccol.

If you read or write dystopian fiction, you may have considered whether or not big brother is watching. Or rather, what might happen in the future if we really did have a world-wide breakdown and the government became oppressive in all the evil, totalitarian ways of nightmares.

Well, not to add to the paranoia of our Orwellian imaginations, but there are already hints that scientists can discover a person’s identity by searching genomes on the internet. Forget using Google Maps to find your house. These scientists can track you down using what’s inside your body. (See more at Scientists Discover How to Identify People From ‘Anonymous’ Genomes from Wired Science)

So, while I’m having visions of managing my DNA to the tune of planting skin and burning my cast-off cells ala Gattaca, I try to look past the repercussions to personal privacy and value the advancement in DNA research. Anything that can help us battle cancer, alleviate disabilities, and help us resolve crimes, I’m all for. But when we donate bone marrow, blood, or even the genetic makeup to help others have children, we’re giving away a bit of our privacy.

What do you think? Is it worth the risk of losing privacy to further research for the better? Or are we starting to run the risks of privacy being a thing of the past?

I, for one, believe we no longer live in an age of privacy. Even our DNA is up for grabs.

***

Ella Drake is a dark paranormal and science fiction romance author. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, & Goodreads. Her Science Fiction Romance, Desert Blade is a near-future post-apocalyptic romance from Carina Press. Currently available SFR: Silver Bound, Jaq’s Harp, Braided Silk & Firestorm on E’Terra. And now from Lyrical Press, MetalMark.

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4 comments

  1. I can absolutely see ‘Gattaca’ happening. The quest for human perfection is well underway; it’s superficial at the moment, an obsession with cosmetic enhancements. But it could turn inward so, so easily. You start marketing “designer genes” and see how hard it’ll be to regulate it. Hell, this is capitalism; regulation is a dirty word, right?

    But I’m all for eradicating diseases and serious genetic deformities. Nature is a cruel bitch, and should be corrected. Anything beyond that scares the *bleep* out of me, because I know it’s ALL coming. Michael Crichton’s ‘Next’ raised some pretty disturbing questions. Privacy among them. For instance if corporations can own the patents to certain genes (which they apparently do), how much of me actually belongs to me?

    Fascinating stuff. Thanks, Ella.

    1. “How much of me actually belongs to me?”
      It’s a chilling, chilling thought, and honestly, it’s a question that’s driven much of my SF fiction. So many ways to consider this. But in this one instance, corporations owning patents to certain genes does already happen. Just in the case of modified crops, it can cause problems already. Taking out the irregularities of nature can cause the soil to deplete, pests to adapt, other competitive food crops to be invaded, choked out, or assimilated. And that’s today. With something like corn. Think of how that works when applied to humans.
      It can definitely give one cause to wonder. And then write a novel!

  2. The thing that bothers me is the day when human cloning becomes legal. Then, people can make a “you” that they technically own. Our DNA isn’t hard to get (and it never has been), but now that someone can actually do something with it? Scary.

    Though, l if someone cloned me, all they’d get is a really lazy clone. So, joke’s on them, I suppose.

    1. The thing about that, cloning an individual, is how much of the history and environmental circumstances goes into creating what is “you”. So if you’re cloned, but your clone is fed differently, raised differently, given certain vitamins, trained for a certain job, is he you?

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