Beyond Genetics: Putting the Power of DNA to Work in Your Life
Prominent bioethicist McGee urges readers to get smart about their DNA before it's too late in this genetic answer to Nicholas Negroponte's Being Digital. For instance, the author writes, though we would never leave our ATM code where someone could read it, we""think nothing of leaving bits of blood and tissue in the emergency room of a major hospital that is sure to conduct research on it."" In decades past, questions of genetics were answered by""appeals to natural law theory,"" and often led to discrimination, injustice and even genocide. But the very notion of heredity has become obsolete in the new world McGee describes; instead, scientists are about to offer reproductive choices beyond our imaginings, cure diseases and feed billions more people--all while making astonishing amounts of money from""our"" genes. In rapid-fire chapters packed with references to news stories and scientific studies, McGee outlines new developments in genetic testing, gene therapy and genetically modified food organisms. Just as personal computers have brought the digital revolution into our daily lives, home diagnostic kits will let us (or force us to) take charge of our own genes.""You'll update your medicine cabinet the way you update your computer software,"" writes McGee. Our food, drugs and children will all be subject to genetic analysis and modification. This book is something of a scattered cautionary lecture, veering off into corporate tactics, legalities and personal anecdotes, but McGee makes his point in the end, offering a heads-up assessment of how advances in genetic research are sure to complicate our lives.