1. I would not mind using Gattaca’s selection method in choosing my child. While the child would be less a result of chance, the fact that I chose how I wanted my child to be would make the child closer to me, because he or she would resemble my vision.
Disadvantages obviously exist, ranging from the moral debate over abortion and when life actually begins to the stress that could result from having to make a difficult choice or choices. In Gattaca, the parents were to choose the best of several already-developing embryos, and presumably the rest would be left to decompose. This would be highly objectionable to many people. It would not, however, be impractical because this already occurs to an extent with today’s “test tube babies.” Today, though, the goal is more geared towards selecting a bunch of cells that are actually developing, than selecting the cells with the best genetic makeup.
4. I think knowing a child’s likelihood of succumbing to certain ailments could be very valuable. While it may appear strange or futuristic, this is not much different than screening for diseases, which we already do. Knowing a child’s vulnerabilities can allow you to take necessary precautions – and maybe that vulnerability would not even become a serious problem as a result of knowing about it at birth. That is why genetic screening at birth is a good idea.
Some negative aspects exist though. For example, if you found out your kid would develop a heart problem at 2 months, which would certainly result in death, you would be faced with a tough decision. Abortion would become an even bigger issue. Now imagine the same scenario, but the child would almost certainly die at age 10. Would you school the child like any other, or would you travel and enjoy life for 10 years? That is where genetic screening could get very tricky – but again, similar situations could exist today – so this would not be that different.
I would certainly want to know as much as I can about myself or my children. Although you may potentially be revealing a death sentence, more likely you will be learning how to extend your life or that of your child. Knowing this information certainly would not shorten life.
5. A job interview based solely on DNA is ridiculous, because DNA does not change throughout life, but people do. Having a DNA profile can help an employer gauge some of the job candidate’s biological qualities, but only to a degree. Health has much more to do with how the body is treated than with DNA. A person with a heart defect can be much more physically fit than another person with “good” DNA if that person is gluttonous and sedentary.
Also, one of the most important areas to be evaluated is personality, which has very little to do with DNA. Unless the people in Gattaca had discovered genes that determine outgoingness and charisma, perseverance and determination, etc, I would say that DNA profiling should be a small part of the job interview process at most. People are the sum of their experiences – and experiences are not encoded into DNA.
Therefore, it is not fair at all to judge people based solely on their DNA. Some highly qualified people may be looked over, while others who are not at all qualified may get the go ahead even though they don’t deserve it. I certainly would not want a genetic-only interview! I think I have very few fabulous traits because of my DNA, but I’m sure I have some valuable qualities nevertheless.
6. For many of the same reasons that DNA-profiling would not make a good predictor of job success, genetic profiling would also not be very good for partner-matching. One area where this may be different than the employment standard though is that DNA can be a good predictor of physical traits. Though employment depends less on physical traits such as height and eye color than on personality traits, relationships do depend considerably on physical traits. Many relationships, after all, begin because two people think each other look desirable…in fact, all “love-at-first-sight” relationships obviously begin solely based on physical looks.
For these reasons, I wouldn’t mind having genetic profiling as a standard part of matchmaking. After all, millions of people looking for love browse online profiles of people every day. Many of these people are simply looking for someone attractive first, and then they determine whether the two of them are compatible later. This is basically the same as genetic profiling, except the later would probably be much more detailed. I would certainly not mind it if this technology were available to us today as easily as it is in the movie Gattaca.
The staircase in Mr. Perfect’s dwelling is perfectly helical, resembling DNA structure. This symbol is ironic in that the man with perfect genes cannot even climb the stairs, whereas Vincent can go up or down them, but he lacks a perfect genetic profile, which is all that matters at Gattaca.
The letters in the movie’s title are a DNA sequence (GATTACA).
The ocean keeps reappearing to remind Vincent of his childhood and of his imperfections. At the end, Vincent says he didn’t save anything for the swim back, which symbolizes his entire life-long struggle to overcome the hand the world dealt him.
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