Gavel Gamut


By Jim Redwine

China’s National Science Review reported in March 2019 that Bing Su of the Kunming Institute of Zoology has inserted human genes into monkeys. His apparent goal was to investigate how the brains of early primates developed along different paths with monkeys remaining in the trees and Homo sapiens progressing to the Internet.

Chinese scientist He Jiankui while at the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, China claims to have modified the genome, the DNA, of twin female humans in an attempt to preempt the possibility of them someday contracting the HIV virus.

Both of these researchers dealt with DNA and CRISPR. DNA is familiarly known as deoxyribonucleic acid and CRISPR is an acronym for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats. The genome is the famous Double Helix discovered by James Watson and Francis Crick in 1953. DNA is our 23 pairs of intertwined chromosomes that make us. CRISPR is the DNA from viruses that might protect us from other viruses such as HIV.

Gentle Reader, if I were you I would not rely upon this exposition of biological knowledge from me for answers you may wish some paid tutor to give on your child’s SAT test. Please remember, I was an English major.

Instead of science, let’s you and I turn to literature for our analysis of genetic engineering. We can start at the beginning. In Genesis, that was written about 400 BC if we look to the Dead Sea Scrolls for a date, Yahweh was doing a little human manipulation when he decided Adam needed a companion. The DNA from Adam’s rib was used to create Eve. The Bible does not explain why two Adams was not the result. However, blissful ignorance was the life these humans led until fruit from the Tree of Knowledge was eaten. Some may think it’s been all downhill since.

About 300 years before Adam and Eve those marvelous Greeks were writing about Achilles who was the product of a human, Peleus, and the immortal nymph, Thetis. This mixing of DNA’s of differing species helped lead to the sack of Troy.

Of course, Jesus, about 2,000 years ago, was a similar product of the human Mary and a god who used genetic merging to create a Prince of Peace. To my way of thinking this was evidence, there may be some true benefit to Mankind from such geometry.

As for me, I could support the manipulation of human genetics if we could create drivers who would not clog up the passing lane and who could survive at least a few moments without a cell phone stuck in their ear. Also, as a husband, could we not embed in wives a gene that allows for beer and football instead of yard work?

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