Monday, July 15, 2013
The latest story, Brotherhood, will delve further into the genetic engineering science, so as a responsible SF writer, I researched details of genetic engineering to get terms and usage right.
Genetic engineering techniques can be anything from simply delivering a gene into a living cell (Gene Transfer) to finding a certain gene in a genome (Shotgun) to creating a gene from scratch (Gene Synthesis).
The various techniques are combined for complex genetic engineering applications, such as insulin development, human growth hormone, cystic fibrosis and genetic disease therapy.
Of course there is the scary side of genetic engineering like germ-line therapy and bio warfare. And there is the gray area of human cloning and species altering for interplanetary expansion. But, it is within genetic engineering that illness and diseases, such as cancer and HIV, will find cures.
And the truth is humans have been "genetically altering" for thousands of years. The Native Americans changed corn where it is almost unrecognizable today from its beginning state. And horticulturists have created whole new plant species with their work in cross-species slicing and binding. We've even unknowingly changed our own species by mate selection and self-designed environments over the generations.
Genetic engineering is just a more in your face and finesse approach to the subtler, slower natural process.
Like nuclear technology, there is a fine line between the benefits and danger of genetic engineering, but I'm willing to take the leap... at least for now and with the hopes it won't be too late if it goes too far.