Will Modern Genetics Turn Us Into Gene “Genies”?

Recent Discoveries Hold Great Promise for Medical Advancement, and Great Peril for Social Equality

Magic Aladdin's Genie lamp on black with smoke

With the ubiquitous ways we apply our knowledge of genetics today—in crop seeds, medicine, space—it’s hard to believe the story of the modern gene did not emerge until the mid-1800s. The vast implications of this discovery about how living things hand down traits to offspring have spanned the range of enlightening to horrifying, from Darwin’s theory of evolution to Nazi eugenics. Technology has enabled us with relative swiftness to move beyond test tubes to actual human cells in manipulating organisms and their genetic materials. Recent discoveries such as the new …

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