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Will Genetic Engineering Endanger Humanity?


The gene is the fundamental unit of heredity and the basic unit of all biological information. It also is, according to Pulitzer Prize-winning author Siddhartha Mukherjee, one of the most dangerous ideas in the history of science. The gene started as a scientific concept but, through human discourse, has transformed culture, society, politics, and language. Now, technology and knowledge of genes have allowed us to manipulate organisms and their genetic materials with dexterity and power—not only in test tubes, but inside actual human cells. Will genetics allow us to change our very behavior, and our own fates? How does our growing capacity to understand and manipulate human genomes change our understanding of what it means to be human? Mukherjee, author of the new book The Gene: An Intimate History, visits Zócalo to explore the possibilities—and perils—of gene manipulation.