In sophisticated circles the feeling is gaining ground that our technological advances are outstripping the changes in the genetic structure of the race so drastically that steps must be taken rather quickly to correct the imbalance. Some are frankly asserting that there must be a radical application of genetic engineering if man is to change rapidly enough to control his world.
Experimental genetics has now clasped hands with biochemistry, and a movement is emerging for a rapid and planned modification of man. This must, it is alleged, move far more swiftly than is possible through the usual combination or “mix” of gene frequencies, even as this might be accelerated by selective eugenics.
For some years now there has been experimentation in the control of gene-selection by chemical means and modification of somatic cells by genetic surgery. Part of today’s scientific endeavor in eugenics is the outgrowth of this type of experimentation. At the present time, however, the idea is gaining ground that the more general experimentation with modification of somatic cells is too tedious a process. The emphasis is shifting to modification of the basic reproductive cell, the fertilized ovum, which would of course affect the programming of the entire resulting organism.
This mood has given rise to a movement that would extend to animal experimentation the process of asexual reproduction that is common among plants, by which colonies of plant-organisms are produced through the dispersal of cuttings from a single ancestral source. This technique has been applied with success to lower animal forms, such as fruit flies, salamanders, and frogs. It consists basically in the transplantation of a nucleus from a somatic cell ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more