Mutants, clones and geek culture: the tools to bring science to teenagers


The author of this short essay, Carlos Guevara, says that "it is a book designed to get out of that straitjacket that can be the curriculum or content that we sometimes see in school, and try to gather a very important topic and that will be much more, which is genetic. "

For the Mexican, a biologist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the idea did not look crazy in his head. Science fiction, movies, series and video games are full of references to mutants and clones, terms born of science.

Writer Carlos Guevara, author of the book "I am sorry to say that you are a mutant" (EFE)

To illustrate this, one only has to look at Hulk, the green and rabid superhero of Marvel Comics, who ends up having similarities to the ideas of the American geneticist Hermann Mulller, who discovered that mutations could be induced.

X-Men, Resident Evil and Blade Runner

The X-Men, zombies from the Resident Evil videogame or even the replicas of the cult film Blade Runner are also good examples of this. However, the writer, with these references, calls in his book to know that "all human beings carry some changes in DNA."

"This is a mutation, just a change, some are irrelevant and nothing happens, others can give the individual some advantage, and some other changes cause illness and complicate your life," he explains.

The book, presented at Guadalajara's recent International Book Fair (FIL), explores briefly, "so it can be read on the way to school or work," the operation of genetics and investigates an increasingly less specific science fiction reality and closer to real life: genetic engineering.

Human beings on demand

In this sense, the professor of scientific journalism of the School of Journalism, Carlos Septién García, recalls that, a few days ago, the news came that in China were created the first babies genetically modified.

It confirms that "the temptation was there and what was going to happen," he says, pointing out that a bioethical limit has been exceeded.

He felt that the idea does not look bad, because there are genes that cause disease, so "it is thought: it could be a good opportunity to take advantage of these new technologies to repair them."

"But the temptation is also to edit characteristics of another type (aesthetic) Who will decide which human characteristic is better or worse? History tells us that when we try to do this we end badly," he says.

Evolutionary history in genes

In performing this kind of action, "in future lives" it intervenes in the sense that "genes inherited from millions of years" are discarded.

The scientist describes evolution as a process of changing the genetic and physical characteristics of species over time.

"Our evolutionary history is in our genes, who are we, and by what criteria are we eliminating things we might find uncomfortable?"

This evolution has always occurred naturally. However, "we are now seeing an intentionality."

"And obviously this intentionality has a medical and ethical position behind it, a position in front of what is human and what should be human, and that part is dangerous," he reflects.

Looking to the future, Guevara does not see an improbable scenario as proposed by director Andrew Niccol's science fiction film "Gattaca," in which people pay to have certain genetic characteristics.

Then, without recounting, but confronting this idea, he concludes by saying that the human being is much more than his genetic material.

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