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DNA Testing in Science Fiction


The Human Genome Project, DNA testing, mutations – genetics is the re-occurring theme in science fiction. Everybody looks up to a hero and TV and films do not disappoint us. As the world becomes more and more unstable through terrorist attacks and global warming, fictional superheroes are stepping up to the mark and DNA testing, genetics and mutations combine to explain their existence. The American series Heroes is the biggest hit to arrive on British terrestrial TV.

DNA Testing for Heroic Mutations

The TV series Heroes opened with Mohinder Suresh who is a lecturer at Chennai University, explaining to his students that the Human Genome Project is beginning to show miniscule variations in human DNA. The DNA test reveals that these variations might result in evolutionary qualities or superhuman skills such as levitation and teleportation. The TV show taps into a bountiful history of fiction that is being inspired by science. Genetics, DNA testing and mutations all have their place in science fiction movies from the X-Men to Spiderman.

DNA Testing and the Human Genome Project

The Human Genome Project is the international scientific effort that is working its way towards creating a complete map of the DNA of human being’s and identifying the codes within that DNA. It started in 1990 with scientists across the globe working towards revealing the secrets of human existence. DNA tests and DNA testing are becoming increasingly popular and can determine things such as ancestry, paternity and is also used extensively in forensic science in the fight against crime. It is thought that eventually DNA testing will be used widely in the world of medicine so that faulty genes can be detected and prevented – creating a kind of superhuman idea. Some believe that to tamper with DNA and genetics is likened to playing God.

Genetics and Superhumans

In 2006, it was thought that scientists sequenced all genes in the largest human chromosome. Therefore it is no surprise that science fiction writers are so much inspired by the idea of DNA testing, genetics and mutations.

I Need a Hero

This TV series features heroes who have superpowers. A geneticist is central to the plot and he believes the heroes have a shared genetic marker and are tracked and mapped by the human genome project. DNA testing reveals if they are one of these genetic mutations. Geneticists are already complaining about the pseudo-science used in the TV series but most people do accept it as fiction featuring superheroes and it is just simple entertainment, albeit entertainment that taps into very real fears about the threatening world we wish to be saved from.

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