New in paperback. Hardocver was publsihed in 2002. Opens with the stories of the lives of two women; gene science causes the life of one to be free of suffering but fills that of the other with discrimination and oppression.
On the last day of August in the year 2020 two girls are born. Genetic science enables the long life of one of them to be happy and free of suffering; she finally dies in 2140. In stark contrast, genes fill the life of the other with discrimination and oppression, and after enduring much misery she dies young, in 2048. These 'future histories' of two individuals provide a striking opening to Genetic Destinies. In the chapters that follow, Peter Little discusses the reality of the power of gene science in clear, non-technical language wholly accessible to the general reader. After explaining what genes are, and what role they have in making us human, he explores an intriguing paradox of genes: not only do they make us look similar, they also contribute to the differences between us. He shows how the distant origins of human beings influence our present and, with a carefully dispassionate eye, examines the socially contentious issues of 'race' and gene differences.The intricate interplay of genes, gene differences, and lifestyle leads to the thought-provoking realization that not only do gene differences describe our past, they also contribute to our futures - shown by the role of genes in making us healthy or diseased, in forming the human brain and mind, and influencing our personalities and our intelligence. It is an interplay of great complexity. Based on this understanding Peter Little carefully leads the reader through the potential of using gene technology to remake human beings and shows why this is unlikely to become a practical reality. This knowledge takes the reader to the very cutting edge of current genetics. Genetic Destinies ends by returning to the lives of the two fictional women and uses their future histories to show that the fears we have of gene science are based on misplaced ideas of the power of genes. The reality is that we all have a personal destiny, but we have no way of predicting what it will be. Our genes, and the differences they contain, have moulded us from the moment of conception but, as our genes and our lives combine in an intricate dance of mutual influence, we face myriad genetic destinies.Our true genetic destiny is to live our lives as human beings - unique, unpredictable, and irreplaceable in all of history and all of future time: a wonderful prospect.
Genes, dreams and nightmares; Why do we all look like different human beings?; Genes, the mind and behaviour; A hundred thousand reasons for being different; Differences, genes and lives; Can we alter our inheritance?; Dreams and nightmares revisited; So what are you afraid of now?; The yrassolg - reverse glossary.