Gene Technology and Channing Tatum

Dear my most magic and beautiful friend named P, 

Everything is settling in here nicely in Austin-

(Us and the infamous naked cowboy. We didn’t stick the money in his pants, in case you were worried about that.)

I feel like a real college student. I study chemistry, ride buses and eat pizza for breakfast. 

Since I have been thinking about my career a lot, which hopefully will include doctoring and writing, I decided to read something by Michael Crichton, who is a recent hero of mine.

This spectacular fellow got his medical degree from Harvard, then went on to write Jurassic Park and the screenplay for ER. The book I just finished by him is called Next.


I would definitely recommend it. It covered some fascinating issues pertaining to genetics and biotechnology. It was one of the last books Crichton wrote before he died in 2008; it was published in 2006. The research is therefore pretty relevant.

The story is based around several issues outlined by Crichton at the end of the book:

1. Stop patenting genes

2. Establish clear guidelines for the use of human tissue

3. Pass laws to ensure that data about gene testing is made publuic

4. Avoid bans on research

5. Rescind the Bayh-Doyle Act (which allows universities, small businesses, and non-profits to own intellectual property)

All of these issues are wrapped up in controversy, but Crichton frames the story in a way that shows clearly how genetic technology could get very ugly very quickly. 

For example, there are not clear laws right now about human tissue commercialization. So if you give your blood to a hospital for tests, they then own that blood. It is considered “waste material.” But if the hospital discovered valuable properties in your blood, you would not be compensated for them. For example, if Channing Tatum did a blood test to check on blood sugar or something, and his doctor used his genes in his blood to create a pill that made men more attractive (this technology is hypothetical, but it could happen), and then the drugs sold for billions of dollars, then Channing Tatum would not get any more money for being, debatably, the most physically attractive person on the planet (of course, D Criss is more attractive for his amazing talent and personality, but Tatum wins look-wise, I think).

(He’s angry because they stole his genes)

I hope everything is going well at home!

Loads of love and kisses and ice cream and sunshine, 

E

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