The new millennium brought us the culmination of the Human Genome Project, but this didn’t mean that there was one single human whose genome was decoded. Rather, it was a deliberate combination of adults, most of whom were unidentified volunteers from Buffalo, New York, along with J. Craig Venter, who jumped in and churned up the water, but that’s another story.
PEARCE: In maybe three or four decades or so, we’ll be choosing such traits as the average hedonic set point of our children. Over time, I think allelic combinations [suites of variant copies of mission-critical genes] that leave their bearers predisposed to unpleasant states of consciousness — unpleasant states that were genetically adaptive in our ancestral environment — will be weeded out of the gene pool.
H+: I might spend the whole day thinking about politics, economics — thinking about solutions to knotty human problems — and then I start thinking that a lot of this is hardwired. Maybe nothing really good is going to happen unless we change our wiring. Unless we actually technically evolve. Is that part of the intrigue with biotechnology?