[Taken from “Relevant Articles” folder in Dr. Hastings’ personal files]

Tiera Cord, Pallad City Post

Imagine having perfect teeth, 20/20 vision, acute hearing, and never being diagnosed with a serious illness, all while possessing an IQ that puts the greatest minds of the modern age to shame. Does this sound ridiculous? Set science fiction aside, this is already happening.

As of now, 2% of the population has embraced next-gen genome editing, a process that engineers what genetic factors parents wish to “edit out” or “insert in” their children. But what keeps this from becoming a more widespread practice? Aside from an individual’s personal beliefs or moral bias on the issue, only 2% of the population are currently wealthy enough to afford this costly procedure.

Efforts to genetically “enhance” future human beings have been met with much resistant in recent years as new gene therapy technology becomes prevalent. “Re-engineering genetic traits can lead down a slippery slope,” says Bertam Ress, a biologist at Silica University, who was once part of the Universal Revive initiative to study gene modification. “There’s already enough inequality and discrimination in today’s world, but this opens the doors to a new social order between those who are “enhanced” and those who remain “natural” and once we get there, there’s no going back. It’ll be an era of neo-eugenics, where individuals with the financial means can access commercial markets to ensure their offspring has a potential leg-up on those without the same resources. This will change the world in every possible sector, from employment, education, politics, military, sports, there will be no aspect of life that this won’t bleed into.” Two years ago Ress severed ties with Universal Revive due to his own disagreements with how rapidly they were advancing the program.

“I see nothing wrong with human improvement,” says Maura Yuu, a scientist with Genetica. Heavily involved in human genetic enhancement, Genetica is no stranger to controversy. Just last year they faced seven lawsuits from parents who claimed their children were genetically manipulated and experimented on without their knowledge. “To not actively seek out and advance the next stage of human evolution, now that we have the technology to do so, would be a travesty,” Yuu claims. “Some decry our work as immoral and remorseless, but nothing is more remorseless than nature, and if we can tip the balance—even just slightly—in humanity’s favor, who of sound mind would argue against it? One day, all of humanity will be genetically enhanced. They will need to be. It’s the only way to survive our increasingly hazardous planet. This is not a question of the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ as some have argued. It’s much larger than that.”

While the debate rages over concern for bioethical standards and limits to genetic enhancements, other concerns stem from experiments to splice human DNA with various non-human organisms. Three years ago, it was leaked that private military corporation, Hard Lock, had been involved in illegal bioengineering, genetically merging wolf genes with human test subjects. After investigating, authorities arrested four scientists that were involved.

(Continued in Section 2B)

Danger Zone One. Story by Midnight. Art by Salaiix.