DNA Manipulation – A Love Story
Submitted by Patricia Eng , Union City Library member
When I was a kid, I remember watching Lola Falana on a talk show. She was a Vegas-type entertainer who was popular in the 70’s. She spoke extensively about choosing a husband to maximize the physical beauty of her children. Even at age 8, with my crooked teeth and glasses, I thought that was silly and shallow.
While I was in college, I took an anthropology class that required us to read a book called The Selfish Gene. It said something about how we are compelled to make life choices to assure that our genes survive and multiply. My classmates and I were skeptical and joked about how our genes decided who was hot. I laughed as I adjusted my glasses, my retainer wire shining as I smiled.
At the age of 28, I was single and starting to feel the bloom of youth fading. My friend Jinah and I drove down to L.A. seeking adventure and escape from dead end jobs and relationships. We ended up at a Korean boarding house that she found in the newspaper. The main house had a communal living room and a kitchen where a huge pot of soup sat on the stove and rice stayed warm in a restaurant sized rice cooker. When you opened the refrig
erator, a deliciously pungent aroma of garlic and kimchee smacked you in the face.
There were four cozy bedrooms in the main house. We stayed in one of three make-shift rooms in a converted in-law apartment in the back yard. The other inhabitants were a mixture of business people and secretive wanderers. I was the only one who didn’t speak Korean.
One day, Jinah and I were lounging in the living room when a new boarder arrived. I was immediately attracted to him. Kwang-Min had big brown eyes and perfectly aligned teeth. Later I found out he had 20/20 vision. He was in America seeking business opportunit
ies. Little did he know that he would find a new life…with me.
It’s been over 20 years since we met. Our daughter has straight teeth and perfect vision. Our son has braces and glasses.
Submitted by Dennis Smith, Union City Library member
Probably every parent has at some time wished that they could change something about their child. Parents of children born with a disability surly wish there had been a way to prevent it. But many parents of healthy “normal” children are not satisfied with them and whish they could have changed something in their child’s make up.
Fathers often wish that their sons were taller, faster, stronger, generally more athletic. Mothers hope their daughters will be attractive, with nice hair and not prone to weight gain.
Science is close to offering us both, prevention of many congenital disabilities, and perhaps customizing a child to the parent’s preferences.
No one would argue with eliminating a disability. In a family prone to diabetes, a little genetic adjustment could end it. Many other birth defects might be circumvented as well. That would be wonderful if it works, but disastrous if the fix goes wrong.
Even if genetic alterations can eliminate some birth defects, it is the “next step” which should concern us. Should parents be allowed to determine any of their child’s characteristics?
Suppose a father is allowed to design his son to be the football player he always wished he had been. The son grows to be strong, and a fast runner, but his intellect and psychology lead him to pursue a career in music or medicine where his athletic abilities are not important. A surgeon’s hands need dexterity not size. What if he developed a love for horse racing? Linebackers don’t make good jockeys.
Write Your Story @ Union City Library
Join our library group, headed by Bruce Hasse, for an informal gathering of aspiring writers of all types of genres. Your writing can be memoirs, creative non-fiction, poetry, song lyrics, science fiction, plays,essays, you name it! We just want to hear what you have written and support each other as we grow as writers.
Third Tuesday of the Month: August 15, September 19 , and October 17 1 p.m. — 3 p.m.