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Gattaca Movie (1997) and Biocultural Analysis

Gattaca is a 1997 American science fiction film directed by Andrew Niccol. The film is set in a world where social status is defined by genetic makeup. Eugenics, or the practice of conceiving children by genetic experimentation, has become the most popular method of childbirth (Niccol, 2015). Despite the fact that discrimination is illegal, the D.N. A test has become commonplace, and those who were spontaneously born are regarded as 'invalids,' resulting in discrimination in a variety of ways, such as being assigned to small occupations. As a result, this study provides a synopsis, the biocultural hypothesis, and the real-world ramifications of the film Gattaca (1997).
Media Summary
The film, Gattaca (1997) is set shortly where genetically conceived babies are preferred to those that are born naturally. The main characters in this film include Vincent Jerome, Eugene, Irene, Director Josef, Detective Hugo, and Anton. Vincent Freeman is among the last children to be naturally conceived. After his birth, the physicians tell his parents of his many limitations, in particular, that his lifespan is estimated to be 30.2 years (Niccol, 2015). Vincent decides to travel to the stars. However, he is categorized by the society as not suitable regarding his genetic composition, and he has turned out to be among the discriminated humans who are only offered menial careers. To proceed with his mission, he assumes Jerome Morrow’s identity since the latter had a perfect genetic composition and was paraplegic due to his involvement in a car accident. Vincent manages to deceive the urine and DNA sample testing after following a professional advice. However, his mission becomes jeopardized when his program director is murdered, and a fresh investigation is tabled.

Biocultural Phenomenon

In the near future, when the idea of genetic engineering is common among humans, and the DNA plays an integral part in identifying one’s social class, Vincent is conceived and born naturally without the assistance of genetic engineering technologies. He suffers from the almost eliminated physical deformations of congenital heart disease and myopia, and his life expectancy is estimated to be 30.2 years, which makes him face extreme genetic prejudice and discrimination (Gattaca, 2017). Therefore, Vincent cannot achieve his astronautic mission unless he breaks the law by impersonating a “valid” individual with suitable genetic composition. Vincent is forced to impersonate Jerome Morrow, who has a valid genetic composition but was paralyzed while outside the country, which implied that no one knew about his whereabouts. Therefore, to achieve this impersonating mission, Vincent needs to perform some surgeries so change his physicality to resemble Jerome. By doing so, Vincent performs a dangerous mission which if exposed could legally cause him to be fined, but could have even worse social consequences (Gattaca, 2017). The cultural implications of the movie are that class is determined by the genetic composition of an individual, and one cannot perform an important role in the society without possessing a perfect genetic composition. Vincent is perceived by the society as ‘invalid” since he was born naturally without the aid of genetic engineering.

Real World Implications

Based on the story in the film, the changing technology could have adverse impacts on human life shortly. Currently, genetic engineering is being practiced by most scientists, which includes examination of genes, and only those that are suitable and resistant against various disease types are utilized in making the genetic composition of an individual (MacKellar, 2015). Soon, human conception process could be purely changed from natural to genetically artificial, which would involve genetic manipulation. Genetic engineering might also give birth to a new type of discrimination, whereby the naturally born babies will be seen as less valuable compared to those conceived through the process of gene manipulation (MacKellar, 2015). As stated in the movie, genetic composition of a person will be used to determine his or her social class, consequently playing a significant role in determining the kind of occupation an individual gets. People with genetically modified genes will be given an upper hand in acquiring essential functions and jobs in the society as compared to the naturally born individuals.

Conclusion

According to the evidence provided in the movie Gattaca (1997), the idea of genetic engineering in the conception of human beings comes with both advantages and drawbacks. First, those conceived through the eugenic process have certain benefits such reduced probability of contracting diseases. Furthermore, such people would be made of a surely perfect genetic composition, which would assure for them good physical and mental qualities. On the other hand, the eugenic process causes those who are naturally born to be discriminated in many societal fields such as job allocation and class determination., In the movie Gattaca (1997), Vincent is seen as an ‘invalid’ individual and cannot proceed with his astronautic mission unless he impersonates a ‘genetically perfect’ person. However, in my opinion, from the two conception processes, natural conception is the best option since one cannot be sure about what those born through eugenic procedures could become. Furthermore, genetic engineering goes against the fundamental moral principles.

References

Gattaca. (2017). Gattaca (1997). IMDb. Retrieved 7 December 2017, from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119177/plotsummary

MacKellar. (2015). Film review: Gattaca. Human Reproduction & Genetic Ethics, 4(2), 50-50. http://dx.doi.org/10.1179/hrge.4.2.n0317115541q35pu

Niccol, A. (2015). Gattaca (1997). America: Jersey Films.

August 18, 2021

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