Cell Block

Two Teams of Scientists Have Succeeded in Decoding the Human Genome. Excited? Nervous?

Chris Morris
Age 35
Resides Manhattan
Occupation Waiter

How excited are you about the human genome project? I'm interested, but I'm waiting for the article that will explain it all to me. I am a little nervous that having this knowledge could really be an attempt to create a master race.

Do you know what a human genome is? Not exactly. It has something to do with genetic traits, but I don't see how it will help me, since I don't have a family history of cancer or inherited illness.

Do you consider the most significant scientific breakthroughs of the 20th century? Space travel. It makes sense that we're supposed to leave the planet. We're like seeds or spores that are built to spread.


Joe Zhou
Age 25
Resides Manhattan
Occupation Student

How excited are you about the human genome project? I'm very excited. It's a major success for the development of human beings. The opportunity for abuse is there, but, like the invention of the atom bomb, it's what we do with these tools that will determine the future.

Do you know what a human genome is? It carries information from one generation to the next.

Do you consider the most significant scientific breakthroughs of the 20th century? General relativity, which deepens our understanding of the universe, and quantum mechanics, because all modern technologies are dependent on it.


Chris Perry
Age 29
Resides Brooklyn
Occupation Investment banker

How excited are you about the human genome project? I know almost nothing about it.

Do you know what a human genome is? No.

Do you consider the most significant scientific breakthroughs of the 20th century? Curing diseases like tuberculosis and polio. I can't see how a man walking on the moon is anything great, since only a couple of people have actually done it, and now it costs $20 million to go. Still, several people have said they're ready to put up the money.


Paul Stevenson
Age 40
Resides Manhattan
Occupation Computer operator

How excited are you about the human genome project? I'm not really excited at all.

Do you know what a human genome is? Yes, it has something to do with DNA.

Do you consider the most significant scientific breakthroughs of the 20th century? The artificial heart and the ability to transplant organs out of one body and into another and have them work.


Lee Yang
Age 24
Resides Queens
Occupation Street artist

How excited are you about the human genome project? I'm not excited because I don't know what it is.

Do you know what a human genome is? No, it sounds very high-tech to me.

Do you consider the most significant scientific breakthroughs of the 20th century? Viagra. I've never tried it, but it sounds great. You can order it over the Internet, which is the other great discovery of the last 100 years.


Tracey Hart
Age 25
Resides Queens
Occupation Manager

How excited are you about the human genome project? I don't really know what it is.

Do you know what a human genome is? No.

Do you consider the most significant scientific breakthroughs of the 20th century? Since we haven't been able to fully cure cancer, lupus, or AIDS, I don't think the big breakthroughs have happened yet. I think the Internet is just a big invasion of privacy that just gives the people who know everything there is to know about you even more information.


Art Skuggevik
Age 28
Resides Manhattan
Occupation Brokerage account manager

How excited are you about the human genome project? I'm nervous. Although it's great for diagnosing illnesses before they occur and for detecting birth defects in unborn children, it raises all kinds of ethical issues.

Do you know what a human genome is? Different genomes are responsible for different traits, like eye color or a predisposition for inherited diseases like diabetes.

Do you consider the most significant scientific breakthroughs of the 20th century? Medicines are now available that can determine what we can cure and what we can control. The personal computer. Film and television as sources of information.

 
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