I must say, I learned some weird stuff while researching this topic.
It’s no secret that we don’t know an awful lot about our DNA, what makes us what we are, but more is coming to light every day. And it’s more than just the standard what gives blue eyes or left-handedness either. I repeat, it’s weird stuff.
For a start, the term junk DNA was something we thought up in the 1970’s to label a bunch of DNA code that we didn’t think did anything. It’s not actually junk, come to find out. On top of the standard automatic functions like immune response and genetic copying and structure stability, we carry all kinds of genes from across the life spectrum. As well as our closest genetic animal relatives.
That’s a bunch of potentially awesome, potentially scary, potentially lethal tidbits to ponder about the very core of what makes us, us.
Genetic manipulation could create a whole host of changes to our physical selves, from added appendages and traits of human or animal form, to Star Trek level medical technology, to bio-terrorism of the worst sort. The possibilities for this information are endless and make for complex problems to explore in the great art that is storytelling.
It could provide a much desired science base for lycanthropy and vampirism with a little genetic tweaking and wonderful possibilities in dystopia pandemics. And trans-humanism would take on a whole new shine. Above all, I think it would give us a new lens to explore what it is to really be human.
Author of LGBT romance and speculative fiction.