Friday, December 02, 2005

A Stab At Organizing The Human Race

A few days back, an interesting thought crossed my mind. I wondered who my great-great-grand father was, where he lived, what he did for a living, and who consisted of his family. Essentially, I was trying to dig up my family tree. Then, I realized, as with most families, the historic record of my family tree only extends to a couple of generations.

In retrospective, I began wondering how I could provide these answers to my future generations - when I will be a great-great-grand father and dead. I realized that the answers to my question lies in our genetic build up - the unique DNA finger print we are born with.

I imagined a world where DNA finger printing would be as compulsory as a blood test. When a child is born, he/she would be finger printed and the "finger print" would go into a central, world repository. Linking the finger print data with other data, such as the name, date of birth, sex, address, would help identify every person - living or dead. Not only would this method help identify the owner of the DNA finger print, but also his/her parents and even grand parents!

Crime scenes would no longer have to rely on standard evidence. An analysis of blood, semen, or even a hair strand could convict the culprit by just matching it with the finger prints database. Over a period of time, genetic patterns or trends would be established to identify a DNA to its gene pool. This would allow us to identify a person's roots quiet effortlessly.

To further complement my idea, I googled and found out that something like this had already crossed the minds of some great bio-scientists. These scientists carried out a project they call The Human Genome Project and completed it in 2003. Although the project was aimed at mapping the entire human genome consisting of approximately 20,000-25,000 different genes, analysis of this data continues till date. For more info on the project, click here.

Sounds far fetched, but this technology could well be used to make the world a safer place. It could be used for commercial interests, proving relations, convicting the accused, and acquitting the innocent. After all, it’s not such a bad idea to have a database of all human beings! But nature always has its way. Being so complex, nature will always be a couple of hundred yards ahead of our so-called scientific advances!


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