Sunday, January 27, 2013

When It's No Longer Science Fiction - A Peek Behind The Double Helix - A Guest Post by Jade Kerrion

For the past several years, our attention has been consumed by faltering economies, unstable governments, an epidemic of bullying, and an explosion of social media. In the meantime, largely ignored by mainstream media, the genetic revolution marches on quietly and inexorably.


Let’s test your knowledge of bioengineering. Which of the following is true?

1.  We used genetic engineering to create hybrid creatures, like the goat-sheep, and the camel-llama.
2.    We used genetic engineering to transfer bioluminescent genes from coral and deep-sea jellyfish to create glow-in-the-dark mice, cats, dogs, pigs, and monkeys.
3.    We cloned animals, including sheep, dogs, and horses.
4.    We used genetic engineering to create animals that excrete pharmaceutical products in their milk and other bodily fluids.
5.    We used genetic engineering to preserve endangered species, creating animals that possess the nuclear DNA of the endangered species, and the mitochondrial DNA of the host species … in effect, a genetic hybrid.
6.    We created bug-bots by implanting wires in the central nervous system of insects, and we can now control their movements, including flight.
7.    We created organic robots by implanting wires in the central nervous system of rats, and we can now control what they do.
8.    We wired a monkey to control a third artificial arm entirely through its brain waves.
9.    We genetically engineered rats with pliable skin in order to grow human organs (e.g. ear) under their skin for eventual transplant to a human.
10. We used organic computer chips made out of rat neurons to control a flight simulator.
11. We isolated a brain of a lamprey eel and placed it in a nutrient medium, surrounded by electrodes. The living, intact brain controls a machine that moves toward the light (in much the same way a lamprey eel moves toward the light).
12.We used a DNA synthesizer to create an artificial organic cell. (Isn’t that an oxymoron?) The computer is its parent.

If you answered “Yes” to all of these, you are right. All of these are true. Science fiction is now science fact. Today, we possess an unprecedented control over bioengineering, an area that remains largely unregulated by governments.  Our scientific advances raise many ethical questions, such as “Is it right to control the autonomy of another creature, even if it’s just a rat?” Other more pragmatic questions focus on timing: “When will we start applying directed evolution (i.e. design) to humans?”

 


 
I majored in Biology and Philosophy at the Johns Hopkins University, and the philosophical implications of genetic engineering naturally combined my two interests. I started by asking myself, “What would the world look like to the perfect, lab-created human being?” And then, I wondered, “How would the world change for the people whose genetic templates were used to create the perfect human being?” The Double Helix series sets out to answer both those questions from the point-of-view of Danyael Sabre, an alpha empath whose genetic code was used as the physical template for the perfect human being.

In the world of the Double Helix, directed evolution has become the norm, but is accessible only to those with financial resources. Historical personalities are reincarnated as clones. Genetically optimized in vitros abound, and they tend to succeed at the expense of normal humans who struggle to keep up. Nevertheless, normal humans still form the political majority, and thus, the world of the Double Helix is deeply stratified by genetics, wealth, and politics. Into this already chaotic mix, I added mutants and their dangerous variants of psychic powers, and finally Galahad, the lab-created, perfect human being.

The story explodes into a “highly-enjoyable, brainy guilty pleasure of a novel: a perfect mixture of non-stop action, gripping plot, thought-provoking philosophy, and beautiful visuals.” Set in Earth’s near-contemporary future and frequently compared to X-Men, Heroes, and Alphas, the Double Helix series is highly accessible, even for non-science fiction readers.

I invite you to check out a world that is closer to science fact than science fiction. Welcome to the Double Helix.

About The Author




 

Jade Kerrion unites cutting-edge science and bioethics with fast-paced action in her award-winning Double Helix series. Drawing rave reviews for its originality and vision, and described as “a breakout piece of science fiction,” Perfection Unleashed, and its sequels,Perfect Betrayal and Perfect Weapon, are available in print and e-book through Amazon and other major retailers.

Connect with Jade Kerrion: Blog / Facebook / Twitter
Perfection Unleashed: Amazon / Amazon UK / Smashwords
Perfect Betrayal: Amazon / Amazon UK / Smashwords
Perfect Weapon: Amazon / Amazon UK / Smashwords

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BACKUP LINKS (if, for some reason, the links above do not transfer through a simple cut and paste)

Social Media Links

Perfection Unleashed

Perfect Betrayal

Perfect Weapon

2 comments:

  1. Dear Walter,

    Thank you so much for hosting my blog tour. I really appreciate it!

    Love, Jade

    ReplyDelete