4 September 2013
Green energy, pre-Darwinian life and pet dinosaurs are a few topics of “Our Biotech Future” by
Freeman Dyson. “Our Biotech Future” is an amazing look at the blur between science fiction and science fact. This article explains Freeman Dyson's view of saving the planet and fighting poverty in complete contrast to the “Green Movement.”
Dyson starts by explaining the first step is to get people to accept biotechnology as a every day practice. How can we turn an average person into a genetic engineer? “Domesticated Biotechnology”is the use of bioengineering in our homes and in our lives(Dyson 425). Getting house wives and children using at home kits to grow vegetables or even play games is the first step toward “Domesticated Biotechnology”, growing blue tomatoes for a colorful salad or even a baby dinosaur(425). We can't fathom the diversity produced by such a large number of novice engineers, but with novice engineers comes questions of rules and limits. Dyson lays out five questions to create rules by, questions of ethics and control.
In this article Dyson sites the work of Carl Woese to illustrate the time line of “The Theory of Evolution.” Pre-Darwinian: life before evolution, Darwinian: the known evolution, and Post Darwin: evolution has stopped. Bioengineering, the genetic modification of all living things, is believed to be the next step in evolution. Before organisms started to evolve independently adaptations were shared as a community. Sharing genetic traits across species will returned progress to pre-Darwin evolution, by altering genetic code to increase survival and sustainability of all living organisms.
I personally enjoy the way Dyson focuses on solving environmental and economical problems, addressing world hunger and poverty. Green technology, genetically re-purposing plants and animals for a specific task, will bring growth and jobs back to farms and villages. Green jobs and research will effect rural areas because, as Dyson states, “After all, the cloning of Dolly occurred in a rural animal-breeding station in Scotland, not in an urban laboratory in Silicone Valley”(431). Biotechnology changes in one