Today we have greater abilities to understand and edit the human genome than ever before; we can eradicate ‘flaws’ and abnormalities. We can repurpose DNA for the encoding and extraction of information since DNA is – after all – nature’s hard drive, able to store information through the history of an entire species.
But with this growing knowledge and ability comes a deluge of questions that have the potential to affect us all. What should we eradicate? What should we keep? Who gets to decide how far we should go when it comes to designing the species? How will offsetting illness and pre-selecting against genetic conditions affect insurance, healthcare, culture, education, legislation? And, perhaps more importantly, how do we even have these conversations that have families and identity at their very core?
Genetopia is a research-led documentary project that combines personal stories and scientific imaging to engage with these questions and present some of the ways in which we are already answering them on an individual basis. Its aim is to stimulate further conversation, debate, and research, and to highlight the complexity of the issues at hand.
Research for Genetopia began in January 2017 in collaboration with the Antonella Riccio Laboratory MRC LMCB, UCL, and Dr. Anna Middleton, Head of Society and Ethics Research at the Sanger Institute, Wellcome Genome Campus.