Epigenesis Assignements

Epigenesis: Assignment 1

‘Imagine the future (distant or near), when understanding of epigenetic processes has affected most aspects of human life (e.g., medicine, education, relationships, family planning, occupations, policy, politics, environment, legal systems, etc.)  Describe your vision for this future in about 10 sentences’

Choose any form for such description: bullet points; screenplay; poetry; short story; essay; etc.

Please take 15-20 minutes.

Epigenesis Assignment 2.

You have heard the musical metaphor of score and performance, or hermeneutics of text and interpretation used to describe the relation between genetic and epigenetic processes.  A group of philosophers posit that each reading of a text for example, is a new interpretative process that actually changes or recreates the text a new. Reading is a creative act that changes the textual past.   Applying this concept to philosophy of history, they suggest that if history is a expression or the actualization of a world spirit, or divine providence, or a total system (Hegel for example) then, our experiences in time, change the totality (god, providence, universal, objective reality). Describe from your own experience, an action of yours or someone else’s that “redefined” or changed the meaning of the history or narrative of past events.

You may choose instead to talk about the “unpredictable” event of the 85 year old Holocaust survivor who hugged the Nazi.

 

Please take 15-20 minutes.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02pw8cg

 

 

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42 thoughts on “Epigenesis Assignements

  1. In this future informed by a true understanding of epigenetics, a whole host of diseases have been eradicated. Instead of blind fear in the face of genetic knowledge, people are educated about the variability possible in their lives. Sure, parents are aware that their child has a risk factor for schizophrenia, but they also know what kind of diet will bring this risk to little more than the average risk. I see in this question a lot in terms of works beyond medicine, but for me, the medical aspect is the most important. In terms of personality and the unfolding of someone’s life, there is still so much that will be affected by environment, maybe epigenetically or not. In keeping people healthy and happy, that is where we should intervene. The rest, that’s up to people. The thing is that we are so far from understanding how much epigenetics has hold over us that I can’t even properly imagine anything past potential health benefits. I think about genetics from a state of skepticism, as I do for most science. I am a firm believer in its predictive power, but nothing is set in stone.

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  2. I think that even when epigenetics is more widely understood and used in planning, the average person’s life will be effected, but not in an extreme way. Although we know now that smoking influences us negatively, many still partake. Even though being obese causes many problems and can shorten lifespans, more people than ever are obese. Although I’m sure governments will make an effort to have people live in ways that are beneficial epigenetically, many will ignore these guidelines and continue to live as they want to. Many decisions people make are about the short term results, and it seems to me that much of epigenetics deals with the long term, which is often neglected.

    On the other hand, this effort to have people live in a way that benefits their epigenetics will probably lead to some changes. Of course we do not know all the factors that effect epigenetics, but I do think that when we do know them, there will be policies that change how people live their lives. I just have a hard time imagining a massive overhaul of actual day to day living.

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  3. I am envisioning a future very far from our present where the epigenetic field has allowed for the understanding and the cure for major medical problems, like cancer and Alzheimer’s. Though this future may sound wonderful at first, the one I am picturing has some major problems. Overcrowding and overpopulation is not a new worry by any means, but by decreasing the amount of death and greatly increasing the average lifespan of humans, how will we all survive on this planet of ours? If freshwater is running low in California and rainforests are declining ever year, the addition of people and the length of time they life will only decrease our resources faster, and our lovely mother earth will not be able to sustain us. Though this future is hard to image, and will probably never happen, it is an interesting thing to ponder. Maybe saving everyone now will just destroy our planet later.

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  4. Every morning I ask myself, “Where has society gone?”. It was once a place for freedom, for creative thoughts to enlighten human thinking. But ever since I released my research to the world, humankind was redefined and reshaped. It was once used to fix men and women, children, animals, and even plants. The whole basis of epigenetics was to see the unknown, to witness firsthand the future that was originally thought to be set in stone. My research was designed to save my brother, but now it is designed to save one from materialistic flaws. The standards of beauty have evolved, the standards of intelligence have evolved, the standards of athleticism have evolved. A new gap in society has emerged; it is no longer a fate of either being poor or rich, but a fate of being genetically modified or a piece of bland nature. Once epigentics was an idea waiting to be solved. Today, it is an idea that should be erased.

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  5. In response to the second prompt, I believe that our interpretation of historical events is very dynamic since certain experiences can change our perspectives on these events. For example, the act of forgiving is a common behaviour that can “alter” history. If my friend insults me and I decide to hold a grudge, then historically, I view my friend’s actions as negative ones. But, if I do not take much offense and choose to forgive my friend, then my account of events would be that there was a slight miscommunication between friends, not a grave misconduct. Something unsavory can be viewed in a more favorable light several years down the road if an individual’s perspectives change. Because of this change in perspective, history itself seems to change for the person who has changed. History is quite biased- two nations may report the outcomes of their political relationships very differently in their history textbooks. Because of the variability and fluidity of the human mind, I think it is quite important to realize that history can indeed change depending from which perspective one is viewing it.

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  6. If we were to fully understand epigenetic processes and how these processes affect human life, the resulting actions may be unthinkable. Systems would have to be adjusted and new regulations put in place. If people were made aware that there is a possibility to change their fate (in terms of genetic composition), individuals will go to all sorts of extents for personal gain.

    There would be anarchy as individuals forget about civilisation and legal systems to maximise personal gain and avoid distress. In the longer term, if everyone would manipulate factors that maximise personal gain, everyone would thrive to become the most intelligent and most aesthetically pleasing individuals to date. When everyone thrives for perfection, one may even envision the possibility of scenario similar to 1984. Where everyone is perfect, no one is really.

    Consequently, there may be a push toward allowing nature to take its course in the long run just to advocate diversity. Where such research takes us (and its acceptance in society) will prove to be very interesting, considering the potential near and distance implications on society.

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  7. There’s a comforting lack of knowledge that complements a lack of understanding of epigenetic processes. With a comprehendible system in mind, I can’t help but imagine a reproductive and parental norm of parents testing their child’s DNA as an infant or in the womb and using this science to presuppose their child’s future. This mentality turns people into codes, statistics, and objects purely of science rather than a whole and dynamic being. Maybe a child’s DNA shows a strong sense of scientific intellect, and thus from birth, the child is pressured into becoming a neurosurgeon, psychiatrist, or nurse, although he or she is more interested in the visual arts. Or maybe a child’s DNA highlights a personality trait that he or she shares with the mother that the mother is not proud of, and inherent tensions ensue. With a world already so dexterously divided among arbitrary definitions of the self, I find it easy to see how developments in epigenesis could further these divisions. Yet it’s probable that the benefits of epigenetic advances outweigh any hindrances; for example, diseases can be detected and treated early, epidemiological developments can skyrocket, and an overall well-organized medical society can result. It all comes down to how epigenesis is viewed and manipulated in a more epigenetically developed future.

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  8. If we are armed with the knowledge of how epigenetics works and know how to use it to change our genetic makeup, it could have both positive and negative effects. There are so many ethical concerns surrounding the ideas of changing someone’s genome since it affects every aspect of that person’s life. One major way epigenetics could be used in the future is in the field of medicine. If it is known that a child will have a certain disease or disability, the use of epigenetics could allow us to prevent them from occurring, or at least subdue them to ensure a more normal life for the patient. Changing a persons genetic makeup could also be used to biologically engineer soldiers with enhanced abilities or use humans as weapons in ways. It could be used to give people defects and change the way we develop. It also has the potential to change intelligence levels which therefore affect the entire social existence of a person from getting good grades in school to whaht field of work they enter into to what people they associate with (which also influences their lifestyle choices). By changing someone’s genes we can be making them into a completely different person. Their personalities could be changed and they way they think and act could be changed as well. We would be genetically creating a new race of people. By knowing the future and having the ability to change it doesn’t mean everyone has the means to do so. This could also cause problems and create yet another thing for people to argue about politically and ethically. Whether or not epigenetics is good or bad is still in question, but it has the capability to change the world and everything we know about humanity in a big way.

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  9. In my opinion, an increased understanding of epigenetic processes can almost surely lead to a positive and better future I would expect this information would be used quite extensively in medicine to plan for disease onset later in life. Such information can and would be used quite liberally if treatments exist for any identified diseases. It would also be used to determine tendencies for different kinds of occupational proficiency, affecting job training and education.This epigenetic information is quite powerful, revealing information about the most private and important aspects of life. While this information can be quite useful, it would have to be safely guarded with the utmost privacy considerations. I would not want a stranger to get a hold of any of my epigenetic information, allowing this person to know some of my own personal future outcomes. This is a massive breach of privacy, and I am sure, as it currently is, epigenetic research will be a contentious field. In spite of this, I believe that the positives of epigeneitic understanding will eventually outweigh the negatives, because of its vast applications to better comfort of life and to quantify disposition.

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  10. Our DNA contributes to many aspects of our life, whether it be biologically in the way certain genes are expressed and lead to the onset of diseases, or even in the field of psychology where our DNA contributes to the type of person we develop into. In a future where we could understand one’s genome, we would be able to identify any genetic diseases right away leading to early detection and effective treatments. This would be extremely beneficial because the disease could be treated from the very beginning leading to higher survival rates. Psychologically speaking we would already know the type of person we are meant to be saving us the trouble of going through different obstacles and trying to find out who we are meant to be. Our career paths would already be determined saving us time and money. However while all of this sounds great, if we already know the person we are meant to be, the career occupation we are meant to have, we wouldn’t go on this journey of discovering who we are meant to be. Currently today we have not reached to the point where we can read one’s genome and tell you who and how one will be. It is an individual’s journey through ups and downs in which one discovers who they will be in life. Yes there are struggles and moments filled with despair, confusion, and disappointment, however when one is able to find the answer of who they would like to be there is a feeling of happiness and satisfaction because the answer was discovered through hard work and not a scientist reading your genome and telling you everything. If we do reach the point where our genome could be interpreted and inform one of the type of person they will be, the person will not have the same satisfaction and happiness that is received when the answers are found on their own. Medically speaking, it would be amazing to determine which diseases and problems will arise in a person, however psychologically the effects wouldn’t be as satisfying.

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  11. Epigenesis Assignment 2.

    In my view, I constantly redefine the history of my life. As Milan Kundera said in his book The Unbearable Lightness of Being we are not able to know if our past choices and acts were right or not, and because of this reason, we would tend to think that many of our past choices were the correct ones. This means that very often personal experiences will be shaped in a subconscient way in order to believe that we are in the best one of the different possible scenarios that could have happened.

    In conclusion, I believe that the meaning of history is always shaped .

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  12. Assignment 2:

    Imagine a tall blonde, two French braids framing a double chin and bright green braces escaping thin lips at every shy smile. She’s in fifth grade. She grew up on a farm. She is German. She likes to think of herself as Laura, from little house on the prairie. Only in her life, Christmas means Nicholas tag first…presents all through December and the elves brining the toys Christmas Eve. In her life, German is spoken at home and every summer is spent our German relatives–all old, all nosy, all short haired Angela Merkel types.
    For her German is her parents and she is…she just is. She just is Laura, born in the wrong time.
    On a hot summer day, in the midst of yelling kids and screaming monitors, the playground lay before her, a vast expanse of space between herself and her friends. She began walking across hot pavement. “Run!” Her best friend screamed, pulling another friend away, “Don’t let her touch you!”
    A chase began. Quizzically she joined in. Keep away, never fun for whoever was it…but eventually, eventually she would catch them. Then she could run.
    She stops. Her breathe heavy, panting she holds her arms up in surrender. They ignore her. Sad she takes another deep breath and begins to jog. Ten minutes later, panting, fuzzy heat obscuring their faces, she corners them by the swings. She grins and takes a step forward. She touches her best friends arm.
    “Dirty Bloodsucking Nazi!” The words hit her in the face, her mind reels, confusion…what was she talking about?

    This story ends with a wonderful playground monitor berrating a rude, yet ignorant, young girl. “Laura” finds herself comforted but reflection replaces tears. Over the next 8 years of her life she begins to understand who she is. She begins to explore her heritage, the past, immersing herself in the hereditary guilt she carries with her. She is older now. She grew up on a farm in the U.S but she is German. She is Germany in her past, the past defining her in her present, and she is Germany in her future, actively defining Germany for years to come.
    It’s funny…how an ignorant young girl can change your past, present and future with one simple comment during a game of keep away…

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  13. Just a few days ago, I had finished a short book Genesis, by Bernard Beckett. I do not want to spoil anything, but after finishing, it gave me so much to think about in terms of human genetics, the future, our knowledge, intelligence, and general advancement.
    Even before I started that book, one of my professors said in class that the United States government could legitimately solidify a robot army within the next five years, more or less. At that time, yes it was an astounding fact, yet it did not mean much to me. However after I had finished Genesis, looking back to that statement was more than thought provoking.
    There were two quotations that stood out in the short novel: “which came first, the mind or the idea of the mind?” and “consciousness is nothing but the context in which your thinking occurs.”
    Humans in general think they are so special and intelligent and different from an artificially crafted intelligence. Embracing our faults and all, we are one of a kind. In reality, it could be very well debated that Artificial Intelligence could really improve our faults and become superior to what we are, regardless of the fact that we are its creators. It cannot be so easily expressed as to what makes us so different, what defines the uniqueness.
    It also comes down to this: what is knowledge, and are we as humans inherently unsatisfied with whatever we have? A great majority of people complain and protest over the fact that the top governments of countries all over the world hide information from the public. Tabs are being kept, people are being unknowingly monitored. What if we are exposed to every bit of information found? Would we be satisfied knowing that knowledge as well? Can we live knowing the true reality? None of these questions could ever conclude in one simple answer; everything is so multifactorial. Nevertheless, exposure to something just as little as a short book can alter perception and opinion.

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  14. Assignment 1:

    In a distant future:
    -A small, wealthy minority controls access to the technology that is used to alter gene expression.
    -Diseases still prevail, although only among those who can’t afford access to the technology.
    -An epigenetics department has been added to political bodies around the world, and epigenetics is as important of a topic as things like war, welfare, the economy, etc.
    -Family planning is a more complicated process–parents can predetermine what their kids will be like.
    -Education is based on a “reading” of one’s genetics (i.e. If scientists “predict” you will be highly intelligent, you will immediately begin training for highly-skilled professions–doctors, lawyers, etc.)
    -With the ability to alter gene expression, parents have a measure of control over how their children will look, behave, and so on.
    -The pursuit of “perfection” becomes society’s obsession.
    -If, by reading our gene sequences, we can predetermine when/how we will die, obsession with immortality will become even more intense–perhaps expressed in media forms like movies.
    -Even if everyone is “perfect”–healthy/ideal physical appearance/career aligned with one’s skillsets/–no one is happy; if we have ideal circumstances, we find other things to complain about.

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  15. -Medicine would not be a necessity: People would be able to analyse the source of the disease through the genes making medicine relatively useless.
    -Family Planning: Couples would be able to choose which genes they would want for their child, allowing no room for “Imperfection”.
    -Education: Children are born with genes that can play a role in how much they can process information at what rate. Therefore, it is possible that children would be have access to more knowledge as opposed to those who do not have the gene.
    -Occupations: Because the children are born with set genes and capabilities, their occupations would also be decided from maybe even before their birth.
    -Policies: More regulations on how people use information regarding epigenetic processes. In order to prevent people from using their understanding in a way that could harm others, more policies and laws would be set.
    -We could use our understanding to save our environment from deteriorating and eventually dying. By using this information we could regenerate certain organisms and preserve their environments.
    -Relationships: I think that by adding our understanding of genetics into the equation, the way people will view families will change. It would no longer be a family of love and support,but a group of people who just happen to be genetically similar.
    -Politics: I think that people will try to manipulate our understanding of epigenetic processes.

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  16. In this scenario, we are, or rather humans are, living is the very distant future. Epigenetics has become a major focus piont of general society and every sad, middle-aged man/woman is obsessed with possessing the pill that will stop the aging process. Throughout this process, the scientific world atteptms to make any real medical advancements. They focus on finding medications that will be able to change the epigenetic factors that lead to certain diseases. They work night and day to find the solution to genetic issues. They search in the hope that those individuals who have cancer because the genes that should be supressing the growth of tumor cells might one day be able to live full, healthy lives. If there were a medication that could change the epigenetic conditions and prevent the rapid growth of tumor cells without harming other biological processes. The scientists work. The world waits.

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  17. Assignment #2

    A history professor of mine pointed out something interesting along these lines. Since history is the past through the lens of somebody in the present, and thus a creative process, there are as many histories as there are people learning and writing about it. We must agree that certain events happened, but we each have a different interpretation of what those events mean. Our own beliefs and experiences affect our interpretation of events. Because of media coverage inflation, we tend to think that extremist Muslims have committed the majority of terrorist attacks over the past twenty years. However, recently I read a book about terrorism in which the author pointed out that only 10% of terrorist attacks in the past 20 years had been carried out by Muslim extremist groups. What we define as terrorism is, in my opinion, skewed by this overexposure of Muslim attacks.

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  18. Life expectancy has extended.
    Obesity and other metabolic conditions such as diabetes, hypercholesterolemia are eradicated.
    Educational programs are specifically developed for each individual, according to their particular learning abilities.
    Medication is specifically elaborated according one’s metabolism, being really effective and having minimum side effects.
    Criminality rates keep lowering down.
    Waiting for organs transplants no longer take a lot of time.

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  19. Question 1
    -Students destined for genetic success academically will be motivated, knowing their skills. Those who aren’t will have no motivation to continue through higher education.
    -In terms of medicine, insurance policies will be heavily modified, and there will be much debate surrounding the ethics of who has access to such data.
    -Reproduction will become a “designer” process, with the wealthy and highly educated seeking the best eggs and sperm cells in order to create children who are genetically superior both in health and education.
    -Certain bloodlines will become superior. Specific families with excessive wealth and political / social power will have superior children, eliminating grassroot success amongst the poor and less educated.
    -Unknown side effects may begin to arise once we have begun messing with the genetic code in order to produce superior outcomes. While certain arrangements of DNA may produce higher intellect, or a longer life expectancy, they may increase chances of certain unknown diseases and deformities.
    -Chances are that science will develop at a much quicker rate than the social and legal framework involved. This will leave tremendous ethical and social questions unasnwered, and further perpetuate the social gap between those who can exploit it and those who can’t.

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  20. In a future where an understanding of epigenetic processes has reached a very high level, family planning, medicine, occupations, and the environment will be greatly affected. In addition, politics will change. I envision that in this future, parents will be able to control the appearance of their children. In addition, if there is an inheritable disease in the family, epigenetics might be able to play a role in the expression of that particular disease. In this future, the influence of epigenetics on medicine will be great. It can be possible that people can take certain medications in order to prevent the expression of diseases, which are inherited from birth and are expressed from birth or later in life such as type 2 diabetes. In terms of occupations and the environment, certain people may be referred to specific jobs in order to prevent disease. The environment and lifestyle of a person is very important in gene expression. In this future, certain people may be required to live in certain areas for their health. This may create condensed areas of people with disease. As a result, the politics of countries will change dramatically.

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  21. I imagine the day/scenario when humanity discovers the understanding of epigenetics in its totality as a rather dystopian one. I imagine a limited number of privately or government funding scientists (in possession of a massive DNA bank holding genetic information of several people in their hands) hitting that one Eureka moment of understanding that essentially allows them a window into the future. This just brings one thought to my mind – ‘Too much information in a limited few hands- too much power possessed by only few men and women”. I feel that only a limited number or nationality of people will have access to the interpretation and exploitation of this information, further enlarging the rift between those who have and those who do not have. Although this knowledge may prevent disease or the uprising of the next Hitler, there is no saying whether this information is used for altruistic humanitarian gain, or privatized, selfish purposes driving capitalism further.

    Essentially, looking past the benefits shows a deep potential for this knowledge/information to remain unregulated, unshared and corrupt society. Remember that we are not even yet at a point in history where we can share resources across national borders without conflict. I find it highly unlikely that there will be conflict-free sharing of the technology or knowledge of epigenesist- thus leaving us with a clear set of winners and a clear set of losers..

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  22. Assignment 1:
    In this future, every in planned and quantified. Methods of rearing children, be it on how to raise them to have certain behaviors or traits, are studied to the T, and every lecture and talk is carefully planned out to have a certain influence to achieve an outcome. The beauty, and by the same coin the ugly, of the random chances, the random interactions or unexpected reactions to certain stimuli and the implications it has because of it, is not lost completely, because despite all of the planning we can prepare for and do, human nature still has its impulsive and feeling rather than rational moments, will be hindered.
    Occupationally, jobs will hire people more genetically adept, or discriminate against those who aren’t without giving people the chance, already small, to tackle and either prove or overcome the belief.
    A vision for the future would be one in which balance is a constant struggle. One between the arts, in which expression cannot be quantified and one of the science, in which every decision is measured to influence a favorable (however it would be defined) result.

    Assignment 2:
    History is interpretation, and the saying that history is written by the victor rings true. Facts, such as the number of victims, or the number of dollars earned or saved by the implementation of a certain policy (to a certain degree), can be quantified, but the affect that either of these had on the surviving system around them depends on the person, and all of the experiences they had leading to that point. Every experience we have, affects us to some degree, affects how we feel and think about things.
    In the case of the 85 year old survivor. It was not an “unpredictable event”. It was a rare occurrence, an extremely small chance, but a chance nonetheless that occurred and involved a myriad of decisions and experiences leading up to that point, many of which were not decided by the two involved in the hugging incident. There is no single event that changes the course of history as no action occurs alone. No process has a true beginning or end because that implies that something can be created from nothing. Every action is connected, and because of this, nothing is entirely random, and thus nothing cannot, in theory, be eventually predicted, although practically, the countless experiences and choices, and how they affect the world may, and by may I mean absolutely, beyond human capability.

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  23. Response to Assignment 1:

    Although Epigenetic is a growing field of study, the consequences of successfully achieving complete understanding of how to ‘read’ the text that is our DNA are substantial. It brings to question whether it is even ethically acceptable to even consider dispelling the information that could potentially be read from each persons genetic composition.
    As this information is what builds each individual and depicts the weaknesses and strengths, it consequentially holds ‘spoiler alerts’.

    If you are genetically predisposed to any disease, suddenly by birth we would know. Is it better to live knowing your death is 96% certain to be attributed to cancer? And at what age will this cancer strike? Should the person be put on edge each year they attend the physician to see if this year will be the year they die?

    And what about the costs of knowing you are predisposed to certain illnesses? Unfortunately our capitalistic society that not only values money but the ability to cut all corners to maximize profits, which means insurance companies can and will influence legislation to require the results of genetic information to determine the premium. Following on that thought, when compiled after many years, the social consequences would be perhaps the classic ‘the poor get poorer and the rich get richer’

    Knowledge is the enemy to ignorance, and in this future developments of science it would be best to stay ignorent for the sake of ethically keeping everyone sane.

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  24. In my opinion, I think that the future understanding of epigenetic processes will have an overall positive impact on society. Knowing what disease risks you might have in the future can help you prepare for the worst type of scenario. The possible diet, or medication you have earlier in your life might limit the possibility of future risks. Or it can help plan for the inevitable future. I do not believe that personality will be greatly impacted by a better understanding of epigenetic processes. I believe that the environment and the daily interactions that a person goes through have a larger impact on the overall personality. On top of that, what type of regulations would be put in place in order for certain people to live a genetically efficient life? Who enforces these types of policies? I do think that there are many benefits of epigenetic processes medically, but when in comes to epigenetic processes impact on understanding personal nature, I am not a firm believer that we can understand someone’s personality traits or life path through their genetic makeup. There are many other factors that lead to the development of an individual’s personality.

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  25. Although there is still much to understand about epigenetics we can see how it is affecting us today. Recently there has been the introduction of the three- parent baby a process that makes it possible for women that have a mitochondrial disease to have children without being affected by the disease. This is one way in which the understanding of genes and the processes have helped in the discovery of treatments that can benefit people. The further understanding of epigenetics will also help in the understanding of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and cancer, which affect many people and perhaps find a cure for them as well as methods to prevent them. However, it may also help understand the diseases that are not very common. These diseases are usually difficult to research due to their rarity. Perhaps knowing more about genetics and factors that affect the expression of certain genes may help find a treatment or cure. However there will also be a necessity of having regulation to prevent any problems and also having humane methods of investigation.

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  26. 1:
    There will definitely be many ethical issues revolving around epigenetics. Scientists would be in possession of the DNA of many people and also playing “God” to some extent as they may predict what a child’s physical and mental conditions would be. It’s possible that many individuals, especially parents, would be concerned of the potential physical/mental handicaps a child could possess and possibly go to extreme lengths to prevent such handicaps. Gene manipulation has been a controversial topic, and with the chance of being able to better or to perfect a child, then we would have a dangerous amount of power and certain traits considered “bad” could die out. There have been movements where we tried to rid the population of “stupidity,” but how we can determine one’s own intelligence? Is it a matter of academic performance, creativity or IQ score? We can’t possibly “fix” a population of its flaws when these flaws are all completely subjective. It’s impossible to determine a standard of intelligence, athleticism, charisma, etc. when humans are far too complex and diverse. If we desire to weed out such handicaps then we would need to weed out the population.

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  27. When I think about the impact that epigenesis will have on the future, the first thing that comes to mind is the similarities with the ability to decide on the genetic makeup of your children. For example, whether they will have a specific type of eye or hair color and how parents have been given the ability to decide this (although for a large sum of money). Epigenesis will be the same in terms of one possessing the ability to change the outcome of their lives if they wanted to. Epigenesis is about the biological factors and environmental factors in a person’s life and how those factors play a role in why certain genes are expressed in certain ways. In thinking of the the future, epigenesis I think it can be positive to know if you are going to have some type of illness, or finding out the way your child’s life is going to end up. There are so many issues in life in regards to what you;re going to do in life and whether you are living your life the correct way and those kind of worries will be eliminated if you can decide on your own path. From a medical standpoint, there will be so many advances in medicine and while that can have a bad impact with people living to a long age the positive end is that there wouldn’t be babies or young kids that have to die before even getting the change to live out their lives. As with anything there is always going to be good and bad results, but it will all come down to regulation and finding a way to balance the good that can come from this with the bad.

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  28. Assignment 1:
    The understanding of epigenetic process can greatly effect human life in terms of medicine and education, allowing life to be customizable to the individual. In terms of medicine, prior knowledge can allow room for presentation. For example, a woman recognizes that in the future she will be at risk of developing diabetes. With this information, the woman can take the proper steps to prevent the development of diabetes. In education, people will be able to cater to their unique needs to allow growth for their education. Another example, a boy enrolls in school with prior knowledge of his ADHD. This allows the boy’s parents and teachers to work around the boy’s ADHD without going through the process of finding out if the boy has ADHD or not. Based on the presentations from the workshop, this is what I gathered of a potential future with further knowledge of epigenetics.

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  29. In an era determined by epigenesis, I believe the world would separate into communities for the purpose of forming a superior race. There would be colonies that filtered the (genetically) healthy and preferable individuals from those whose genomes show they will live a less fortunate life. These would include those who have – or will have – predisposed diseases such as Alzheimer’s or diabetes, and those whose genome spells out less intelligence, less motivation, less strength to survive. There will be some sort of barrier to entry into the superior colony where in order to gain access to, you would have to show that your genome is “healthy.” Your family would not be determined by who gave birth to you; rather, your family would be those who have similar genomes as you. Your education and career would not be something you yourself can create and find; rather, you will be put into schools and jobs based on what your genome states you would succeed in. Because most of your life is already planned out for you based on your genome, that will be your one and only form of identity.

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  30. My vision for a future in which epigenetics has become commonplace involves the personalization of medicine. In this sense, human diseases, particularly noncommunicable ones, will no longer be treated in a one size fits all fashion. Rather, epigenetics factors will be taken into account when treating for these diseases, which will, perhaps, improve the prognosis and the standard of living for those living with those diseases. Also, epigenetics could also prove useful in effectively treating neurodegenerative diseases, thus improving the lives of those affected by these diseases.

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  31. Having a better understanding of our genetic makeup and how it influences our livelihood will become an essential part of society in the future. If technological advances lead to a better understanding and unraveling of epigenetic processes, then society will benefit greatly. Most specifically, this information will be utilized to prevent and cure diseases. While this newfound knowledge would bring great innovation in the field of medicine and disease prevention, regulation should be put in place to create barriers so that extreme measures cannot be taken. In other words, checks on epigenetic knowledge are essential in preventing practices that would be damaging to the functioning of society (eugenics).

    In all, the benefits of understanding the “code” presented by epigenetic processes can lead to countless benefits. However, policy, regulations, and other checks and balances should be put in place to ease society’s transition into a future with this newfound knowledge.

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  32. 1. Cure for every disease
    2. Longer lifespan
    3. Lessen effects of mental illness
    4. Aging process improved
    5. Higher levels of intelligence
    6. Industrial revolutions
    7. Less instances of crime and corruption
    8. Improved environmental policies and implentations
    9. Better human relations
    10. Better quality of life and overall happiness

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  33. In a future with full understanding and manipulation of Epigenetics, I imagine complete dystopia sprouted from intentional utopia. Psychology states that there is a “Paradox of Choice”: the more more choices there are, the more unhappy the decider is. With advantage of manipulating genes (i.e. choosing certain DNA sequences prenatally to conceive the most “perfect” child, void of any aesthetic, physical, intellectual, or emotional defect), the more chaotic and unhappy society will be (hence, the word “paradox” is used).

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  34. With the current pace of genetic research, the future of scientific breakthroughs in genomics seems practically limitless. In less than a decade, the cost and overall time of sequencing a genome has been reduced dramatically. And one can only imagine the increasing complexities of science and technology that the future will hold. However, although the medical benefits of scientific research are essential for the health and well-being of people, it is difficult to accurately foresee and assess the long term consequences of this information. I believe that adequate legislation needs to be created and implemented for the protection of our genetic data.

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  35. I look forward to live in a world where epigenetic processes are well understood and applied to all sphere’s of life. I envision a society were medicine would be advanced and diseases like cancer can be treated Flu is today. Natural selection as proposed by Darwin would no longer exist and society would have the power to decide what characteristics to pass from generation to generation. Marriages and relationships will be based on genetic the genetic make up of individuals and divorce rates will drop(YAY). Settlements will exist on the bases of genetic make up and individuals that compliment one and other would be put in the same colonies. Peace and cooperation will be the way of life. While the benefits are many, such advancements would also create the need for government regulations to ensure that no superhumans are created and the power of epigentics is not misused.

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  36. In a future when understanding of epigenetic processes have affected most aspects of human life, people will give them a lot of importance. People will want to modify their genes in ways that’ll benefit them the most. This may lead to greater inequalities as people in better conditions will prosper more and continue to do better. At the same time people who don’t have desirable traits will not do as well, and won’t have the resources to modify their genes and do better. Having so much information about oneself will also lead to the added stress of trying to change certain traits, comparing your traits with those of others, etc. Thus this may be an important ethical consideration related to epigenetics.

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  37. For a small concrete example of assignment two, and in deference to the season–as a child in American elementary schools one celebrates Thanksgiving each year: the joyful alliance between the Pilgrims and Native Americans, the colorful turkeys, the outpouring of gratitude and goodwill towards humanity. Later, in secondary school, students are taught about guns, germs, and steel, religious puritans, subjugated natives. An innocent childhood ritual becomes suddenly part of a long imperialist tradition.

    History is constantly being rewritten. My naive childhood beliefs were really the traditional view; the acknowledgement of Western injustices is a revisionist one. Of course now I’m calling the traditional perspective injust and the revisionist view is pervasive. The most bewildering factor, to me, is why the rosy filter is ever applied to Thanksgiving at all–but I suppose there is something in American identity that must associate Thanksgiving with cozy images of food and family.

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  38. Epigenesis Assignment 1

    ·Number of hospitals reduces, whereas there will be a particular place for people to change their gene presence.

    ·Environment will be better. Genome could also transfer to the animals in a broader way, so the relationship between animals and human beings would grow better.

    ·Overall, people will be healthier, wealthier, more good-looking. And there is no longer racism.

    ·Interpersonal relationship would be totally different, because of the physical similarity. In this light, I appreciate the equality among people in the future.

    ·Occupation will differ depends on creativity, since the physical conditions will identical with each other.

    · when we are able to change the present of our genome, it comes to me how I can differ from others. Since races, appearances, intelligence, or health-conditions can no longer group people, what is the place for individualism, for identity, and for personality?

    · Under that circumstance, the expectation of life will certainly enlarge to even 200 years (?). I have to question the reproduction ability of human beings at that point. Longer the life, less the ability to reproduction is the law in nature. If there always same people exist in the earth, I wonder the benefit of that type of future.

    · Bodily, mental disorders troubling us today will no longer a concern. Yet, there still disastrous ways kill humans any way. Discovering our genome only to make a more dreadful enemy.

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  39. I think when our understanding of epigenetic processes has affected most aspects of human life, there will be many positive outcomes. We will be able to fully understand our genome, which has been viewed as a book we cannot fully read. In terms of medicine, we will also be able to define, cure, and even prevent diseases that currently scare us. I think it will change our mindset when dealing with what are now viewed as frightening unknowns, by allowing us to use our knowledge to feel more comfortable and in control. While the immense control that we’ll gain with this epigenetic understanding is exciting and filled with potential for beneficial uses, it will probably need to be regulated. The purpose of this regulation would be to make sure people don’t go too far with this newfound ability to make major changes to a person’s genome. In that sense, ethical questions could likely be raised in response to this. I do believe that knowledge is power, and I hope that the power gained by this future understanding of epigenetic processes can be used to improve many aspects of people’s lives.

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  40. In the distant future, when epigenesis is more widely understood and used in medical fields, epigenesis will both benefit human society and also bring a lot more issues to it. In terms of health and medical problems, epigenesis will surely bring positive results in curing the diseases that we are not able to deal with right now. Human would tend to live longer and it will affect our retiring age and also family planning of reproducing. Another important benefit that epigenesis can bring is the possibility to help the left-behind children who have parents with unhealthy conditions or habits, such as smoking, drinking or obesity. If we could use epigenetic method to cure the inherent illness, we can save those innocent children from being affected by their parents. Therefore, human species are tending to evolve to a direction that is chosen by us and epigenesis might be important to help us decide who we what to become.

    However, a great change in our health condition will also greatly influence the way we should construct our society. Since we understand that some diseases are affected by what we eat and what environment that we are in, it would require us to rethink about who has the responsibility for that. Once we know that we could help to prevent some diseases by improving the environment, I believe that governments and people are more likely to help constructing a more suitable environment for human in the future. In terms of the regulations of the using of epigenesis, legal systems will also be required to come up with new regulation system for the new life expectation.

    In general, epigenesis are offering us a chance to improve our life, but there are also a lot of difficulties that we need to conquest and many changes that we need to make in order to adapt to the new health condition.

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  41. Assignment 1
    With the current pace of scientific breakthroughs in the field of genetics, one can only imagine the increasing complexities of science and technology that the future will hold. In less than a decade, both the cost and overall time of sequencing a genome has been reduced dramatically. And the medical benefits of this research are undoubtedly essential for the future health and well-being of people. At the same time, I believe that this rapid pace of scientific development will pose a serious threat to human rights. The government has already taken action in trying to alleviate this problem. But is this intervention enough?
    In 2008, the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act was designed to prohibit the discrimination of genetic information in health insurance and employment. However, medical information collected in the workplace is still not protected. And the Horizon 2020 goal of sharing all data will not only increase the accessibility of genetic data but also create new privacy issues – which may have serious social and/or financial implications. In the near future, policy proposals and adequate legislation for the protection of human rights will need to be implemented without impeding the scientific research essential for our society.

    Assignment 2
    During my first year of university, I enrolled in Cultures & Context – a liberal arts class where I read a diverse range of texts including The Odyssey, Gilgamesh, and The Ramayana. A key component of this course was for us – the students – to test our critical reading skills by comparing these various works. Through this process of comparing and contrasting and asking questions, I was able to learn how ideas about death and divinity embodied the lifestyle of different ancient civilizations.
    But more importantly, by examining the differences between Sumerian monotheism and Greek polytheism, I began to question my own religious beliefs. Little by little, I started to realize that I had been indoctrinated by my parents at an early age in the basic tenets of my religion. And, moreover, I recognized that I was part of an organization that has fundamental ideologies, which I believed to be discriminatory. This realization ultimately served as the impetus for my shift from organized religion into a more personal form of divine faith.

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