The life and times of Gene Kilobase A.D. 2005 - 2115
By Hans Goerl
From GenEthics News issue 17 April/May 1997.
Gene Kilobase was lucky to be born. If it hadn't been for the momentary inattentiveness of a lab attendant reading his 600th prenatal genetic scan of the day, his parents would have learned that he carried the Ob gene mutation, making it likely that he would have a serious weight problem. His parents, both long distance runners, would almost certainly have aborted him. However, the "diagnosis" was missed and he came into the world, crying and kicking the appropriate number of toes, just a couple of days after Oliver North assumed the presidency of the United States.
Gene's first six years of life were relatively uneventful. A State Board of Education mandated Myriad-Approgenex Genetic Intellectual Capacity Test (MAGIC-T) showed that he should be regarded as moderately to substantially gifted, so for several years his house was visited regularly by Intellectual Capacity Enhancers provided by the State. His younger sister Gina, however, was not so lucky. Her MAGIC-T predicted her to be mildly intellectually impaired and Mr and Mrs Kilobase devoted a substantial amount of time to trying to reverse the work done periodically by the State's team of Clerical Abilities Supplementers. Because of his genetically predicted intellect, Gene was allowed to enter the Altoona/University of Pennsylvania FASTTRACK program in first grade and initially showed great promise. However, in second grade he had a series of temper tantrums that led to the administration of the brand new SmithKline-Microsoft BADNAP (Behavioral DNA Predictor) panel. This test showed a strong predisposition to iconoclastic thought patterns with mild overlying aggressive tendencies.
Fortunately for Gene, the Altoona School Board was pioneering a new "tamed radical" bio-neurological behavioural modification programme and Gene remained in the FASTTRACK programme. Since the official position of the Federal Genomic Analysis Administration was that behavioural genes were not subject to mutation in the absence of vector-borne gene therapy, a small flag was placed in his official record about his iconoclastic and aggressive tendencies.
In 2025, after graduating from a combined High School/ Undergraduate program, Gene was ready to apply to medical school. His grades were outstanding, he was valedictorian of his class and his future was bright. He applied to several Ivy League schools and the newly renamed Hood/Rockefeller University. When the early-onset Parkinson's panel showed that he was likely to develop that disease around age 45 he was summarily rejected. Implantation of a Biogen Cell Preserver pump a couple of years later solved the problem, but by then Gene had decided to become a businessman.
He and Gina, who was a whiz-bang file clerk and secretary, formed a small business which prospered primarily by exploitation of a new government programme providing a waiver of minimum wage standards for hiring members of the Genetic Underclass most likely to develop chronic diseases. Gene also got married, although it had to be an unofficial religious marriage, because of a small problem with his bride, Mega's, genome. Because of that same problem, natural born children were prohibited and neither he nor Mega were enthusiastic about the newly created combi-cloning program.
Gene's business continued to prosper until 2045 when the Mother of All Depressions, which followed the so-called Civil Genetics Disturbances, required him to seek a large loan. His lender required life insurance, and for the first time since birth Gene had to undergo a complete genetic assay. To his dismay he learned that those pesky free radicals had caused several untreatable p53 mutations. The loan was denied and Gene's business failed.
For the next ten years he was able to eke out a living as a gene donor - his intellectual genes were still in some demand, though Synthegene technology was increasingly replacing conventional neuro-transfusion. From 2055-2065 Gene and Mega were in desperate financial condition. Gene's BADNAP reports and the p53 cancer prediction made it impossible for him to find employment or credit of any kind. But then one day, Mega, who worked in a lunar bio-storage facility, accidentally discovered tissue samples taken while the early 21st century President North was still a soldier. A black market genomic assay showed unmistakable evidence of manic-depressive and megalomaniacal predispositions. (The honesty quotient was not that high either.) Since Olivette North Gingrich was now President and the 32nd Amendment to the US constitution identified this mutation occurring within two prior generations as a disqualifying factor for the presidency, Gina and Gene were quickly and quietly able to obtain sinecure jobs with the National Park Service and lived out the rest of their lives quietly and peacefully.
Gene never weighed more than 175 pounds.
Copyright 1996 Hans S. Goerl
Hans Goerl is the Director of the Genethics Centre, based in Maryland, USA. The centre educates the public on the issue of genetic discrimination.