Jaenell's Reviews > Double Helix

Double Helix by Nancy Werlin
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Feb 07, 2009

really liked it

Totally loved the twist at the end and ....

MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW

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Here is quote I love, which really makes the book and puts everything in perspective:

'"Many years ago, I was at a national conference on biogenetics. It wasn't purely a scientific conference; it was open to the public. The idea was that people from all walks of life--intelligent, thoughtful people--would discuss our dreams about what this technology might do for us. There were panel discussions on the eradication of MS, and Parkinson's, and Lou Gehrig's disease, and on and on. We'd identify the genetic flaws, and no one would suffer from them ever again...It was electrifying, Mr. Samuels. I was as exhilarated as anyone. But then on the last day of the conference, a young man stood up in the audience. We had been listening to a speech about how prenatal testing was showing promising signs of making it possible to eliminate Down syndrome. And . . . " Dr. Fukuyama leans across the desk her eyes intent on mine. "Mr. Samuels, the young man who stood up in the audience to talk had Down syndrome himself. He was the head of a self-advocacy group of adults with Down syndrome."

I nod.

"We were all a little taken aback," says Dr. Fukuyama. "But this young man stood up, Mr. Samuels, and he said the following. I have never forgotten it.

"'I don't understand. We don't make trouble. We don't steal things or kill people. We don't take the good jobs. Why do you want to kill us?'"

For a few seconds I cannot breathe. I stare at Dr. Fukuyama. She stares back at me. Then she smiles, a little sadly. "That moment changed everything for me. My excitement disappeared. I got a glimpse of the world we might create, with our high-flying ideas about the eradication of suffering...There's a difference between using our gene therapy for the treatment of existing medical conditions, and using our growing, but far from perfect knowledge of genes--or of humanity--to declare that we absolutely know who has--and hasn't--a right to life at all."' (pp. 244-245)

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