Jennifer Highsmith :: Projects and Ideas

  Department: Physiological Science







Design by Sequence

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Genetic Art Proposal

"Jamie Marie Highsmith"
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Five of my favorite links on the topic of genetic arts:
I like this genetics game better than the genochoice site. Here you "design a child" and I played with the option "roll the genetic dice". So after entering my characteristics and family history and those of a guy (I didn't make him perfect), here are the results. They asked me again if I wanted to change my mind and engineer the child. I would never want to make a designer child. Considering my chance for a genetic "disease", my parents might not have had me. (Watch the "Coda" on Deleted Scenes of the GATTACA DVD.) However my boy/girl was "lucky" and didn't get many of the diseases.
STATURE:5'4'' to 5' 8''
SPEED:13-10 secs.
Note that this was a quick sample and I plan to expand on this concept for my genetic art project synthesis.
Yet to decide whether I would like to a do a project about my "designed child", I found this site about genetic engineering in general when I searched for designer baby articles. There are many links to articles and websites here. However this site is on the opposing slant of the issue.
This critique introduces a serious and scary future world of techno-eugenics. Instead of a GATTACA-like selection of an embryo from two parents, the suggestion arises of actually inserting genetic traits into an embryo. For instance, a child could have red hair from a family of all brown haired (dominant-gened) people. So basically human genes would be manufactured on an assembly line.
Being an introduction to eugenics, this site was useful in finding other links about the gene manipulation debate. The part about Catholics was interesting because even though I am Catholic, I don't believe in their (or the scientific proponents') extreme.
A history of trait discovery and genetic counseling, not as a directive science like eugenics which tries to engineer the most "well born" children. Genetic testing is also of interest to me. What intrigues me is when it can be done in life, for which diseases, and potential effects (denial of insurance, finding out "new" family history, seeing probability of disease in a future child, etc.).
Make your own genetic art. A set of 16 blue fractals in a four-by-four grid is given to start. I could pick any shape and fine tune the stability and mutation from 0 to 100% and end up with a whole new set of shapes. The original shape stays the same so it is interesting to watch the other patterns "evolve" without worrying about the intricate details.
A three-dimensional picture representing the new field of nanobiotechnology. The artist says the blue and white on the bottom is supposed to be a branching fungus. I think this piece is showing the methods of math (on the cube), molecules in different forms, and a real organism against a surreal landscape. The simplicity and the wide range of colors attracted me to the art.