Post-nature. Visions of man of the future in contemporary science, popular science and science fiction
Somatropin is a modern version of growth hormone generated in the process of DNA recombination. The drug is administered to children suffering from the deficit of that hormone and those affected by ISS, i.e. idiopathic short stature. However, American doctors receive regular visits from parents ready to pay large amounts of money (around USD 13,000 per centimetre) for a growth therapy so that their short (but within normal limits) children could have better chances in sports competing with their peers. This example, which has been discussed in bioethics for over 50 years, raises questions about norms, human nature and its limits; about what is still treatment and what is already enhancement, and why enhancement is basically unethical. The limits of those struggles and concerns are marked by such concepts as “equal opportunities”, “discrimination”, “new class” and “humanity”. A glance at a genetically modified future from two different, although mutually complimentary, perspectives of science and science fiction seems to offer a new version of the classic question about human nature.