R4's struggles to talk sensibly about genetic engineering got me to thinking about how a lot of genetic manipulation is really just trying to take a shortcut to achieve what years, if not centuries, of patient and careful cross-breeding can achieve.
Okay, so you can't really cross a rabbit with a jellyfish in order to get green glowy bunnies, but I see nothing wrong with trying to improve a species by picking some desirable attribute to accentuate. After all, Nature's been doing it since Day One.
It's amazing to me that people can scream and yell about the immorality of genetic engineering, and yet when I watch nature documentaries, almost invariably the host mentions that the females carefully choose the males "best able to pass on healthy genes to their offspring."
Now this supposes that prairie chickens and lemurs and clownfish understand the science of genetics. Considering that we, the apex species on this planet, only just figured genetics out a couple of decades ago (thank you, Watson & Crick) I find it impossible that animals give a fig about anything more than "me horny, you handy, let's go."
And furthermore, how can it be that humans are the only species that understands the laws of genetics--but refuses to obey them?
So here's a little ditty I composed in honor of Natural Selection.
Animal chorus: We all started off
As little grey shrews
But genetic selection
Allowed us to choose
The shape and the form
That would suit us the best
And give us a head start
Right out of the nest!
Giraffe: I grew real tall to chew on the leaves--
Dolphin: I lost my limbs and can swim in the seas!
Bat: I turned my arms into really neat wings!
Deer: I covered my head with these sharp, pointy things!
Animal chorus: Adaptations galore,
Mutations and more,
Helping us live in the niche we adore!
Bird: I once was a dinosaur, now I'm a bird!
Wolves: We hunt in packs--
Rabbits: --So we have heard!
Horse: I grew long legs, and I run on my toes!
Elephant: I eat and drink with a hand for a nose!
Chorus: Of course there are shrews
Still stumbling around
Bumbling blindly deep under the ground,
But for the rest of us--we made the best of us--
In all shapes and sizes, and colors, and sounds!