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Molly McNary

English 101-15

Ms. Kleinman

Comparison / Contrast

After reading the two writings Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Kurt Vennegut and "Research on worms" by Byron Spice, I feel that there is a real problem with the idea of humans living longer than they are meant to. You cannot tinker with life and expect good things to come out of it. It is crazy to imagine that one can live to be four or five hundred years old, but science and technology make it possible in today's world. When scientists change around the genetic code of animals or people it can lengthen the life span.

In the article "Research on worms suggests human life span can be extended", the gene called daf-16, nicknamed sweet 16, " because it represents youth in some sense makes protein that turns on various genes involved in repair or protection process of the body." If the gene is manipulated it can change the life span in worms and possibly humans. "If daf-16 and/ or similar genes can be activated in just the right way, it might be possible to maintain humans youthfulness longer." Dr. Fisher stated that if you adjust the daf-2 just the right way round worms lives would be extended even if they have not reached mid-life yet. Dr. Kenyon said that " atleast one drug now marketed to treat diabetes appears to activate the life span genes."

If humans were able to live longer than naturally allowed, it's easy to think of the problems that could come with it. Our world is already over populated with immigration, food and disease. By turning up the age limit it would only amplify the problems that we live with today. Basically the age limit would be multiplied by four, therefore our population would also be multiplied by four. This means there are more mouths to feed, and more energy would be consumed. The real question is how much can our country sustain? Would society be able to produce enough food, energy, and medicine?

I believe that everyone who lives in the city would be packed together like sardines, and would be miserable. It is not hard to say that our present world would be turned upside down with an introduction of the gene change. Look at China for example, families cannot have children unless they are approved by the government. Or Africa which has the highest percentage of the AIDS virus, and lack of food. Even our own prisons do not have enough room now. People living longer would simply compound these existing problems.

In the story Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow Kurt Vannegut describes an extended family all living together in one small apartment in Alden Village in New York . Mostly couples, eleven to be exact all had complaints of their lifestyles. All of these individuals consumed a product called anti-gerasone which extended their lives for hundreds of years. Therefore, the country ran out of gas, metals, and fossil fuels. No one even had cars anymore. Two of the characters Emerald and Lou remembered what their lives used to be like before anti-gerasone. They used to go for a ride in the country, but they could no longer do that because it was packed with so many people. They stated that "they would hop in the car and Pop'd drive up to a filling station and say 'Fillerup!' , before they used up all the gasoline." When they got hungry they used to go to restaurants to eat. Now hey had to eat seaweed and sawdust. Nothing was the same anymore, not even the stores or anything. The family also had to sleep in the same room which allowed them no privacy from each other.



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