Boule Gene and Population Control

Many of our ethical debates are falling short of knowledge of available technology.  Will we really resist such chances to deter and detect rapists, terrorist and so on because we blanch at the thought of a total database of DNA?  We have also discovered the Boule gene which controls sperm production in all known animals.  This makes is a sure target for male contraception, not just in humans but also pest and germ-carrying species.  The implications include the thought of suppressing target populations without their consent, such as whole countries and criminal underclasses.

Not nice thinking I know, yet should we not try and have the best debates we can before the technology just overtakes us, as it does?

11 thoughts on “Boule Gene and Population Control

  1. From what I can recall of a newspaper article a while ago, the scientist who actually discovered the way to establish people’s DNA, and it’s use in proving criminal cases, was appalled and VERY unhappy about New Labour and ACPO’s abuse of power regarding his scientific work.

    Government, police et al need to respect the views of individuals who come up with ideas and inventions that THEY intended to be used to help people.

    There is nothing worse than having a brainwave and creating something to improve the lot of humanity, to then witness ones “brainchild” hijacked and abused by others, who change the original intended use of it to oppress more people than it helps.

    I think the debate on the New Labour government and ACPO wishing to introduce the “presumed guilt” concept of the whole population, regarding the DNA database, has already been won by the LibCon coalition government.

    ACPO may well argue that to have everyone on the DNA database would help police to solve crimes and deter rapists and terrorists, but this would, in reality, lead to total state control of the population and abuses of power. Many died in WW2 to fight for the freedom and civil liberties of the people of this country.

    The concept of a police database holding the DNA of everyone in the country, is rather Orwellian. No way!

    Isn’t what you suggest in your post nothing more than Alpha male control freakery by the scientists? I think so.

    • The potential of the Boule gene is even worse than anything you are worrying about Mrs. Magoo. It gives a potential route into stopping all sexual reproduction. The gene itself is 600million years old and is key to sperm production in all animals.

      I worked on a project a an undergraduate where we attracted tse-tse flies with male pig sweat, irradiated them before release. This made them sterile, but they still mated. Females only mate once, so this was an effective way of population control. Why do it? It was an attempt to prevent sleeping sickness (the bane of Africa). If we could target the Boule gene in specific animals we could wipe out whole species. Apply your reasonable paranoia to this and the outlook is bleak.

      I don’t think your arguments hold, but the warning in them is extremely important. George Steiner used to say that the British had avoided fascism and communism (the totalising forms anyway) because we can never take ideas seriously enough! What you tend to get into doesn’t really address the real power relations in society and contains false assumptions on such matters as presumption of innocence and whether that is a good or bad thing. I’d guess we’d be better off with a right to have our side of matters investigated. Might be interesting to debate this, particularly as our basic instincts seem similar.

  2. With all due respect, I believe that my “arguments” do hold. ACPO was politicised and unduly influenced in a negative way by the previous government, who were/are a big fan of the Big Brother state. They were/are in the minority in their wish to exert total control over the public they are sworn to serve, rather than oppress. New Labour, and I suspect some in ACPO did lose the “plot”.

    The presumption of innocence of an individual is fundamental to British Law – the Magna Carta I believe!
    It is there to protect ordinary people from being falsely accused and “fitted up” by the rich and the powerful.
    Presumed innocence is not a “false assumption”, although that has been eroded by the state since the 1950’s.
    But don’t “we” as British subjects/individuals already have a right to have “our side of matters” investigated?
    I would have thought so, in theory at least, but perhaps not in practice sometimes, where those “in power” have something to hide and a lot to lose regarding jobs and reputations.

    Where it is a minority of a population who engage in crimes as a way of life, the law abiding majority should not be expected to suffer oppression and “presumed guilt” because of the bad behaviour of the few.
    Nor should the majority of the law abiding population, or for that matter individuals, be presumed to be “guilty” just for the convenience of the police, [the media] or the state. Therein lies the way to abuses of power, and the argument to protect people from that holds firm!

    I’m not a scientist and have not heard of the Boule gene, but I do have a justifiable concern and objection to scientists “playing God”. There has been far too much of that in the past which has damaged the eco system of this planet. The toxic chemicals the scientists have developed have contaminated the environment to the extent that the fertility of male fish AND male humans have been damaged.

    The Alpha male appears to assume that they are always right, about everything, and that they have a “right” to dominate and control everything and everyone on this planet, even if the “Alpha male” scientific arrogance leads us all into suffering, danger and destruction.

  3. You can take respect for granted from me Mrs. Magoo. Magna Carta was really just an agreement between King and Barons. Currently, you cannot stand in court under English Law and really expect a presumption of innocence – it’s a legal fiction. People are easily railroaded through our system. I’d need a lot of space to explain and have to get on with other writing at the moment. Nearly everyone I took to court was utterly guilty and many falsely accused me of bias or corruption – none of it true. I wouldn’t blame Alpha males, but know what you mean. All of us fail to ensure our democracy.
    The science is about what we should do with it, but most remain ignorant of what is becoming possible.

  4. I try to take nothing for granted Champ! Counted chickens before they are hatched, best not to, as the wise old saying goes.

    The Magna Carta may well have started out as an agreement between a King and the Barons, but from what I can recall from history lessons [a long time ago!] the Magna Carta formed the basis and the building blocks of our legal system. This system must prove a persons guilt, beyond all reasonable doubt. There has to be reliable evidence to prove that a person accused of a crime actually did it.

    The positive side to the media in recent years has been their determination to expose and rail against the New Labour undermining of this basic British Law, and the subjects/citizens rights of “innocent until proven guilty.

    I agree that some people have been “rail-roaded” through the system on false evidence, and found guilty of crimes they did not commit.

    However, in an earlier post you stated that “liars with a good brief” get off. Now would that comment be referring to rogues and liars “fitting up innocent people”, or guilty members of the public with a good brief, who lie to get off? Both I imagine. What a crap system.

    Why not lay the blame at the feet of those responsible for harming others, and if that happens to be a number of “Alpha Males” who have dominated ALL the professions, then so be it. It is men who have “ruled” this world, and made one hell of a mess of things because of arrogance and an inability to listen and take notice of genuine concerns. It’s been one long power trip.

    I don’t blame all Alpha Males, just the ones who don’t give a damn about how much damage they have done to people and this planet……not that they care one bit what I or anyone else says to them, or about them.
    There is clear evidence of that in politics right now.

    If people remain ignorant of what is becoming possible, that is because those “in power” keep a lot of secrets!

  5. I don’t especially agree with your comment that “women are as bad as men when in power though”. Some of them may be, or have been, on occasions, and I can think of a few examples of betrayal by arrogant “Alpha Females”, but I won’t mention any names here.

    But on the whole, I do think that “most” women are usually less selfish and more caring and sensitive towards the needs of others. Women have had to assert themselves to gain some sort of equality with men, who have for centuries regarded themselves as “superior” to women. There has to be a proper “power sharing” balance to get it right for the future well being of everyone.

    It isn’t women who have led this planet to near destruction Champ! The male dominated scientific community and the invention and widespread use of chemicals in the environment, has led to illness in the human population and the destruction of many sensitive species. A third of the worlds bee population has been wiped out by the use of pesticides. Without the bees to pollinate, the food supply for humanity is at risk…..
    However, in the UK there have been successful attempts to save the bee colonies. So, that’s at least some good news!

  6. They usually do, and often hidden from view.

    I hope there have not been crossed wires here in this debate during the last few comments, as I suspect you may be a bit sensitive to what you may have regarded as some sort of criticism of ALL Alpha males, which was not the intention, nor what I meant by my comments. I certainly don’t have a problem with the Alpha male natural instinct to PROTECT females, and children. I object to men who do harm to those who are vulnerable, because of their dominance.

    Nor was I talking specifically about male attitudes.

    I really do not understand what you mean by your remark that “you are rather creating the reverse of the male dominace thing if you are not careful”.

    IF I could “create” a reverse of the harm that has been and is being done, by male scientists and others in industries that pollute and damage the environment, people and other species, then I would be overjoyed!

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