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Wednesday, March 03, 2004

The Positive Side of DNA Technology

I've expounded, in the past, on the negative uses of DNA testing and manipulation: cloning, eugenics, abortion, and a general decrease in appreciation of individual humans. Today, though, we see a positive application of this same technological field in the news. A mother, Luz Cuevas, whose infant daughter had been kidnapped six years previously and was believed dead, spotted and recognized the six year old at a party, and obtained strands of hair to prove by DNA testing that the child was indeed her missing daughter.

If you look around the internet at the articles and quotes concerning Ms. Cuevas, you will note that her command of the English language is not terribly strong; yet nobody can accuse this woman of not being bright. Not only did she have the quickness to spot, after six years, a child she had only seen for ten days as a newborn, but she quickly thought of a way to prove it.

Aside from bespeaking this mother's impressive maternal instinct, the story exemplifies the often repeated comment that evil is a perversion of good. First, the action of the kidnapper was a perversion of the maternal instinct. Second, the story shows that DNA testing can be a very positive thing, with moral and worthwhile applications, even if the stories that make the news are often about the ways this technology is perverted to moral wrongs, such as the deliberate creation of embryos for the purpose of destroying them.

I think the lesson in all of this is that we cannot blame technology for man's sinfulness. DNA research isn't responsible for the evils that have occurred using its resulting technology; human greed, fear, and lack of compassion are. Even the wrongful use of aborted embryos in stem cell research originates in a desire to show compassion for the ill; and "therapeutic abortion" originates with a parent's desire to have a baby who will not suffer.

The way to rid our society of the misuse of our technological abilities, then, is not to eliminate technology but to pray for the grace to use it morally.