A Resignation

Dr Stephen Woodrow, eminent research specialist into human genetic mutations, was indispensable to the government. Standing in his laboratory, he felt the walls closing in on him, heavy with the weight of awards, various degrees and his most prized accolade, the university pendant for outstanding contribution to human advancement in completion of his PhD in human chimera diagnostics. Looking at the pendant, sparkling as the flicker of the fluorescent bulb refracted from its surface, he felt a gnawing anxiety that he could no longer excuse away. As chief scientist with the Genetic Verification Department, he was responsible for the fates of many, who on being diagnosed as not of optimal genetic lineage, would be quarantined and at best sterilized, at worst killed. The money was lucrative, sure, and the prestige had been enough to win the approval of his harshest critic, his mother, but he had become increasingly attuned to the suffering that he was sufficiently removed from in his sterile laboratory with its heady smell of agar and formaldehyde. Higgins was due to arrive soon to check on the progress of the Trugene Diagnostic Kit, a kind of litmus test that was to be used as a quick first step in assessing citizens’ eligibility for resource allocation- electricity, gas, water, to their homes. It was all dependent on the outcomes of their genetic make up, and the quicker people could be culled at this stage, the more efficiently more than a half dozen government departments could run. Higgins, as the head of the Ministry of Genetics and Human Advancement, the umbrella Ministry under which the Genetic Verification Department sat, held a lot of sway in the direction of research. He himself had once been the head scientist of the Department and had passed the baton onto Woodrow. The pressure was now on Woodrow to develop a commercially viable test. Continue reading