Are your genes your destiny?

If you could explore your genome and see what it contains, would you want to? And what do you think it could tell you? With advances in genomic technology, these questions are no longer a thought experiment but are a reality some Australians face.

To explore these issues, a free public screening of Gattaca will be hosted in Sydney on Tuesday 15 August at the University of Sydney Footbridge Theatre as part of the Sydney Science Festival in National Science Week.

Integration of genetics into the clinic is accelerating along with increasing commercial interests in offering genomic testing for health, fitness, and ancestry.  For example, healthy people can now have their whole genome sequenced and genetic testing is being used as a tool to connect and expand family history research.  These technologies are increasingly being sought and used by Australians.

In 1997, the science fiction film Gattaca explored the consequences of genetic selection and manipulation on society through the eyes of genetically less-than-perfect Vincent (Ethan Hawke) and genetically perfect Irene (Uma Thurman).

Revisiting Gattaca on its 20th anniversary offers an opportunity to reflect on how the science depicted in the film has developed in real life and how much of our current technological capabilities and social expectations may be similar or different to the ones the film portrays.

Following the film, a panel of expert commentators from the fields of ethics, science and the creative arts will discuss the current state of these new technologies and their promises for the future.

Hear from:

  • Professor Ian Kerridge – Professor of Bioethics at the University of Sydney
  • Associate Professor Marcel Dinger – Head of the Kinghorn Centre for Clinical Genomics, Garvan Institute
  • Catherine Fargher – lecturer at Macquarie University in the Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies.

This event will be a chance for you to discover what current technologies are offering, some of the concerns with these capabilities and how this could impact the way we see ourselves, each other and society.  Come join the conversation about genomics!

Tickets are free, but bookings are essential.

This event is hosted by the Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine at the University of Sydney in collaboration with the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and with support from Inspiring Australia.