VIC248H1: Genetics in the Movies: Mad Scientists, Clones, Superhumans, and Designer Babies


This course explores how scientific and technological advances in genetics have been presented in the movies, focusing on American cinema. We will consider how selected films have influenced social perceptions of the role of scientists and genetic technologies in various areas. The movies and topics covered might include: The Black Stork (1917), A Bill of Divorcement (1932), Tomorrow’s Children (1934) for eugenics; The Boys from Brazil (1978), and Blueprint (2003) for human cloning; Jurassic Park (1993) for de-extinction or bringing extinct animal species back to life; Blade Runner (1982) for synthetic biology and human nature; Gattaca (1997) for human genetic enhancement; The Fly (1958) and The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996) for chimeras; My Sister’s Keeper (2009) for savior siblings; and Okja (2017) for genetically modified animals. We will also analyze the role of documentaries, such as Human Nature (2019) and Make People Better (2022).

Society and its Institutions (3)