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It has been 25 years since the release of GATTACA, a film that tells the story of a credible near future in which society’s inequalities, formerly associated with race and class, have been replaced with new prejudices based on genetic determinism. Here we compare GATTACA’s fictional technologies with reality’s state of the art, assessing the legal protections afforded in today’s society against GATTACA’s dystopian future in which personal freedom and privacy rights are substantially curtailed by genomic innovations. We further discuss how GATTACA’s prescient forewarnings are still relevant today in light of the current trajectory of genomic science and technology.

GATTACA, a film directed by Andrew Niccol, was released 25 years ago, only a couple of years before the June 2000 announcement of the first working draft sequence of the human genome at the White House Rose Garden. Similarly auspiciously, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey was released a year shy of Apollo 11’s landing in the Sea of Tranquility on the moon.

Notably, the world presented in Kubrick’s films and books, with regular human...