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I greatly appreciate the opportunity to speak to you on the topic of "Genism, Racism, and the Prospect of Genetic Genocide" in conjunction with the World Conference against Racism. I think there is little doubt that the 21st century will be the century of human genetics. New genetic technologies have the potential not only to change what we can do to ourselves and each other, but more importantly, to change the very way we see ourselves and each other.

Our superficial perceptions of each other have often fostered racism in the past. Simply defined, racism is "the theory that distinctive human characteristics and abilities are determined by race." The hunt for genes, especially in groups identified by racial classifications, could lead to "genism" (a term not yet officially recognized, but one I would define as the theory that distinctive human characteristics and abililites are determined by genes) based on DNA sequence characteristics with resulting discrimination as pernicious as racism.

A second consequence of the new genetics will be a temptation to use our new powers to transform ourselves by attempting...