What would society be like if we were identified by our genes and plotted into a biometric database? If you think it’s a science fiction plot, then you’re right – the story is the starting point for the 1997 film Gattaca, where the citizens of a dystopian state can be classified by any cell from any part of their body. How, asks the trailer, can you hide, when you shed 500 million cells a day?

Science fiction is often prophetic, and Gattaca was no exception. Fifteen year...

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