Never, it seems, has the progress of science and technique been so ambivalent, giving rise (in particular in the realm of life sciences) to such fears and such hopes.
Discussing here the progress in genetics, Jacques Testart shows first the role played by myths and reality in the progress achieved so far, underlining in particular how the progress in knowledge reveals the depth of our ignorance, or rather, the uncertainty that surrounds many questions. "The attitude of scientific and political authorities reveals a concern to believe and make believe in the control of genetics, a concern which tends towards falsification and irresponsibility" he writes, in order to expose human vanity and the tendency to boast about a knowledge that one does not really have.
Despite that remaining doubt, the author in a second part shows "how we can use genetics". He stresses what advances can be expected, especially in so called predictive medicine, but simultaneously warns about the inherent dangers to genetic selection, the competition towards "molecular enhancement" or worse even, towards "genetic purification" and dangerous "molecular tagging".
It is high time says the author, to "demystify the fabulous promises of genetics and to democratise the field of techno-science". Here lies, no doubt, the greatest challenge for the years to come, in which all of us have a stake and which we can't leave to the secret deliberations of the few genetic initiates alone.