We reprint this article by John Pickard which reviews Engels contribution to the understanding of human development and specifically his pamphlet The Part Played by Labour in the Transition from Ape to Man.

Science is big business, and none more so than genetics. The Human Genome Project, the deciphering of the make up of human DNA has already resulted in some startling breakthroughs. But, while our scientific understanding of life attempts to race ahead, once again we find ourselves hemmed in by the enormous waste of capitalism. In this field, as in any other, competition plus profit equals waste.

Genetic engineering has come upon the world with a rush, accompanied by the usual claims of being a way of feeding the earth's poor and removing want. However these claims need to examined in the light of what has actually been done to date, and what is planned for the future. In fact the impetus for the development of genetic engineering, namely the rapid pursuit of maximum profits and futher control of world agriculture runs counter to the stated aims as well as encouraging unsafe science.

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