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Through a comparison of H.G. Wells's The Island of Dr. Moreau and Thomas Huxley's writings with recent U.S. policy decisions concerning stem cell research and the creation of chimeras, this article proposes that literary study should play a greater role in genetics policy debates. Cultural representations of genetics carry wide influence, and ethics commissions increasingly invoke literary and historical precedents to buttress their conclusions. Yet literary scholars and others in the humanities have largely been absent from the policy arena. Because of institutional shifts in the policy sphere, humanists have an opportunity to affect public policy more profoundly than at any time since the Victorian era.