What is meant by a genetic disorder? To the biologist, the lack of pigment when the typical situation is pigmentation is an abnormality. An albino alligator, an albino giraffe, or an albino tiger stands out and surprises the beholder, because in the experience of those who have observed populations of alligators, giraffes, or tigers, these are rare. We may have difficulty defining what is normal among humans but there is a huge quantitative distinction between the words "typical" and "atypical." When an unusual event is one in several tens of thousands, it is atypical. But the problem is more than a quantitative one. If we do think dualistically about that which harms us and that which benefits us when it comes to alien life in our bodies, should we also think that way about gene mutations?


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pp. 349-358
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