“Build-A-Baby: A Website Parody of Genetic Engineering,” Morgan Amigo (2014) — Inquiry 4

Check out Morgan’s  website parody of genetic engineering at:


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When I began brainstorming ideas and the means of production for Inquiry 4, I immediately knew that I wanted to remix my Inquiry 3 topic on the dangers of genomic patenting. A video probably would have been a lot of work or boring for the average college student because of the amount of science involved in manipulating genes, so I decided to do something a little more creative. I started working on a website but it was so dull and full of scientific and legal facts. Then, one day, my roommate and I were joking around and she mentioned that I should make a company that made genetically modified babies. The concept of creating human life completely through genetic manipulation is definitely wrong in my eyes, but I knew it would make my website interesting, creative, and even kind of funny. From that small idea, Build-A-Baby was born.

The main premise of the website was to develop a company that had strong genomic patents and monopolization over the human genome. I named the company Build-A-Baby so that the title could say it all. The patents and technologies owned by Build-A-Baby allowed wealthy parents to design, modify, and essentially “build” their perfect child. Through use of modern technology, genetically modified children were being created.

I hoped that the website would be an example of the behavior of some of the large companies like 23andMe and Myriad Genetics that I had mentioned in Inquiry 3.

I was able to express the ideas in my written essay in a different way by sharing the opinion that opposes my own. I gave an example of a company and technology that supports monopolization and genetic manipulation. In addition to the opposing opinion, I was able to incorporate colors, images, links to videos, and a more tangible medium for my project. Living in a world so dependent on technology and the Internet, I felt that a website would be the perfect way to share my project. It is my belief, unfortunately, that companies like Build-A-Baby will soon exist and have websites like the one I have created. Visual media, of any kind, allows the audience to experience more than just words or ideas. Websites are the easiest and fastest way to obtain information, so I knew that any large company would have one. The website turns a somewhat fictional concept into a multi-million dollar project. While my essay was foundations of intellectual property, the human genome, and the two sides of genomic patenting, the website allows for a more realistic approach. The website also completely immerses the audience into my topic because it is colorful, interactive, and online, unlike my essay.

        As far as the emotions and feelings that Build-A-Baby evokes, I believe that each page has its own unique purpose. The home page, a brightly colored pallet with simple text and layout, depicts the perfect family with a caption that reads, “Are you ready? Call us today & get the perfect child your family deserves.” The visual image of the smiling family in conjunction with the words “perfect” and “deserve” creates a sense of excitement and hope in the audience. The home page is intended to draw internet-goers in and make them want to read about the company ad hopefully buy into it. On the main page there are also links to information like “How it Works,” “A word from our founder,” and “Testimonials.” These tabs help make the website a better resource for curious families and individuals. The page entitled, “Our Purpose,” outlines the three pillars the company was founded on. The website explains that family, health, and happiness are their main goals. All three of those categories mixed with cute pictures of smiling children use pathos to pull at the heartstrings of the audience. What family does not want a perfect child, health, or happiness?

        The “Baby Designs” page is titled this way to be funny. All a customer has to do is browse a trait catalog, which I attached, and essentially build the child of their dreams. This also triggers pathos because parents feel a great deal of emotion while designing their child. Also found on this page is a message from the company’s founder, a doctor who studied at Princeton. His glowing reviews and accomplishments build ethos for the website and company. Lastly, the “Testimonials” page was the perfect section for me to place my own opinion. I wrote a short comment, as a concerned citizen who had visited the page, detailing my opposition to Build-A-Baby’s monopoly and purpose. I also included three buttons which allow the audience to watch two videos on designer babies and my original essay.

        Overall, the relationship between my website and essay is very strong. While the website opposes my argument, it is my hope that the audience picks up on the unethical technology at hand. I also hope that the testimonial I provided lets people reflect on the dangers of monopolization of genetic information. The purpose of both projects was to display and explain genomic patenting, the website just does it in a different and more creative way. I really enjoyed Inquiry 4 because it allowed me to express my thoughts without writing an essay.