Parental imprinting and replacement

Linda Dunn ldunn at
Tue Sep 14 09:35:10 EST 1999

   I am looking for information to backup a science fiction story I recently
wrote in which I did a great deal of hand-waving to work around my lack of
knowledge.  I would appreciate input from those with the knowledge to tell
me if my idea is completely off base and/or what type of methods would work
for the story's premise.

For brevity's sake, I will not go into the reasons why; but the science in
the story is thus:  genetic adoptions.  The adopting stepfather becomes the
biological father of one young child who has some minor genetic problems.
My original idea was nanotechnology.  My revised version uses a smart virus
to target the father's genetic contribution and replace it with the new
dad's genetic contribution.

Am I talking science that is as unbelievable as faster than light
spaceships, teleportation, and Star Trek phasers or am I within the realm of

If this is possible, could we have a future where a white couple adopts a
black child and has him "stripped" of his genetic heritage such that in ten
years we've got a blue eyed blonde offspring?  Or vice versa?

Credits:   I've only sold one story to Analog and about two dozen others to
various magazines and anthologies.  Any venture is pure speculation and my
day job is managing computers, not working in a lab.  My primary focus is
upon the sociological and economic potential of future genetic technology
and there are several stories I'd like to write from this premise -- but not
if it's "impossible" science.

What I actually said in the story, explicitly, is thus:

The injected virus will target their father's DNA contribution and replace
it with their DNA donor's contribution.

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