Gattaca viewing Questions Answer Key

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GATTACA Viewing Questions – Answer Key
01. What deception is Vincent (main character) trying to hard to maintain?

He is trying to be Jerome, who has an elite genetic identity. This identity gives

Vincent the credentials to work at GATTACA.
02. Describe four ways that Vincent maintains his genetic identity.

a. He uses Jerome’s blood, urine, and hair.

b. He uses plastic surgery to change his face; cuts and lengthens his legs.

c. He scrubs off all loose skin and hair; uses Jerome’s skin cells.

d. He gets contact lenses for perfect vision.
03. What does the term “Valid” mean in Vincent’s society?

A valid is a person who is one of the genetic elite and has genes that are good enough

to work in a space agency like GATTACA.
04. Where are the space missions taking supplies and people?

The people and supplies are going to Titan (one of the moons of Saturn).

05. When Vincent was born, what did the nurse immediately do, and why?

A blood sample was taken and analyzed, to that Vincent’s genetic profile could be

ascertained. The nurse read out Vincent’s statistics, which included a 99% probably

of a heart defect and a life expectancy of 30 years.

06. How are humans “expected” to reproduce?

Humans are expected to go to their local geneticist for in vitro fertilization and

embryo transplantation.
07. What motivates people to use genetic screening?

People want the best genes for their children because genes determine job and social

status. People also want to choose the gender, and other physical characteristics of

their child. People want to eliminate diseases and other pre-disposing conditions in

their children.
08. What is the fundamental difference between Vincent and his brother Anton?

Vincent was born the natural way and his genetic make-up was left to chance. Anton

was conceived in a laboratory and his embryo was chosen as the best of both parents.
09. What in Vincent’s career dream?

Vincent wants to be a navigator on a spaceship to Titan.

10. What physical ailment (99% probability) prevents Vincent from ever “legally”

attaining his dream?

Vincent has a heart defect and is only expected to live for 30 years.

11. What does Vincent mean when he says, “my real resume was in my cells?”

Vincent’s DNA is in the nucleus of each of his cells and the DNA determines

Vincent’s characteristics and is a listing of his characteristics, which is like a resume

that lists a person’s qualifications and talents for employment.
12. GATTACA society is divided. What determines your social position?

Your genes determine your social identity. If you are one of the genetic elite, then

you can have a good job and get your children into the best schools. If you are a de-

“gene”-erate, then you can only do menial jobs for work.

13. What is Jerome’s (middle name in Eugene) problem, even though he is one of the

genetic elite?

Jerome is having mental difficulties because he expects to be the best. He got a

silver medal in swimming and Jerome thinks he should have had the gold because he

is genetically superior. Jerome walked out in front of a car as an attempt to commit

suicide, but did not succeed. Jerome ended up in a wheel chair instead. Jerome has

lost his dreams.
14. Why does Vincent need Jerome?

Vincent is using Jerome’s genetic identity of obtain a position as a space navigator at

GATTACA. Vincent’s genes will not allow Vincent to work in GATTACA.
15. What does Vincent have to do to his legs?

Vincent’s legs are cut below the knee and put in braces that slowly lengthen

Vincent’s legs, as the bones heal.
16. Why is Jerome’s urine sometime rejected by the machine?

The machine detects the alcohol that Jerome was drinking and rejects the sample.

17. Describe Vincent’s “interview” at the space company.

Vincent was given a urine test and because his urine passed the test, he was offered

the job as space navigator at GATTACA.
18. Why does Vincent have to scrub his body so carefully?

Vincent scrubs his body so that Vincent will not leave his own skin or hair cells at

his work station, or around GATTACA. He is trying to hide his own true identity.
19. Why is Vincent, as a masquerading valid, called a “borrowed ladder?”

The DNA molecule, which has nitrogenous bases arranged in a code for inherited

traits, has a double-helical shape, which is sometimes described as a spiral staircase,

or spiral ladder. This is because the bases pair in the center of the molecule (the

rungs of the ladder), with the sugar phosphate molecules on the outside of the

molecule (the uprights of the ladder). A borrowed ladder is a borrowed genetic

identity, which would make Vincent appear to be valid.

20. What are the women doing with saliva and hair samples?

They are checking out the genetic fingerprint of their boyfriends to see what kind of

“catch” they have made in a date, or mate.

21. What does Irene read on the printout?

Irene reads Jerome’s genetic fingerprint and thinking that it is Vincent’s, concludes

that he is “quite a catch.”
22. What DNA source incriminates Vincent?

The inspector finds an eyelash the belongs to Vincent in GATTACA.

23. Who does the crime investigator turn out to be?

The crime investigator turns out to be Anton, Vincent’s brother.

24. How is Vincent finally exposed at the GATTACA spaceport?

Seconds before his flight, Vincent is asked to take a final urine test. He fails the test

because he did not carry along a urine pouch with Jerome’s urine.
25. Why does the doctor let him through anyway?

The doctor has a son that was not genetically what he should have been. The doctor

tells Vincent that the doctor’s son admires Vincent. The doctor seems to understand

Vincent’s dream and ambition. The doctor hints that he’s known about, or been

suspicious about Vincent because the doctor has been witness to Vincent’s urine

tests: “Right handed-men don’t hold it with their left.”


1. There are many hidden meaning in the words used in this film.

What the word GATTACA mean?

The letters are taken from the letters that represent the four nitrogenous DNA bases:

A adenine, T thymine, G guanine, C cytosine.

2. How about the name Eugene? (Hint: what other biology words start with “eu?”)

The name Eugene can refer to eugenics, which is the science of improvement of the

human race through the application of genetics. Other biology words that start with

“eu” are: eukaryotic (having a true nucleus), euchromatin (active genes), euglena

(both plant and animal), and eustachian tube (the auditory canal). The root “eu” in

biology means “true.”
3. After watching this film, how do you think genetic screening today might affect a

person’s ability to get a job, or get health insurance? Explain.

If a genetic disease is discovered, it could result in higher premiums for health

insurance, denial of claims because of a pre-existing condition, or denial of health

insurance. Some employers may not hire people that might have a disease that results

in poor attendance or becoming disabled. Some employers may not hire person’s they

deem to be a safety risk to themselves, or the public.

4. What tests already exist that make it almost impossible for a person to hide their true

identity or health condition? Give examples.

Genetic fingerprinting can distinguish between individual humans. Fingerprinting is

used to reliably establish identity. Genetic screening can determine genetic disorders.

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