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).
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.
Humans are expected to go to their local geneticist for in vitro fertilization and
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The crime investigator turns out to be Anton, Vincent’s brother.
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