I am Legend

Historians and archeologists have been able to provide extensive evidence concerning dinosaurs and other animal species that have so far gone extinct due to a combination of biological and environmental factors. It has been postulated that some thousands years ago dinosaurs roamed freely on the surface of the earth. Furthermore postulations according to Charles Darwin explain that at one time in history human beings existed as simple celled organisms. As a matter of fact additional theories have even attempted to explain the origin of the universe and planet earth one of them being the Big Bang theory. Some animals such as the Dodo have disappeared completely and have therefore been determined as extinct.

Hollywood creations have also taken interest in these intriguing aspects and produced movies that subtly attempt to demystify the very existence of human beings away from such theories as the creation theory. One such movie is “I am Legend” Starred by Will Smith. The movie is based on a research conducted in an attempt to find the ultimate cure for cancer. Apparently the researchers alter measles virus creating a perfect cure for cancer. However the cure causes some side effects that include mutations to other forms of life and the wiping of a huge population of the world.

The biological theme is genetic mutations that come about as a result of the altered measles virus. The virus kills a significant population of the earth. Mutations are an area of great scientific research as it is thought to be the key to evolution. A mutation is the alteration of the genetic information of an individual. It has been scientifically proven that mutations in genes known as oncogenes cause individuals to develop cancer. Genetic mutations are also responsible for diseases such as Down syndrome.  In the movie I am a legend the virus mutates to a lethal strain that kills 90% of the human population, some are converted to other beings while a significant portion remains immune to the virus. Viruses are biological particles with the capacity to mutate at a significant rate. For instance the flu virus has placed scientists on their toes due to its ability to mutate and therefore evade elimination by drugs. The movie is correct biologically in terms of how it depicts mutation of viruses. Mutations can be spontaneous or can be accelerated by a number of factors. For instance there are compounds in the environment that have been identified as causative agents of mutations especially ones that are potentially carcinogenic. For instance substances in cigarette have been known to cause lung cancer. Some substances such as aromatic hydrocarbons have also been identified as carcinogenic.

However the complete change of humans to different forms of beings that exhibit animal instinct is not just a genetic factor but a combination of genetic and environmental factors. For instance the beings identified as “Darkseekers” in the movie might have adapted to the predatory behavioral patterns due to lack of food. The movie is biologically incorrect in the sense that for human beings to completely change to other beings with peculiar physical and behavioral patterns it requires several generations of gene transformations. In most instances physical and behavioral changes as a result of mutations are observed in subsequent generations and not the present generation. Therefore for human beings to be able to change to “Darkseekers” apparently due to mutations it would obviously require several generations. It is like a case of converting a genetically dwarf person instantly to a tall person. This would be impossible unless the gene causing dwarfism is altered in one generation so that it will not be transferred to the next generation during the meiotic cell division.

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