They are the bases in the human genome. The movie is trying to emphasize the significance these four letters, each representing a base pair in the human genome, will have in the theme throughout the movie. Gattaca is the name of the space agency in the film. The name is based on the initial letters of the four DNA nitrogenous bases: guanine, adenine, thymine, and cytosine.
2. Why might the directors have chosen to have a winding staircase in Eugene and Vincent’s apartment rather than a simple straight one (hint: think of the symbolism here)?
A winding staircase is the same shape used to represent DNA, a double helix joined together- the staircase also represents the focus on genetics that the movie employs.
3. Why do you think Vincent was called a "borrowed ladder”? To what ladder were they referring?
Vincent wants to be an astronaut. However, since he was considered inferior because he was conceived of natural means, he could not be an astronaut. So he became a "borrowed ladder", a person who impersonates a "valid" with a better genetic profile, in this case Jerome Eugene, a swimmer who’s been paralyzed, using his blood, skin, and hair to pass screening. The ladder they are referring to is the genetic ladder, because with the joining of the nitrogenous bases, the pairs, with their covalently bonded sugars and phosphate groups look like rungs of a ladder.
4. When Jerome's parents went to a genetics center for a second child, the geneticist stated '’I have taken the liberty of eradicating any potentially prejudicial conditions - premature baldness, myopia, alcoholism and addictive susceptibility, propensity for violence and obesity." The father then asks "We were wondering if we should leave some things to chance.” To this the geneticist responds, "You want to give your child...