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writing science fiction

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so far, my knowledge is small. i know about taking tech for granted, as well as relatively alien landscape, but here's the rub:

i want this reasonably near-future setting. and without spoiling my idea, or saying too much before i have something.. im curious how the craft as we know it, meaning artistic, literary, first person, occasionally minimal lends itself to this genre. being that im not a genre guy, dancing head-long into the mother of all genres is intimidating as hell.

i also need to know about genetic engineering, and people's legitimate concerns about such things. i think i can handle that part, but i also know that while im here dealing with opinionated people, i should ask for some opinions