China Engineering Genius Babies

Published on Author quinn

Chinese labs have begun pursuing an option to genetically alter embryos in order to make their population’s average IQ increase by 15 points.After taking DNA from 2,000 geniuses from around the globe, the Beijing Genomics Institute is hoping to be able to single out “human intelligence within their genomes.” Eventually, a couple will be able to create a child that would be the smartest if they had 100 children. As the U.S. struggles with the ethics behind this project and lacks the technology to keep up with these Chinese labs, there is fear that the Chinese will create a super race.  DNA sequencing is becoming more popular and less expensive, creating fears that in a few years we will be able to hand pick the outcome of our children’s appearance, muscle density, intelligence, etc. Additionally, this sequencing for individual couples may cause a class-divided race, with the poor continuing natural selection and the wealthy engineering super children.

Read more about the controversy here:

5 Responses to China Engineering Genius Babies

  1. Well, with test-tube experiments, going from concept to significant numbers is a process of not just years but maybe decades, particularly if there is no single gene that does the trick. And if it’s additive – well, how do you know that the egg / sperm pair used in artificial insemination didn’t generate the dumbest of the lot of 100 children as the starting point? No genuius there. Next, there’s no labor force impact for another 24 years, as all these geniuses need to finish school. Third, won’t BGI want to line up a well-heeled clientelle? The business model would keep numbers small. Fourth, why assume only would-be Chinese parents will line up? There are plenty of people in the US who travel halfway around the world to adopt a child. Why won’t couples also travel to benefit from the “BGI fertility clinic”? That is, I’d be surprised if nationalism got in the way of making money; we know ethical qualms don’t, and not just in China. Finally, attend a faculty meeting and re-think whether having a lot of intelligent people in one spot improves functionality.

  2. I agree with the professor on his points. If all were to go well in their experiments and this genetically altering become viable, the business strategy would be to keep this on a small scale and the process would be extremely expensive to recoup the R&D and the business plan is definitely a extremely long term and very unlikely for an entire population to be transformed through this process.

  3. It seems that with the unique DNA of each sperm and the randomness of which sperm fertilizes the egg, it will be impossible to ensure that the resulting child is going to have a high IQ with full confidence. This would hurt business because parents paying for adoption would not be fully guaranteed of receiving a genius baby. Maybe future technological innovations can help correct this issue, but until then I am skeptical of the viability of this procedure. It is an interesting idea, nonetheless.

  4. By increasing the number of intelligent people, we will decrease functionality AND diversity in children. Through this type of scientific work, people may choose intelligence over creativity from the “genetic options” for their baby. This may result in a lack of innovation and adaptability throughout the world. And who really wants to live in a world where everyone is more or less same?

  5. As been discussed above, a huge number of, genetically, the same person would create a monotonous environment with almost no innovation. If people today are believed to still carry Genghis Khan’s DNA, or at least people sharing a common “unknown” DNA in Asia (“unknown” in a sense we don’t really know the origin of this DNA, because we don’t have Genghis Khan’s DNA at hand), that would mean there are strands of DNA’s in today’s people that dates back to a very long time. Even if we can date back only till the 13th century, when world population was estimated to be only 350 million, every 1 in 5 people today would be able to have genes of the smartest person in the 13th century, whoever that is. If everyone opted for this, 1 in 6 people can have Da Vinci’s IQ. Imagine all the inventions these people would make, but in vain, because someone else too made it.

    However, if they were put together, maybe an extraordinary invention could be found. It’s definitely interesting.