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    #191057 - 05/13/14 03:17 PM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: thx1138]
    thx1138 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/30/12
    Posts: 93
    More grist for the mill...

    http://rt.com/usa/157776-gene-iq-cognitive-increase/

    "A variant of a common gene already associated with heightened learning and memory could be used to offset effects of cognitive decline associated with the likes of Alzheimer’s, new research suggests.

    Roughly one in five people have the genetic trait KL-VS, a variant of the “klotho” gene, according to a research team at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) and the Gladstone Institutes."

    (I realize rt and vice are not the most reliable of information sources, but google shows these stories carried/interpreted by other sites)

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    #193701 - 06/06/14 02:07 PM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: thx1138]
    Aufilia Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/25/14
    Posts: 331
    Loc: Washington
    Aside from this being an old theme in SF (I've seen it a lot in works not yet mentioned), it's also the flip side of actual policies & programs in the early 1900s that sterilized people who were considered defective (NOT just in Germany, but also in the good ol' USA) so they wouldn't produce defective children. It's not unbelievable or unpredictable that countries or individuals would try to use technology to "improve" children, if they can. The Chinese program seems to presuppose that a given couple's viable embryos might contain detectable variances in "intelligence" genes. My uneducated guess would be that the variance would likely be small enough that environment & nurture would still play a greater role in the outcome than genetics.

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    #194066 - 06/10/14 02:42 PM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: thx1138]
    Irena Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/26/12
    Posts: 1722
    Originally Posted By: Aufilia
    Aside from this being an old theme in SF (I've seen it a lot in works not yet mentioned), it's also the flip side of actual policies & programs in the early 1900s that sterilized people who were considered defective (NOT just in Germany, but also in the good ol' USA) so they wouldn't produce defective children. It's not unbelievable or unpredictable that countries or individuals would try to use technology to "improve" children, if they can. The Chinese program seems to presuppose that a given couple's viable embryos might contain detectable variances in "intelligence" genes. My uneducated guess would be that the variance would likely be small enough that environment & nurture would still play a greater role in the outcome than genetics.


    Yup, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes declared that, "Three generations of imbeciles are enough" in Buck v. Bell, a 1927 Supreme Court case upholding a Virginia law that authorized the state to surgically sterilize certain “mental defectives” without their consent. Really disturbing stuff and the basis, I believe, for Nazism.

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    #212555 - 03/13/15 07:51 AM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: thx1138]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2593
    Loc: MA
    Eugenics is not just an issue for the Chinese, of course. People value intelligence in mates in part because they want smart children. I'm not sure why directly selecting for valued traits is worse than indirectly doing so though the choice of a mate.

    Engineering the Perfect Baby
    MIT Technology Review
    By Antonio Regalado
    March 5, 2015
    Quote:
    The objective of these groups is to demonstrate that it’s possible to produce children free of specific genes that cause inherited disease. If it’s possible to correct the DNA in a woman’s egg, or a man’s sperm, those cells could be used in an in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinic to produce an embryo and then a child. It might also be possible to directly edit the DNA of an early-stage IVF embryo using CRISPR. Several people interviewed by MIT Technology Review said that such experiments had already been carried out in China and that results describing edited embryos were pending publication. These people didn’t wish to comment publicly because the papers are under review.

    All this means that germ-line engineering is much farther along than anyone imagined. “What you are talking about is a major issue for all humanity,” says Merle Berger, one of the founders of Boston IVF, a network of fertility clinics that is among the largest in the world and helps more than a thousand women get pregnant each year. “It would be the biggest thing that ever happened in our field,” he says. Berger predicts that repairing genes for serious inherited disease will win wide public acceptance, but beyond that, the technology would cause a public uproar because “everyone would want the perfect child” and it could lead to picking and choosing eye color and eventually intelligence. “These are things we talk about all the time,” he says. “But we have never had the opportunity to do it.”

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    #212562 - 03/13/15 08:52 AM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: thx1138]
    aquinas Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/12
    Posts: 2277
    Originally Posted By: Bostonian
    I'm not sure why directly selecting for valued traits is worse than indirectly doing so though the choice of a mate.


    To mods: I don't know if Bostonian's comment or my reply are appropriate for the forum, as they delve into issues of conscience. Please feel free to delete if you see fit.

    Because it is dehumanizing and commoditizes human life. It involves children being treated as consumable products valued only for the benefit they confer to a third party, rather than respecting their innate value as humans. There is also the issue of the techniques requiring the deliberate destruction of multiple embryos for the creation of one "designer" embryo, which itself is a life-ending act.

    Mate selection is a method of choosing someone who is compatible with you on multiple dimensions: cognitive, moral, cultural, genetic, etc. It has nothing to do with the genotype of individual children, but with determining the much larger contributing parental genomes. There is no deliberate loss of embryo life in this route.
    _________________________
    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

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    #212576 - 03/13/15 10:15 AM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: thx1138]
    ljoy Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/28/11
    Posts: 269
    This is a matter of culture. Aquinas is not wrong, but there are other ways of viewing the question.

    The assumptions that would support embryo selection include 1) morally speaking, life begins later than the first few cell divisions, and 2) parents know the traits that will make a better, happier life for their child.

    I'm not touching assumption #1 on this board except to say that opinions differ, but #2 ties in directly to hothousing vs afterschooling and all the parenting issues we deal with as adults who love unusual children.

    I do know parents who want their children to succeed to get them boasting points, but I also know parents who push their kids now out of love and hope they will be happier for it later. I am not going to raise 100 kids - just one or two - so out of love, I'd want them to have the best set of traits I can give them. Given the choice, would I have chosen for my daughter to have a chronic disease? This is a matter of her happiness. Would I choose for her to have less than average intelligence? Probably not. On this board, we see a lot of downsides to high intelligence, and have to argue every single day that high IQ does not make you a better or happier person. Some of that is pushback against resentment from others, though. What I understand of Chinese attitude says that intelligence is a tool that a person uses to get to success, which is what ultimately matters; overall they don't respect or disparage someone for their ability, but for their achievements. Why would I want my kids to be born with inferior tools? That would make their lives harder, and as a loving parent I only want the best for them.

    Personally I think that a strong population has a wide variety of traits, and I'm a poor predictor of what makes my kids happy, so this isn't something I would choose. I do understand why others might, though.

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    #212583 - 03/13/15 10:52 AM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: thx1138]
    Mahagogo5 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/11/12
    Posts: 517
    This is a tricky one and I'm going to leave mostly what I think out of it.

    I would say though that when I chose my DH, the qualities he would contribute to our children was very high on the list, perhaps even number 1. I am not a romantic though... I won't go on about it but I am very happy with my decision.

    Secondly and I know this will def throw the cat amongst the pigeons, It seems to me that in this day and age we have effectively neutralised positive evolution. Survival of the fittest is not something we can describe as a marker of humans anymore.

    We are able to cure/save so many people with conditions that would have prevented people being able to start families. We also provide support as a society to people who generally would not have been able to care for children independently in previous eras. I think this is a good and wonderful thing. I support that people with disabilities and chronic disease should be able to have children, also couples dealing with infertility.

    But what happens in the next eon when these differences have been assumed into the population without any positive counteraction? I guess I'm thinking about thousands / millions of years into the future - I just wonder if we, in the space of 100 years, or so are irrevocably changing the course of human history for the worse in the name of being more "humane" in the present. Is that acceptable or not? If it is acceptable do we have a moral imperative to act in the positive in an equal amount, or is our business in there here and now?

    These are questions I wrestle with and don't have a firm opinion on. I wonder if geneticists and social engineers think about it too...

    I hope I don't come of as a latent Nazi, I have very strong negative views on that too.

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    #212588 - 03/13/15 11:40 AM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: Mahagogo5]
    JonLaw Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/29/11
    Posts: 2007
    Loc: The Sub-Tropics
    Originally Posted By: Mahagogo5
    Secondly and I know this will def throw the cat amongst the pigeons, It seems to me that in this day and age we have effectively neutralised positive evolution. Survival of the fittest is not something we can describe as a marker of humans anymore.

    We are able to cure/save so many people with conditions that would have prevented people being able to start families. We also provide support as a society to people who generally would not have been able to care for children independently in previous eras.


    Thanks to the magic of the Carousel of Progress, we have finally achieved Victory over Nature and established a permanent Technological Utopia.

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    #212591 - 03/13/15 12:58 PM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: JonLaw]
    Mahagogo5 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/11/12
    Posts: 517
    Originally Posted By: JonLaw
    Originally Posted By: Mahagogo5
    Secondly and I know this will def throw the cat amongst the pigeons, It seems to me that in this day and age we have effectively neutralised positive evolution. Survival of the fittest is not something we can describe as a marker of humans anymore.

    We are able to cure/save so many people with conditions that would have prevented people being able to start families. We also provide support as a society to people who generally would not have been able to care for children independently in previous eras.


    Thanks to the magic of the Carousel of Progress, we have finally achieved Victory over Nature and established a permanent Technological Utopia.


    huzzah, I think

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    #212594 - 03/13/15 01:20 PM Re: PRC Genetic Eugenics [Re: thx1138]
    suevv Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/10/12
    Posts: 381
    Reading this thread, all I can think is "KHAAAAAAN!"

    More properly - click here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRnSnfiUI54.

    Or here, if you have no idea why I'm talking about this. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_Star_Trek#Eugenics_Wars_and_World_War_III

    Or here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khan_Noonien_Singh.


    Edited by suevv (03/13/15 01:24 PM)
    Edit Reason: adding better link

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