Lifestyle Health and Wellbeing 28 May 2019 Modification of the ...

Modification of the embryos’ IQ to soon be a reality

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | DECCAN CHRONICLE
Published May 28, 2019, 12:55 pm IST
Updated May 28, 2019, 1:00 pm IST
Genomic Prediction is powering ahead with their innovation, giving parents the options of seeing a ‘scorecard’ of sorts of their embryo. (Photo: Representational/Pixabay)
 Genomic Prediction is powering ahead with their innovation, giving parents the options of seeing a ‘scorecard’ of sorts of their embryo. (Photo: Representational/Pixabay)

The medical field is progressing faster than ever and now, genetically modified IQs in newborns are just a decade away from being a reality. A scientist has predicted that IVF couples can soon choose the desired qualities that they need in a child though genetic designing.

“Accurate IQ predictors are possible in the next 10 years, if not the next five,” said Stephen Hsu, co-founder of Genomic Prediction at Michigan State University. He predicts that certain countries would adopt these innovations.

Genetic modification of the embryos has been done in the past to fix hereditary diseases and to prevent other deadly genes being passed on from the carrier parent. But predicting IQ is far more difficult and complex than fixing diseases.

This kind of practice comes with a lot of ethical questions. The first example that comes to mind is Hitler’s attempts at controlled breeding of desirable traits for the next generation. Before taking the medical leap, it is important to have ethical guidelines in place to prevent a second wave of eugenics. Concerns were raised after a Chinese scientist He Jiankui attempted to alter the DNA of twin girls to cure them of HIV, reported DailyMail .

Genomic Prediction is powering ahead with their innovation, giving parents the options of seeing a ‘scorecard’ of sorts of their embryo. It shows the possible genetic defects, risk of diseases and a rough estimate of intelligence. “This ‘scorecard’ is currently not allowed in many countries including the US and the UK, will soon come around,” said Stephen Hsu. “Maybe the bottom 1 per cent embryo will grow up to be a great person; even be a scientist, but the odds are against it,' Hsu said of the 'low IQ' embryos.

A decade ago, the prospect of tweaking DNA was preposterous; something that people didn’t expect possible in the foreseeable future. And now, with scientists considering altering the IQ via genetic modification, medicine had advanced a long way. Scientists can now analyse how genes impact outcomes and attempt to change them.

Genomic Prediction is confident that people will soon come around to the idea of modifying traits. “The IVF pioneers were called monsters. It was predicted that these babies would have health problems. But now, IVF is completely normalised.  Everyone who is pointing their finger at [Genomic Prediction] now should go back and read those articles,” concluded Hsu.

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