Predicting an embryo’s future intelligence: Progress or Eugenics?

By Laura Gotti Tedeschi

Would you like your baby better if he or she was more intelligent?  The genetics of intelligence has become the latest highly controversial area of science. DNA testing can now tell us useful information about someone’s IQ, in addition to disease risks such as diabetes or cancer.

The New Scientistof November 17th, 2018 reports the first company in the US (GenomicPrediction) to offer fertility clinics polygenic risk scores to test for screening IVF embryos for low intelligence. The firm says they offer the option of screening out embryos deemed likely to have “mental disability”, but will the same approach be used to identify embryos with genes that make them more likely to have a high IQ.

Thanks to IVF, the choice of the healthy over the sick is already a reality.  However, the tests to predict low intelligence have not yet been used but the American firm recently began talks with several IVF clinics. The choice of having a baby with a promising high IQ seems indeed to be a big temptation for wealthy individuals willing to pay for these screening procedures.

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