I was informed by this post in LimbLengtheningForum.com that VICE themselves have started to look into the biotech revolution that is going on. I talked about CRISPR-Cas9 extensively already, but VICE has also started to report on it, like all of the other major news sites.
Apparently a rep from VICE, a Isobel Yeung interviewed the people who had their babies gender determined by The Fertility Institute with Dr. Steinberg. The Process is called Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD). It is similar to the older methods where lab technicians will look through the millions of sperms that the male partner has donated and choose the most strong, alive sperm to inject into the female egg.
I personally was not able to get a copy of this HBO VICE episode but apparently some rep of the Fertility Institute did say that you can ask to have children that are tall. Now in 2016, it is already possible for potential future parents to ask the doctors to specifically select for a eye color.
Given what I know about humans, the parents will probably ask for either green or blue eyes, since those colors are unique. So this couple, Deborah and Jonathan got to choose their babies gender (girl) and eye color. If they were given the option to choose for height, they definitely would have. It seems that the VICE rep Isobel was absolutely hooked on the idea that you can make 99.97% sure that you can have your kids to turn out much taller than they would have if you just let nature and randomness talk is course.
The time frame for that ability to choose height in their designer babies: 5 years. That’s it, as predicted by Dr. Steinberg.
Personally I am not sure how the gene editing technicians can get the height thing down. The only gene that has been definitively discovered which has any effect on height is the HMGA2 gene, which required that you have two of these gene alleles.
In one of the pictures, Isobel is pictured with CTO Cunxiang Ju at the National Resource Center for Mutant Mice in Nanjing, China, where they use CRISPR technology to edit the genes of mice. This was all from the DailyMail UK article available here.
From the article…
….”Isobel noted that the process is fairly inexpensive, costing only about $150 for the CRISPR Cas-9m protein, which uses molecular blades to make cuts in host DNA, and getting a syringe.
HOW DOES CRISPR WORK?
CRISPR technology precisely changes target parts of genetic code.
Unlike other gene-silencing tools, the CRISPR system targets the genome’s source material and permanently turns off genes at the DNA level.
The DNA cut – known as a double strand break – closely mimics the kinds of mutations that occur naturally, for instance after chronic sun exposure.
But unlike UV rays that can result in genetic alterations, the CRISPR system causes a mutation at a precise location in the genome.
When cellular machinery repairs the DNA break, it removes a small snip of DNA. In this way, researchers can precisely turn off specific genes in the genome.
As part of its 2011 plan, China has devoted more than $350 billion to biotechnology. At the National Research Center for Mutant Mice in Nanjing, China, CRISPR technology is now being used to edit the genes of mice in an effort to isolate desired traits, and the facility can hold up to 450,000 mice.
Isobel said that the lab is testing mice for everything from the jet lag gene, which regulates sleep and wake rhythms, to obesity and diabetes. The correspondent noted that there is even a ‘boy genius’ in China who is trying to find a gene to that correlates to intelligence. She added that the research has huge potential to cure diseases and help humans evolve.”…
Nations like China and Russia, which is basically run like the former Soviet Union are definitely going to push ahead to get people of certain traits. They are trying to make ultra-tall, ultra-smart humans. This sounds like sci-fi and it may lead to a dystopian type of society Gattaca style, but that is the way human progress moves, which is to unrelentlesslly push forward.
Is this a good thing? I can not question the ethics of this thing since no matter how the USA physicians debate and agree on a decision, these other countries will push forward. Humans have almost a perfect history of trying to break the rules of nature, to get our own way.
If it is true that within 5 years, parents will be able to make sure their children turns out tall, imagine what else can be done in 25 years. I am absolutely sure that in 25 years, designer babies will become a culturally accepted phenomena.
In some ways, it could be a good thing if we think in terms of 19th century pseudo-scientific eugenics philosophy. (I know, this sounds slightly racist.)
Here are the facts.
- Blonde color in hair is recessive and is slowly disappearing through normal pairing and breeding.
- In the USA alone, 70% of “blonde” hair females are not real, but come from a bottle/dye/stylist. This is due to waves of different groups of people pairing off who arrived in the USA, since the USA is a country of immigrants. It was well known in the early 20th century that Italian, Spanish, and South European men with dark/black hair and brown eyes loved women with “blonde” hair, and pair bonded with them. This is true still in the modern age, where there is enough anecdotal evidence that Middle Eastern men, South Asian men, and African American men all have a above average predilection for girls who have outer physical traits which are only available from ethnic groups in Northern Europe. This meant that 100 years later, the mixing of “white” people has resulted in this recessive hair color being extremely rare.
- Ginger hair are even more recessive and more rare.
- More than 80% of the world has brown eyes while is it is only in the Caucasian “race” that we have any type of eye color variation (hazel, green, blue, amber, etc.) This includes ethnic groups that extend into the middle east, and the central asian countries.
- It is almost an absolute certainty that at the rate which caucasians are pairing with non-caucasians, the traits like blonde or ginger hair and non-brown eye colors will disappear within a few generations.
- It was discovered that there is a genetic basis for the stereotype of Northern Europeans being tall, which is validated. Northern Europeans are traditionally taller than most other ethnic groups in the world (except for certain pockets of tribes), which means that for males of that group, females of other races/ethnic groups would have a natural desire to mate with them, looking for their height genes for their offspring.
If the entire world only had brown eyes and black hair, wouldn’t it be boring, from a taxonomic point-of-view?
Maybe this whole trend of allowing parents to choose their babies would allow for the recessive traits of already extremely unique human traits to come back, in greater concentration?
In the modern age, we preach that we should love diversity and be able to appreciate all the different colors and shapes that humans come in. However, because we are so accepting and loving of all the colors, by the act of miscegenation, we are in fact pushing the world towards a state of blandness, where there is no differences anymore, once everyone has mixed together and we all look the same again, in say 200 years time.
I am not suggesting that due to a few hundred years of imperial influence by europeans that every single parent in the coming decade will wish for their kids to have rare traits like ginger hair and green eyes, and european/caucasian features, even with Asian or African American parents. That would be odd. What I am suggesting is that the parents will definitely want to go with tall stature/above average height, and increased raw IQ points, to make sure that their kids get as much of an advantage as possible to other children.