October 5, 2012

Parenting Is Hard, Let's Go DNA Shopping!

Scientific American has a post warning about the potentially disastrous unforeseen consequences for humanity posed by pre-natal genetic testing and the increase in abortions and "abuse" that will "inevitably" follow:

The 1% prevalence of schizophrenia makes it an apt target for prevention. However, the globally consistent and high incidence of this disease may be an indicator of its association with advantageous genetic characteristics. The 'social brain hypothesis', the main theory to explain the evolution of schizophrenia, suggests that the human brain evolved to select for genes associated with schizophrenia in a trade for higher order cognitive traits. These include language and the ability to interpret the thoughts and emotions of others. Schizophrenia is the cost that humans pay for being able to communicate, and as such, the genes responsible may be an essential component of the human gene pool. As with ASD, the elimination of the disease may have unintended consequences, and permanently alter the social dynamics within our species.
Yow. Though the image that humans might end up "domesticating ourselves" does not sound half as bad as, "Designer babies will hasten the Idiocracy."

On the other hand, maybe there are unforeseen benefits to people who are inclined to micromanage their fetus's DNA in hopes of making their own parental life easier not contributing to the gene pool. So it's tricky.

Warning: Genetically Modified Humans [scientific american]

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