Genetically selected people? ‘Polygenic scores’ could soon be used to guide human breeding

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Today, for about $100, anyone can receive a million bits of information about their own genetic makeup from a company like 23andme or Ancestry.com…We have found genetic markers for depression, for fertility and for educational performance. Most importantly, by summing the results across all twenty-three pairs of chromosomes, we can calculate for each individual a unique number that represents his/her genetic potential for that trait.

Today these polygenic scores—as they are called—are noisy predictors. But rapid progress is being made such that soon a bit of saliva or blood from a newborn will be able to capture her full genetic potential for educational attainment—along with her genetically predicted height, body mass index and cardiovascular risk.

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Much recent attention has been given to novel gene editing technology, CRISPR, which may soon eliminate single-gene diseases. But since traits like math ability and impulse control that most parents care about are spread across thousands of little effects in the genome, selective mating and embryo screening is likely to play a much larger role in how we artificially select future generations. We will have human Genetically Selected Organisms before we have GMO humans.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: What’s Your Polygenic Score?

For more background on the Genetic Literacy Project, read GLP on Wikipedia.

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