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‘Genome profiling’—not gene editing—could offer easiest path to smarter babies

, , | | February 25, 2019

For the foreseeable future, editing embryos to enhance IQ is a sci-fi fantasy.

A different approach aimed at enhancing IQ is far less fantastic. We’re calling it embryo profiling, and it could be done today.

Embryo profiling capitalizes on the ability to add up the minuscule effects associated with thousands of genetic variants to create what’s called a polygenic score. On the basis of this score, researchers can make predictions about an embryo’s likelihood of exhibiting given traits, from developing cardiovascular disease to going far in school. The latter, known as educational attainment and often taken to be a proxy for IQ, is a trait for which researchers claim to have made significant progress.

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However, Stephen Hsu, one of the founders of Genomic Prediction, has described his vision of the day when prospective parents can use genome profiling to select the “smartest” embryo, with a gain of 15 IQ points compared with the also-rans. It’s not a stretch to suspect that selecting for embryos with the greatest potential for high IQ, as wildly imperfect as the process may be at present, could soon be on the market.

Read full, original post: Embryo editing for higher IQ is a fantasy. Embryo profiling for it is almost here

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