Sunday, April 13, 2014

Beijing Genomics Institute - the second coming of eugenics

Via Funny Times [1], I came across allegations of a confident eugenics program (emphases mine):

NEWS of the WEIRD - Current News

Beijing Genomics Institute scientists are closing in on a technology to allow parents to choose, from several embryos, the one most likely to yield the smartest offspring. London’s Daily Mail (in January, referencing recent work in Wired, The Wall Street Journal and The New Yorker) explained that BGI will have identified high-potential mathematics genes (by mapping the cells of geniuses) so that researchers can search for those among a couple’s array of embryos...

… One Chinese researcher acknowledged the “controversial" nature of the work, "especially in the West," but added, "That's not the case in China."

Eugenics is more accepted in Asia and Eastern Europe than in the west, but eugenics acceptance is growing quickly here. On the other hand, “Funny Times” and “News of the Weird” are not exactly the New York Times.

Tracing the sources I came across an article I read a year ago on Zhao Bowen, a young genius who dropped out to join China’s prestigious Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI)…

Why Are Some People So Smart? The Answer Could Spawn a Generation of Superbabies | Science | WIRED

… Zhao’s goal is to use those machines to examine the genetic underpinnings of genius like his own. He wants nothing less than to crack the code for intelligence by studying the genomes of thousands of prodigies, not just from China but around the world. He and his collaborators, a transnational group of intelligence researchers, fully expect they will succeed in identifying a genetic basis for IQ. They also expect that within a decade their research will be used to screen embryos during in vitro fertilization, boosting the IQ of unborn children by up to 20 points. In theory, that’s the difference between a kid who struggles through high school and one who sails into college….

Hmmm. I suppose “closing in” is only a bit of a stretch on “within a decade” - within allowable parameters of a comic news site. So it’s not surprising the BGI web site doesn’t yet have an explicit page on embryo selection (termination of the inadequate) for higher IQ.

It’s an interesting site to browse though. The English and Japanese pages feature Euro models — including an array of Aryan blondes. (They don’t know you’re not supposed to use blondes in eugenics programs.) I couldn’t find any retail services on the Chinese site — that’s curious. Maybe wealthy Chinese like to use English language web sites?

BGI does market one screening test that sounds ominous on first glance …

Genetic Testing for Reproductive Health | BGI Health

… Hearing impairment is a common disease in which the congenital form accounts for approximately 60% of the cases. Conventional hearing tests exhibit low coverage and low accuracy. Genetic Testing for hearing impairment allows timely and accurate identification of newborns or adults carrying the susceptibility genes of hearing impairment and late-onset hearing loss…

Except they claim this is “neonatal” testing. China might be (for the moment) good with selective abortion, but infanticide is another matter.  Their most suspicious publicly available page shows in my browser with an IP address rather than a text url:

Preimplantation Genetic Screening/Diagnosis (PGS/PGD) | BGI Health

… Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) detects and avoids the transfer of embryos with genetic abnormalities with the aim of increasing the IVF pregnancy and delivery rates…

… reduce the risk of miscarriage increasing the likelihood of success which benefits the patients emotionally and can help them to avoid costly efforts for repeat in vitro fertilization attempts should failure occur

…. Rigghhhtt. This one is winking so hard it’s gonna sprain an eyelid.

The second eugenics age is well underway.

[1] Comic relief for commie collectivists. It’s always funnier when the GOP is in power.

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