BGI, of Shenzhen, China, is mapping the genes of math geniuses. Researchers will then compare those against a sample from the general population, isolating which genes turn people into string-theory whizzes.
According to the report, most children are within 13 IQ points of their parents’ combined average. Two or three out of every hundred children turns out way smarter, said Stephen Hsu, a BGI researcher. Creating a bunch of embryos raises the possibility of generating a sperm-egg combo that creates a super-smart baby.
But critics worry that genetic data related to IQ could easily be misused.
On his blog, Hsu wrote, “Imagine what a couple might pay to ensure that they get the best out of 10 or 50 possible offspring, optimizing… their choice of heritable attributes.” He compared the cost of a Harvard degree or private school with the few thousand dollars it takes to fertilize and implant embryos.
By Lee Shin-young, Intern reporter (firstname.lastname@example.org)