May 30, 2016

Cost benefit of intelligence enhancement via embryo selection

There is a cost benefit analysis of embryo selection for intelligence based upon 2016 state of the art.

The case of human intelligence using SNP-based genetic prediction, finding:

  • a meta-analysis of GCTA results indicates that SNPs can explain  and over 33% of variance in current intelligence scores, and over 44% with better-quality phenotype testing
  • this sets an upper bound on the effectiveness of selection: a gain of 9 IQ points when selecting the top embryo out of 10
  • the best 2015 polygenic score could achieve a gain of less than 4.5 IQ points when selecting out of 10
  • the cost of embryo selection is modest, at $1500 + $200 per embryo, with the sequencing cost projected to drop rapidly
  • embryo selection is currently unprofitable (mean: -$673) in the USA under the lowest estimate of the value of an IQ point, but profitable under the highest (mean: $4763). The main constraints on selection profitability is the polygenic score; under the highest value, the NPV EVPI of a perfect SNP predictor is $27b and the EVSI per education/SNP sample is $71k
  • selection can be made much more profitable by selecting on multiple phenotype traits; selection scales near-linearly with equally-valuable traits, and considering an example using 7 traits (IQ / height / BMI / diabetes / ADHD / bipolar / schizophrenia), there is a gain of 2.8x over IQ alone ($4977 to about $14130)
The maximum amount of IQ gain if screening allowed for optimal selection


Chickens have become physically larger because of breeding and farming methods


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