Let us consider a scenario beyond complete genetic sequencing of zygotes and optimal selection of embryos.
Advanced CRISPR gene sequencing seems likely to enable complete genome sequencing.
Robotic automation with nanoscale control could enable genome sequencing to be very inexpensive.
Tens of billions to trillions of dollars will be gained by the companies that compete to improve CRISPR gene sequencing from cures for different diseases.
This scenario will enable a world of supergeniuses. Genetic optimization will also enable life spans in the 100-150 range even with limited radical extension via other means.
Supergenius is not required to solve problems and goals such as those below
* air and water pollution
* abundant energy (molten salt fission reactors, nuclear fusion)
* space access (resuable rockets, nuclear fusion space planes)
* advanced molecular nanotechnology
* quantum computers
Genetic Supergenius will result from genome engineering based upon the genetic science
1. Cognitive ability is highly heritable. At least half the variance is genetic in origin.
2. It is influenced by many (probably thousands) of common variants (see GCTA estimates of heritability due to common SNPs). We know there are many because the fewer there are the larger the (average) individual effect size of each variant would have to be. But then the SNPs would be easy to detect with small sample size.
Recent studies with large sample sizes detected ~70 SNP hits, but would have detected many more if effect sizes were consistent with, e.g., only hundreds of causal variants in total.
3. Since these are common variants the probability of having the negative variant — with (-) effect on g score — is not small (e.g., like 10% or more).
4. So each individual is carrying around many hundreds (if not thousands) of (-) variants.
5. As long as effects are roughly additive, we know that changing ALL or MOST of these (-) variants into (+) variants would push an individual many standard deviations (SDs) above the population mean. Such an individual would be far beyond any historical figure in cognitive ability.
Given more details we can estimate the average number of (-) variants carried by individuals, and how many SDs are up for grabs from flipping (-) to (+). As is the case with most domesticated plants and animals, we expect that the existing variation in the population allows for many SDs of improvement.
Chickens have become physically larger because of breeding and farming methods
Sequencing a few million people and analyzing the information and their medical records to determine the complete genetic is on track for solution by 2025. Tens of thousands of people have been sequenced already and it seems over 100,000 full genome sequences per year will be produced by 2020.
Molecular nanotechnology enhanced CRISPR would be available by 2040. CRISPR would already be able to make the genetic modifications but molecular nanotechnology could speed up the process and lower costs. High volume genome modification of adult cells could enable genetic improvement, enhancement and repair of adults.
The complete sequencing of the rest of biosphere would then be mined to understand other genetic modifications.
Complete genetic control and widespread usage scenario could be broadly realized in the 2050-2090 timeframe.
How this interacts with advanced nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, optical computing and other technology would be difficult to determine in advance with much useful detail.
For a start, the world could be full of companies like Google and biotech and internet startups. There could tens of millions of CEOs like Elon Musk and Steve Jobs.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.