For the next decade or two it will be far easier, cheaper and more effective to use gene sequencing to select the most intelligent embyro for test tube babies. Embryos are already having their genes sequenced to select against genetic diseases. It will be an easy step to gene sequence for intelligence and select on that genetic information. There are likely a few thousand genes that make up the genetic basis of intelligence.
Being able to genetically engineer intelligence in embyros will require modifying hundreds to thousands of genes. This will not be possibly with high degrees of accuracy and low error rates for several years. It could be easier to add genes to cells as DNA plasmids. Instead of editing the DNA of the cell just add desired genes as a small loop to enable constant production of the desired proteins in the body. Adding DNA would not need to be perfect, because failed additions would just mean only 90% of the cells had the modification but 10% had no change. This would be more forgiving than requiring all good edits.
The countries with more IVF and more genetic screening will likely be ahead in the use of intelligence selection of embryos and then with genetic engineering of embyros and adult for intelligence.
A Science fiction author Ted Chiang predicted a genetic editing competition to boost intelligence over the next few decades.
Effective embryo selection is nearing
The cost of embryo selection is modest, at $1500 + $200 per embryo, with the sequencing cost projected to drop rapidly. Embryo selection cost will drop in future.
The maximum amount of IQ gain if screening allowed for optimal selection
Chickens have become physically larger because of breeding and farming methods
In 2014, I gave a talk at Transhuman Visions in 2014 where I said older Tiger Moms would be the driver of early adoption of genetic intelligence enhancement after the lifting of the One child policy in China.
The United States’ utilization of IVF is substantially lower than that of other developed economies. The US performs far fewer IVF cycles per capita than most European countries and Japan.
Asia has the largest share of the IVF market in terms of the number of IVF cycles performed in 2018 due to the large target population, low cost of treatment as compared to developed regions, and availability of advanced technology. Japan, China, and India were the main markets.
China had more than 40 million patients with fertility problems in 2016. China forecast 25 percent of the population will be 60 or older by 2030, up from 13 percent in 2010.
By 2025, China should have about 1 million IVF births per year.
More than a half million babies are now born each year from IVF and ICSI from more than 2 million treatment cycles performed.
In Europe, Spain remains the most active country in assisted reproduction. In 2015, a record 119,875 treatment cycles were performed in Spain. In Europe Spain is ahead of Russia (110,723 cycles), Germany (96,512) and France (93.918).
IVF accounts for
1.5% of babies born in the U.S.
over 4% in Australia.
Denmark has 10% of babies from IVF
Overall, the slightly more than 200,000 IVF cycles we perform per year underserves the 7 million U.S. women with infertility.
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.
36 thoughts on “Test Tube Babies As Predictor of Future Intelligence Enhancement of Babies”
Remember when kids were so bored that they would do anything to spend time with their parents? There was a lot of knowledge transfer involved that is gone.
This is a very nice thought, but what if you are missing the playing field? Yes, intelligence is what got us here and will be the most important component in the future, but what if that is really only a small part of the story? We left the tribal ecology we developed in when we created the farms and cities of civilization. We need to adapt to this new ecology both genetically and strategically. Intelligence is only a small part of that. That is especially true because of other changes. We face a genetic disaster because we’ve unbalanced the mutation rate and the rate of natural selection. Older parents have far more mutations while smaller families, medicine and other things we call “human progress” have reduced the natural selection rate. We will develop an unsustainable genetic load and 15% of couples are now infertile. Using gene tech to just increase intelligence will be useless in the face of the genetic load. What you describe here is basically pre-implanatation artificial selection… for intelligence. What will be required though is artificial selection to replace natural selection, a far more general effect. Selecting for intelligence will be important but really only secondary to selecting against various broken genes and de novo mutations. Selecting for intelligence sounds good, but we should select for children to inherit all the best genes of both parents. For a more complete discussion see Genetics For A New Human Ecology – https://www.amazon.com/dp/1544900996
Far less than a problem pregnancy…
The horrors of the Holocaust and Dr. Joseph Mengele https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/josef-mengele or Medical experiments such as The Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the African American https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuskegee_syphilis_experiment
are not conspiracy theories. I will not even go into what the Soviet Union did to it’s people. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_biological_weapons_program
Arguing with a conspiracy theorist nut is useless. It’s a mental disease.
And there lies the problem.
Once one country allows this, the cats out the bag
Think Dr. Joseph Mengele (Not Fiction)besides Birth Defects caused by Thalidomide. What about Fluoride in the Drinking Water. Then there is Toxoplasmosis.
1) up to 15 eggs can be collected with a cycle at around £ 5000 cost
This lead me to think the cost of 1:10 selection is about $10K/child (before pregnancy). This is about what the US schooling system spend yearly for a child (and Europe is in the same ballpark).
If the 10% smarter do embryo selection they could get children around the 1% smarter level.
Given assortative mating (stupid breeds with stupid and doesn’t care about the IQ of their children) we should see some interesting evolution.
Brian should write something about the Total Cost of Embryo Selection:
1) Cost of gathering eggs from the lady (???)
2) Cost of gathering sperm from the guy (negligible?)
3) Cost of producing embryos (???)
4) Cost of sequencing embryos (???)
5) Cost of comparing embryos (???)
6) Cost of pregnancy (same as)
To optimize the production of genetically selected babies:
1) clone the best embryos so, if the first attempt go wrong , there are more attempt available
2) implant at least two embryos at time, so the chance of getting one baby born is increased.
Arguing bringing fiction as support is worthless.
Being able to remember 10 of your previous sexual encounters, instead of today’s standard memory limit of 2.
A couple of gay ladies here picked a maths whizz sperm donor. The kid is freaky smart – top of the country in maths. Seems well adjusted too.
There is a whole genre of horror movies about that or “Something they put in the Water”. Think Dr. Joseph Mengele.
How would you define intelligence x5 of what we have now ?
This article is about genetic engineering.
This article is for IFV’s. Look for my answer in the next article for the one about CRISPR.
Having trouble with the concept of genetic engineering for ADULTS? Seems you are stuck on IFVs
Wow, if I knew you were so sensitive I would not have talked to you. Sorry, I am used to talking to my 13 year old grandchildren but they are fairly mature emotionally.
I don’t know. Sounds like you know him. So tell me.
It hadn’t been You cannot handle a pet at all with your low IQ. Your lowly abusive brain has not been edited yet.
Get all IFV’s children and be as happy with your smart choice.
Different strokes for different folks.
This will be done to adults. Wold you be a moron, if you were to get the shot involuntarily?
Just scrolling through and looking at the pictures, my first thought is we don’t need super-intelligent chickens.
Reading it, I believe this won’t be allowed most places, people being how they are (mostly ignorant and willing to be bamboozled by those that will turn the issue into soundbites to further their political or religious aims).
Medical tourism is a real thing however, and it only takes one country to say hokey dokey. I believe there are several countries that would willingly go whole hog on this.
It would be worrisome if someone somewhere was trying to create Khan and his minions from Star Trek. Either way, it’s probably a moot point. My guess is man-machine interfaces will completely eclipse this kind of technology in any kind of intellectual arms race.
I have recently written the script “Frankenbaby” about a genetically improved baby who later in life begins eating people like Hannibal Lecter. Since Frankenbaby doesn’t consider itself part of humanity, the creature doesn’t consider eating people as cannibalism.
If you really don’t want to when the time comes, seriously you can be my pet. While I will easily manipulate you into doing my bidding I will care for you and treat you like a king.(dog) 🙂
I am sure that’s what a cro magnon man would have said. 🙂 Had he been smart enough to say it,
So the children will be Enhanced intelligence Morons because they have their heads in Facebook, Twitter of stead of Books.
Somewhere, Yogi Berra is smiling at your turn of phrase.
Only an Idiot would want to zap his genes to become smarter.
Maybe it would be safer to “just” replace one complete chromosome pair. Still at least a 96% match to parents (actually far higher), so it won’t seem quite as big a deal for parents concerned about that.
Presumably it will not have as big an impact, but for best results one might sequence the entire genome in order to pick the best choice for replacement and the best replacement pair from some number of candidates.
Your right that’s why genetic engineering will be done to adults. I am sure you have a answer like how saunas and yoga will do the same thing. Making you live forever and 5X times your intelligence.
Sounds great but so does absence to stop HIV but it’s not going to happen. Enhanced intelligence WILL happen in the near future.
IVFs are not conceived with the energy of love and are weak and sick to the bone. In the final analysis we are not a sum of tangible electro chemical reactions and this is why improving our chemistry will always fail in creating the miracles we hope. Of course there will always be observable materialistic explanations for the failure….
This is totally useless unless the parents spend quality time with their children and educate them on how to be a proper person that can raise the next generation to be proper people. Stop using the TV, internet as baby sitters. Read a book to them every night. Read stories to them during the day. Go to Parks, Museums and real live shows such as Opera, Jazz, Concerts, et cetera. When they in school help them with their homework of stead of being on Facebook, Twitter and other social media.
Finally, It sounds like people are beginning to understand! The most important trait in people is intelligence. The most important breakthrough in all of science is the enhancement of that intelligence in ALL of us thru genetic engineering. It won’t be easy because of the complexity of genes involved and the fact than some of those genes very between individuals. But none the less that complexity can be mastered with quantum supercomputers in the near future.
I am 72 years old and would like to see life extension development rather quickly but I understand intelligence enhancement should be the priority of the planet. With a intelligence enhancement of 5X or more we could quickly solve all the problems we face now. Including climate change, longevity with health, fusion, and food and shelter for all.
In other words a utopia.
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