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1 in 4 could change embryonic DNA to improve college prospects, study finds

1 in 4 could change embryonic DNA to improve college prospects, study finds


One in four Americans said they would change the DNA of their embryos if it made their future offspring more likely to attend a prestigious university. research.

And 4 in 10 said they would be more likely to screen their embryos if they could select a genetic mutation that would improve their child’s education.

According to a study published in the journal Science, younger generations under the age of 35 and those with college degrees use genetic modification or screening to increase their children’s odds of getting into the top 100 ranked colleges. Most likely to improve.

The findings suggest that a significant percentage of Americans are giving their children a head start on the highly controversial, largely unregulated, and in the case of gene editing, technology banned in many countries. I would happily suggest using it if you can.

The prospect of embryos being “manipulated” to do well in school may be horrifying to some, but in many ways the findings point towards a single model of what success might look like. It reflects the high-stakes nature of the education system.

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Gene editing such as CRISPR involves altering the DNA of an embryo and is not known to have been used in humans, except in an attempt to make three children in China resistant to AIDS.

Genetic screening, known as PGT-P, aims to predict the expected value of different phenotypes or traits in each embryo.

used for targeting Chromosomal abnormalities and traitsIt may be used to screen for Huntington’s disease, Down’s syndrome, and breast cancer. non-medical featuressuch as cognitive ability and educational background.

Geisinger, researchers at the University of Southern California, UCLA, the National Bureau of Economic Research, and Harvard University, conducted what is believed to be the first study of the intent to use this kind of genetic technology in this way. bottom.

They conducted a national survey of about 7,000 people and asked how likely their future children would be to use gene editing or screening if it improved their odds of getting into a top 100 college. .

The survey also asked participants about their SAT preparation courses as a benchmark for attitudes toward college admissions interventions.

Participants were asked to assume that each intervention was safe and free and that they had already undergone IVF for gene editing and screening.

They found that about 3% of high school students attended top 100 ranked colleges and using this intervention increased their child’s chances of attending a top ranked college from 3% to 5%. said to increase.

According to the survey, if gene editing improves offspring prospects, 28% are more likely to use gene editing than not to use it, and they are more likely to use PGT-P. 38% said they were more likely to use it than never, compared to 68% who did. Than without SAT prep.

Respondents were more likely to use each intervention if they were told that 90% of the people involved also used it than if they knew 90% of the people involved used it. I said expensive.

People under the age of 35 were at least as likely to use each intervention as those with a bachelor’s degree, they said.

‘These results may reflect the tendency of parents to mirror their educational achievements in the outcomes of their offspring,’ said the researchers.

The findings suggest that the use of genetic technology is not a particular problem, and that the history of attitudes towards in vitro fertilization suggests that even innovations that have encountered active resistance may soon be normalized. They said it shows that

“Our data suggest that PGT-P use, even with controversial traits, may be restricted to idiosyncratic individuals or may cause or contribute to change and injustice throughout society. It suggests that it would be unwise to assume that there are few,” they said. Added.

The risk of genetic technology perpetuating educational inequalities is particularly acute, and educated colleges are more likely to want to take advantage of the potential benefits it offers.

“Highly educated people’s interest in using PGT-P for this phenotype increases the risk that PGT-P exacerbates existing inequalities,” the researchers said.

“Over generations, the benefits from PGT-P can stack on top of each other, resulting in a socially favored phenotype being passed on to families, and given the cost of in-vitro fertilization, which is disproportionate. Equal family wealth transfers can be amplified.”

Researchers believe that public attitudes should be reflected in discussions about the use of genetic technology, but it is important to have a sustained national debate about the expected consequences and risks of embryo screening. claims.




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