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Can Embryos Determine College Aptitude?

We have the technology, but embryo aptitude testing sits in an ethical gray area for many.

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If you liked the movie GATTACA, we’ve got a story for you. According to a recent MIT Technology Review article, a  survey of US adults found that 40% would likely test their IVF embryos for intellectual aptitude. The research, published in the journal Science, showed surprisingly strong support for such tests, which are viewed as risky and controversial by ethicists and gene scientists. While one company in the US, Genomic Prediction, already markets embryo prediction tests, these only offer scores for a child’s likelihood of developing common diseases such as schizophrenia or diabetes later in life.

The authors of the study suggest a need for clear policies on the use of embryo tests for selecting genetic traits such as intelligence, as the technology will inevitably become more widely available. They also warn that the use of such tests could result in further inequality in society, as only certain socioeconomic groups will be able to afford them, exacerbating existing inequalities. In addition, the tests could perpetuate negative stereotypes and biases against people with lower scores, leading to further discrimination. The authors also call for closer scrutiny of companies that offer such tests to ensure they are not making false or exaggerated claims.

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