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Chinese Clinic Uses DNA Tests To Predict Kids' Talents

Soulskill posted about 5 years ago | from the this-one-will-be-a-level-80-death-knight dept.

Biotech 98

Death Metal writes with this excerpt from CNN: "About 30 children aged 3 to 12 years old and their parents are participating in a new program that uses DNA testing to identify genetic gifts and predict the future. ... The test is conducted by the Shanghai Biochip Corporation. Scientists claim a simple saliva swab collects as many as 10,000 cells that enable them to isolate eleven different genes. By taking a closer look at the genetic codes, they say they can extract information about a child's IQ, emotional control, focus, memory, athletic ability and more. For about $880, Chinese parents can sign their kids up for the test and five days of summer camp in Chongqing, where the children will be evaluated in various settings from sports to art. The scientific results, combined with observations by experts throughout the week, will be used to make recommendations to parents about what their child should pursue."

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This sounds like a movie I've seen.... (1)

Elenseel (1510087) | about 5 years ago | (#29073835)

Much like Gattaca.

Re:This sounds like a movie I've seen.... (1)

fractoid (1076465) | about 5 years ago | (#29075581)

Wow, I bet you post in every "WAR ROBOTS: Remote Controlled Cars With Guns" thread about Skynet and Cyberdyne.

Ah, who am I kidding? The first thing I thought when I read the heading on TFS was "damn, I need to watch that movie again".

Re:This sounds like a movie I've seen.... (1)

kheldan (1460303) | about 5 years ago | (#29084127)

Mod parent up! See the movie if you haven't; what that movie shows you is potentially where this is going, especially in the case of China where individual rights and freedom of expression aren't important.

Warning! (-1, Redundant)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about 5 years ago | (#29073843)

Warning! Warning! You are entering dangerous waters!

Re:Warning! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29074947)

Redundant? What the fuck are you smoking? First post, stating something not in summary, slammed with redundant. I'd assume it's cause other people said it. But aren't they the redundant ones if they're not first? I get not modding up for "not being substantial". But mod down as redundant? I'm gonna be more careful when I get mod points to make sure you morons don't pull the same stupid shit on someone else.

And it's only a small step from testing... (2)

orngjce223 (1505655) | about 5 years ago | (#29073853)

It's only a small step from testing for these purported genes in kids, to testing for 'em in embryo bits. Then we get eugenics and kid selection, and surprise, there's a superhuman race inheriting the earth. *shrug* I think we all know how these things go.

Re:And it's only a small step from testing... (1, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | about 5 years ago | (#29073953)

"Certainly, the eugenistic and racial ideologies that in the past humiliated man and provoked immense suffering are not being proposed again, but a new mentality is creeping in that tends to justify a different consideration of life and personal dignity . . . The tendency, therefore, is to give precedence to the active faculties, to proficiency, to physical perfection and beauty, to the detriment of other dimensions of existence that are not thought to matter. This weakens the respect that is due to every human being, even in the presence of a developmental defect or a genetic illness that could be manifested at some point in his life . . "

Or even if you're just not genetically "perfect," you misshapen worthless drags on society's productivity. [www.cbc.ca]

-- Pope Benedict XVI, with regards to human dignity in the face of genetic enhancement technology
(cue the kneejerk ad-hominem anti-Catholic/papal tangent.... again...)

Re:And it's only a small step from testing... (4, Funny)

keeboo (724305) | about 5 years ago | (#29074027)

It's only a small step from testing for these purported genes in kids, to testing for 'em in embryo bits. Then we get eugenics and kid selection, and surprise, there's a superhuman race inheriting the earth. *shrug* I think we all know how these things go.

KHAAAAAAN!!!

Re:And it's only a small step from testing... (1)

Phoghat (1288088) | about 5 years ago | (#29082299)

Enter ob;ogatory "Midichloridian" joke here

Re:And it's only a small step from testing... (2, Funny)

TheSpoom (715771) | about 5 years ago | (#29074811)

All this means is that Star Trek is right, again. And I thought we'd avoid the eugenics wars. :^(

Where's time-travelling Jean Luc Picard when you need him?

Re:And it's only a small step from testing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29075407)

Not to mention, shades of "Gattica"...

See it now, before it's too late...(actually, it probably already is too late...sigh...)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119177/ [imdb.com]

Re:And it's only a small step from testing... (0)

b4upoo (166390) | about 5 years ago | (#29075421)

Current medical care in the US already involves eugenics. The less popular class (the poor) are denied decent medical care under the banner of economics. That kills off the poor to some degree just as things like miserable prisons, lack of mental health facilities and states that offer zero dental care for seniors, lack of public housing, transportation etc.. Then there are additional policies that support eugenics such as allowing gun stores and liquor stores to infest ghetto areas with the store owners using the excuse of low rent and high product demand meanwhile killing off large numbers of less than popular races.

Re:And it's only a small step from testing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29075975)

Well done.

Re:And it's only a small step from testing... (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 5 years ago | (#29076049)

Current medical care in the US already involves eugenics. .... That kills off the poor to some degree just as things like miserable prisons, lack of mental health facilities and states that offer zero dental care for seniors, lack of public housing, transportation etc..

Seems to be working really well doesn't it? Concept Fail.

If you were really thinking hard, you might consider these sorts of negative things as merely selecting the 'less successful' members of this 'underclass' so you would create evolutionary pressure for a 'super underclass' or whatever, better suited for this unpleasant environment.

While the whole concept is silly, if you want to espouse it, at least read up on who the evolutionary process works.

Re:And it's only a small step from testing... (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 5 years ago | (#29076069)

"how" the evolutionary response works.

Nature just hates it when you anthropomorphise her.

Re:And it's only a small step from testing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29081215)

Nature just hates it when you anthropomorphise her.

you mean it, not her.

Re:And it's only a small step from testing... (1)

Surt (22457) | about 5 years ago | (#29075997)

It's the only way we'll have a shot at defeating the aliens, so we really better get with the program.

Opening my own DNA Oracle here (1)

moon3 (1530265) | about 5 years ago | (#29076381)

For a discount price of $500 (first 1000 entrants only).

/s

Re:And it's only a small step from testing... (1)

mikiN (75494) | about 5 years ago | (#29080201)

That's one small step for man, a giant leap for the Greys [closely-encountered.com] .

Re:And it's only a small step from testing... (1)

kheldan (1460303) | about 5 years ago | (#29084145)

Are you kidding? China wouldn't use eugenics techniques to create a super-race, they'd more likely create a race of more docile people!

Achievement at all costs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29073855)

Wont be long now until their obsession with "achievement at all costs" leads the Chinese to start genetically engineering their kids.

Re:Achievement at all costs (2, Insightful)

Nathrael (1251426) | about 5 years ago | (#29076509)

Which would be a good thing. Why wait thousands of years for humans to evolve (if at all - it's not the super intelligent scientists and other successful people who have the most kids, quite the contrary) if you could make the jump right now, with much more impact? And I wouldn't even worry too much about the transition phase and conflicts between modified and unmodified people too much either - if we can genetically engineer unborn humans today, we can genetically engineer and otherwise modify already living humans tomorrow.

Re:Achievement at all costs (3, Insightful)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | about 5 years ago | (#29076719)

Which would be a good thing. Why wait thousands of years for humans to evolve (if at all - it's not the super intelligent scientists and other successful people who have the most kids, quite the contrary)

You assume genetics is the only determinant of intelligence.

if you could make the jump right now, with much more impact?

For the same reason you don't hand an oxyacetylene torch (or administrator access to a company network) to a five-year-old and ask why he should wait until he's an adult to start learning marketable skills. We still don't know enough about genetics to start testing for more than a handful of things, and definitely don't know enough to start tweaking things in a living, thinking human being. Trying it now is just driving nails with a wrecking ball.

GATTACA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29073869)

Seriously did anyone else see the resemblance?

Re:GATTACA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29074219)

Resemblance is a pretty weak word here. I'd say it's more of a "how to get there".

I wonder how long it will take until genetic reviews become mandatory for jobs. Then again the "elite" are mostly inbred retards who inherited their positions, so they might not actually be in favour of this. Unless of course if you can buy genetic engineering to enhance your score.

Good thing I'll be dead when this gets the norm.

Re:GATTACA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29075979)

Only the 20 people who posted the same thing before you did and the 80 people afterwards. Oh and the gattaca taggers did too.

Obvious bullshit (4, Insightful)

Daemonax (1204296) | about 5 years ago | (#29073871)

they say they can extract information about a child's IQ

A quick scan over the summary and spotting that set off my bullshit alarms. The genes that go in to shaping someones intelligence and IQ are likely to be multitude, and we have virtually no idea how the genes, working together, come to influence ones IQ.

Re:Obvious bullshit (3, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 5 years ago | (#29074305)

I think actually the actual small nugget of truth these tests are going to be based off of is going to be something very similar to the following:

The little bit of DNA they sequenced, once through, was more similar to a musician's and most dissimilar to an architect, so that "indicates" he would be best as a musician. Over the course of the summer camp, he was told repeatedly that he wanted to play music rather than draw buildings, and rewarded for learning to play a little something to convince his parents that he actually had talent and they didn't waste their money.

The whole genome will not be sequenced in any case, and there obviously won't be any attempt to do anything besides correlation. They haven't identified anything like a "musical talent" gene, it's all pure correlations.

It's going to be a slightly more technical version of Japan's blood type = personality fortunetelling [thegreatgeekmanual.com] or good old fashioned phrenology [wikipedia.org] . Although, anyone I talked to about it in Tokyo regarded the blood types as we would regard horoscopes: with a grain of salt. It seems to really continue as a novelty, and only is around because it's so cheap to identify your blood type. Shelling out $880 for the equivalent? I doubt this pseudoscience crap is going to take off, at least until they offer sequencing and comparisons for cheaper.

Re:Obvious bullshit (2, Funny)

The Wooden Badger (540258) | about 5 years ago | (#29074583)

That's interesting, but it will really have better accuracy in telling if the musician who provided to DNA sample had previously provided a meiotic DNA sample to a groupie.

Re:Obvious bullshit (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 5 years ago | (#29075195)

The problem with this is that this is done at the early childhood, and decisions about the child's education will be based on this. Thus, it has the great danger of getting a self-fulfilling prophecy: They predict that children with a certain genetic pattern will have a better chance to be good musicians, in response to this those children get better musical education, which increases their chance to be good musicians afterwards. The same goes with science etc.

Re:Obvious bullshit (1)

DrVenture (1618755) | about 5 years ago | (#29076011)

Which is the real reason behind the "testing". What better way to make sure there is a steady stream of factory workers then to tell parents that is the best future profession for their child?

Re:Obvious bullshit (1)

stockard (1431131) | about 5 years ago | (#29075891)

There's already a company [atlasgene.com] in Boulder, Colorado that tests kids' DNA for a "sports" gene. Apparently there is some sort of link between the ATCN3 gene and athletic ability (like running speed or endurance). This just looks like they're looking at other genes that have a tenuous association with other abilities. That being said, even an overall sports ability is probably based on more than just that gene, so I don't think any of these types of tests are detailed enough to give much of a good result. There was also an article about Atlas Gene in the NY Times [nytimes.com] last year.

Re:Obvious bullshit (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29074505)

I agree that they probably will not (yet) have an idea over how the genes influence IQ, but that doesn't mean they can't correlate genes with IQ. In fact, it's already been done ... On average, Ashkenazi Jews and most Asians have higher IQs than non-Jewish Caucasians[1], and specific genes have been correlated with higher IQ. For instance The DTNBP1 and CHRM2 have already been studied[2]

I could go on with more sources of other genes and relevant studies ...

The hapmap project may be of interest: http://www.hapmap.org/

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashkenazi_intelligence
[2] http://www.behavioralandbrainfunctions.com/content/3/1/19

Re:Obvious bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29080389)

"[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashkenazi_intelligence"

Go "scientific" studies with tiny sample, go!

All heil the new uberrace!

Re:Obvious bullshit (1)

minorgroove (1278070) | about 5 years ago | (#29074603)

They mention in the article they are examining 11 different genes out of over twenty thousand in the whole genome. Obviously they are not concerned with what those genes actually do, but only that certain variants may correlate with improved performance sometimes. The best estimates of heritability of intelligence are somewhere from 30% to 50% genetic, meaning at least half of the variation in intelligence is due to environmental factors or multiple gene interactions.

Why it works ... (2, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | about 5 years ago | (#29074871)

If your parents are stupid enough to pay for this, you're obviously from the shallow end of the gene pool as well, though you can be assured that the parents will ALL be told that their kids are above average - which is a statistical impossibility in a large-enough sample, but hey, there's one born every minute ... or in China's case 34.69 every minute*

* 1,330,044,544 / 1000 * 13.71 / 365 / 24 / 60 (chinese pop / 1000 / birth rate per thousand per annum / 365 days / 24 hours / 60 minutes :-)

Re:Why it works ... (1)

skeeto (1138903) | about 5 years ago | (#29108131)

the parents will ALL be told that their kids are above average - which is a statistical impossibility

Not impossible. Example: most people have more than the average number of legs.

Re:Why it works ... (1)

tomhudson (43916) | about 5 years ago | (#29111855)

... but most people don't have more than the median number of legs ... :-)

... and IQ scores aren't limited to 3 options (0, 1, or 2).

Besides, my point was that only the more stupid would fall for this scam - so there is no way their kids are all going to be above average.

Re:Why it works ... (1)

skeeto (1138903) | about 5 years ago | (#29112761)

Yeah, it didn't make a difference to your point. Just being annoyingly pedantic. :-P

Re:Obvious bullshit (3, Insightful)

magarity (164372) | about 5 years ago | (#29075485)

set off my bullshit alarms
 
I've been living in China for the past year and I can tell you Chinese parents have no bullshit alarms when it comes to anything that any huckster is selling to improve their one child's chances. A tiny percentage get into college and then a fraction of those are able to land college requiring jobs. Anything promising to give them an edge is bought up.

Re:Obvious bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29077323)

come to America and all you need is about 7k and time to go to college. City college of course not private.

Re:Obvious bullshit (1)

Daemonax (1204296) | about 5 years ago | (#29079143)

Indeed. When I was living in Fuzhou in Fujian, there was a lot of credulity everywhere unfortunately. There was a recent survey I read about on the BBC that was done in China that come out saying that Chinese people trust "chickens" (I'll assume you know what that means) more than scientists and politicians. This kind of bullshit just gives them more reason to not trust scientists.

Re:Obvious bullshit (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 5 years ago | (#29080361)

Whaaaat? What China are you living in? Kids can get into college - actually the problem is a vast pool of college graduates who can't find jobs. Getting into the best colleges is hard, but that's hard anywhere. A "tiny percentage"...maybe you live way out in the rural where kids are stupid.

Re:Obvious bullshit (1)

quotationspage (1618829) | about 5 years ago | (#29081393)

"You are a product of your environment." --Clement Stone

Re:Obvious bullshit (1)

Surt (22457) | about 5 years ago | (#29076027)

And probably more importantly, we do know, with numerous studies, that for all popularized tests, IQ is more than 90% training determined and not genetic.

Re:Obvious bullshit (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29076909)

And probably more importantly, we do know, with numerous studies, that for all popularized tests, IQ is more than 90% training determined and not genetic.

This is simply not true. IQ has shown to have little variance from about ages 5 - 60, but does decline in the late stages of life. In other words, if you are tested at age 8, you should be in the same percentile as when you are tested again at age 20. Your "trained knowledge" can indeed increase as you get older, but since IQ is a normalized score, your percentile does not vary significantly.

Re:Obvious bullshit (1)

oni (41625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29145499)

citation needed

Pygmalion Effect (5, Insightful)

HockeyPuck (141947) | about 5 years ago | (#29073881)

Nicely done China, you have discovered the well documented Pygmalion Effect. [wikipedia.org] This is so common in society. For example, in Chinese culture there is significant attention paid to the oldest son. He's expected to do better, to succeed and eventually become wealthy. So he's encouraged. This encouragement and positive reinforcement can cause the child to succeed. Whereas other children are not given the same expectations and relatively do poorer.

So you these people will take their kid to this clinic, who will say, "this kid should become a scientist." Then the parents will do whatever it takes to make the kid a scientist. Possibly ignoring the signs that he/she might be attuned to being a musician or artist.

In other news... Looks like the Chinese have also watched and decided to implement in real life the movie Gattaca [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Pygmalion Effect (1, Troll)

djupedal (584558) | about 5 years ago | (#29073979)

Load 'of crap....didn't you ever go to the counselor in school and have an aptitude test? Stop beating up on another culture just because they've found a different way to do something your culture did when you were a child...

Re:Pygmalion Effect (1)

cobraR478 (1416353) | about 5 years ago | (#29074023)

I can't speak for the original poster, but I've never had an aptitude test. I've never actually heard of people doing that outside of TV show plots.

Re:Pygmalion Effect (1)

bennomatic (691188) | about 5 years ago | (#29074111)

I remember taking them. They said I should be either a fashion photographer or a priest. And amazingly enough, I'm both now!

Joking aside, they were a little silly, but the introduction of genetics is a little scary.

It used to be, once upon a time, that you had to list your parents names and occupations when applying for a job. If you were trying to be a banker and your father was a miller, good luck to ya.

Re:Pygmalion Effect (2, Funny)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 5 years ago | (#29074477)

So YOU'RE the guy making those "sexy nun" pictures on the interwebs?

Re:Pygmalion Effect (2, Interesting)

pjt33 (739471) | about 5 years ago | (#29074621)

The careers department at my school gave us all a questionnaire to fill out when we were 17. The results were pretty much exactly what I expected them to be, so it was a waste of time.

Re:Pygmalion Effect (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | about 5 years ago | (#29074119)

Those aptitude tests are just as much a load of crap.

Re:Pygmalion Effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29074795)

Not if you do them at the right time. You can tell what a person should be doing with surprising accuracy just by observing them between age twelve and, say, thirty-two.

(Myself excluded; I'm thirty-two.)

Re:Pygmalion Effect (1)

cbraescu1 (180267) | about 5 years ago | (#29074317)

Families part of the Chinese urban population nowadays most likely have only one child. No, there is no Pygmalion effect, just a very natural effect of having to ensure the genes of *two* people (aka "parents") have the best chances to be perpetuated later.

I can only imagine what the Chinese will do to increase their only offspring 10-15 years from now, when their GDP would be double as a nation (but most likely 3-4 times bigger for the same urban sample).

Re:Pygmalion Effect (2, Informative)

justinlee37 (993373) | about 5 years ago | (#29074391)

This has nothing to do with the "one child" policy. The Pygmalion effect is the part where when the doctors say "this child has the genes to succeed," it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy due to psychology, and that child's success due to the prophecy will in turn support the doctors' original assertion that the genes are related to success, statistically! There are lies, damned lies, and statistics, as they say.

If everyone believed it you could start just predicting that redheads would be smarter than all children and the pygmalion effect might take hold.

Re:Pygmalion Effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29074321)

there is significant attention paid to the oldest son.

Perhaps that is because of the One-child policy [wikipedia.org] ...

Re:Pygmalion Effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29074373)

Nope, traditionally it has always been the oldest son to take most filial works, one child or not.

Re:Pygmalion Effect (1)

slash.duncan (1103465) | about 5 years ago | (#29074415)

That was /close/ to my feeling as well, only...

What has surprised me is that nobody is congratulating these guys on being great capitalists! They've found a very clever way to separate people from their money, while providing at least /some/ real value, so they're not so quickly seen as simple scammers.

Here's what I see happening, and what it seems most have missed, here. They're doing a several day summer camp -- only they're selling it as MORE than that -- and, if their advice isn't taken to extremes, it won't do any harm (the kids are having a good time at camp, according to TFA), and /could/ be somewhat beneficial. The genetic testing and aptitude evaluation is simply their hook, something no other camp has, thus the reason to choose them (and thus the reason they can charge more) as opposed to the others.

Think of it this way. Yes, there's not much positive predictive value in those genetic tests... yet. However, what they're /really/ doing is observing the kids during the camp and seeing what they like to do, if they're more interested in sports or computers, video games or crafts, how outgoing they are, etc. This very likely forms the basis for the majority of their guidance.

But more or less any camp can do that, if they aren't already in a one-child thus very competitive society, with a bit more training and observation. If one camp's able to charge extra for it, pretty soon they'll all be doing it and the one won't have its formerly unique hook, any longer.

So, they throw in the genetics testing as well. Probably they screen for a few simple things, Down Syndrome, etc, even tho if something was really wrong it would likely be obvious from the behavior. But this way if something shows up, they can throw it in too. Otherwise, not so much. But they /did/ mention screening for known height genes for, say basketball players. Yeah, food and environment plays a big part too, but again, they're observing the kids at camp for several days too, and if they're already fat slobs at 3-5 years old, they're probably not going to emphasize basketball even if the kid /does/ have a height marker or two.

So anyway, at the end of the five-ish days, they have a fair idea what the kid is interested in, and probably emphasize that. Then they throw the genetic stuff in for good measure, but very possibly fill in a lot more than is actually there, much like a crystal ball or palm reader, by simply being observant and basing their "genetics report" on that.

So the kids have a great time at camp. The camp staff observe them and tell the parents what the kids enjoy. The parents are happy to pay for the camp and service and the kids are happy with it too, and the camp has its hook to set it apart from all the other camps out there and make some extra money in the process!

Then, as you said, the Pygmalion effect kicks in, and since the parents got told that the kids are good at what they enjoy in the first place, they're encouraged to do what they already enjoy, and "what-ju-know", a few years down the road, the camp has a name for itself for predicting so well! =:^)

Of course, at 3 years old, there's probably a limit to how precise they can get in truth, but they may be able to give some guidance, and I'm sure they can convince parents who already want to believe that there's a good reason to bring the youngest back in a few years, perhaps getting them three times in the 9 years 3-12 that's covered, or even every year, for fine tuning as they grow!

So yes, it /could/ be bad, but I don't necessarily see it as bad given what was presented. It looks much more like just another hook, another unique bit of sales material that sets them apart from the other camps, and particularly since it /is/ coupled with the behavioral observation at a several days' camp, and because it /is/ a camp the kids will (and do, according to TFA) enjoy, I see it as likely just as beneficial as any other summer camp could be -- at minimum -- and potentially a bit more so -- again, PROVIDED the parents don't get psychotic about it, but then, if they were going to do that, they'd likely be doing it anyway, and there's at least SOME chance that at minimum, the kids get away from that over-driving parental force for a few days, and MAYBE, just MAYBE, the camp's advice will be able to steer the parents into at least driving the kid toward something they want, not something the parents THINK they should want.

So at least given what's in the summary and in the article, I see no reason why this has to be bad at all -- in fact, it could have pretty good results. Of course, there's no way we have enough detail to know for sure either way, but it's certainly not necessarily the doom and gloom that so many folks here seem to think it is, at least not based on the facts as presented in either the summary or TFA itself.

Re:Pygmalion Effect (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 5 years ago | (#29074471)

this kid should become a scientist." Then the parents will do whatever it takes to make the kid a scientist.

Which creates the funny situation wherein the child may actually become a succesfull scientist and than might have to disspell this pseudoscience even though it "predicted" his own future correctly.

Re:Pygmalion Effect (1)

Important Remark (1604945) | about 5 years ago | (#29074713)

in Chinese culture there is significant attention paid to the oldest son.

What would you expect under a one child policy? That they pay more attention to their dog?

Unlikely... (1)

Bob54321 (911744) | about 5 years ago | (#29073933)

We do not know enough (or anything for the sceptics...) about the actual genes that control these traits, so I doubt this test is any more efficient than just examining the parents phenotype and predicting based on that. In fact, given they are stupid enough to think they can predict better, they probably are doing worse...

bumpersticker on soccer mom's suv... (3, Funny)

djupedal (584558) | about 5 years ago | (#29073947)

"My kid has better genes than yours and I can prove it..."

Re:bumpersticker on soccer mom's suv... (1)

Dodder (1410959) | about 5 years ago | (#29105511)

Or "My child is a GACT student."

Um. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29073963)

"It is fair to say many of the kids in Chongqing looked like they were having fun, whether they were jumping on ping pong tables, drawing or playing interactive games."

Jumping ON them doesn't seem to be the correct use of ping-pong tables.

This sounds like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29074025)

something that Solid and Liquid Snake would argue endlessly about. Whether it'd be genes or DNA.

Refining the process (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29074047)

The sooner they know, the sooner they can ship them off to (insert Olympic sport) camp for the rest of their childhood.

Problem is: Talents are not based on genetics. (2, Informative)

Hurricane78 (562437) | about 5 years ago | (#29074071)

I remember reading a big article in the German science magazine "Spektrum der Wissenschaft", that there is no such thing as innate talent.

They tried to find out, what made geniuses geniuses. And they found, that it's not relevant what you were born with.

What is relevant, is to keep yourself in proper balance between choosing too hard and too easy tasks to grow from. The closer this balance is to your abilities, the faster your abilities will grow. I can also say from my own experience, that it's true.

The other factor is, to be able to structure your thoughts and knowledge. Even for sports.
For example in chess, a beginner would try to keep the position of every figure in his mind,
While an advanced player might store the same state as "the Someguy move" with "the Otherguy variation" and "this pawn is advanced one field".
And a masterful player would most likely think of it as "the Fooguy setup" with "the Barguy move" and "this pawn doing the Bazguy-style attack".
So you put your thoughts into sets that fit in one of the eight (on average) short-term memory "registers" you have. And to create many associations in your long-term memory, so you can quickly get to many related things.

That's all there is to geniuses. So whatever someone told you about you being unable to do: As long as it is still physically possible (i.e. you're not 75 and trying to win an Olympic medal for 100m running), you can do it!

Re:Problem is: Talents are not based on genetics. (3, Interesting)

misexistentialist (1537887) | about 5 years ago | (#29075433)

So are you a genius yet? Most people have inadequate memory and computational capacity to come even close to genius. And even if they did, they would still lack additional brain specializations like linguistic ability, spatial visualization, etc. that true genius requires. It's true that with time anyone can develop expertise--and this will put them above most of the rest of the lazy morons--but the average person still will be a golden retriever in comparison to exceptional individuals. I suspect that magazine using a weak definition of genius-- Bill Gates, for example, rather than Hegel.

Re:Problem is: Talents are not based on genetics. (0, Troll)

inviolet (797804) | about 5 years ago | (#29075583)

I remember reading a big article in the German science magazine "Spektrum der Wissenschaft", that there is no such thing as innate talent.

They tried to find out, what made geniuses geniuses. And they found, that it's not relevant what you were born with.

Scientists cannot discover knowledge precluded by their own philosophy. Germany has long labored under Sceptical philosophy which is not comfortable with objectivity, or superiority, or for that matter any value judgments at all. So take their finding with a whole shaker full of salt.

To wit: what criteria did they use to select 'genius'? Did they allow themselves to factor in, or even consider, impolite elements like standardized test scores? What about taboo elements like race and gender? How many non-geniuses had to be mixed into the alleged pool of geniuses in order to satisfy their need for anti-superiority and political correctness?

Nobody who professes a Sceptical/Leftist desire for "equality of outcomes", or who found the willpower to believe in the cognitive equality of the races, should be allowed to oversee such investigations.

Re:Problem is: Talents are not based on genetics. (1)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | about 5 years ago | (#29076459)

Germany has long labored under Sceptical philosophy which is not comfortable with objectivity, or superiority, or for that matter any value judgments at all.

Yeah, whatever, I'm just glad they aren't doing what they did the last time they thought about "objectivity" or "superiority" or "value judgments".

I seriously doubt this (1)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | about 5 years ago | (#29077355)

I mean ok this is an annecdote an all but lets use me as an example. I almost didn't graduate from college because I couldn't pass the foreign language requirement. My school pretty much insists that there is no such thing as being bad at languages and that everybody can do it and it always benefits people who take it.(I don't know if they're just wrong or lying through their teeth.) The fact I could take the same course multiple times, fail repeatedly, and actually do worse the more I studied suggests that no, some people actually don't have a talent for it despite what they think. (Since you'd think the more I worked at it the better I'd do which didn't happen. For what it's worth I only managed to graduate when I got to take the reading version of the course. Yes I passed that one on the first try. Actually I should have just cheated to pass the course but some of us were naive and idealistic when we were young.) It's weird since I've taken and done well in physics and chem which are considered hard.(Yet that course was not considered particularly intellectually difficult.)

Smart drugs, Viagra and gene therapy.... (3, Interesting)

TheNarrator (200498) | about 5 years ago | (#29074131)

Ok this sounds a bit like B.S. Besides, being more of a trans-humanist I look forward to a future where we can modify our bodies to posses any of the biochemical advantages that are today delivered by genetics. Look at something like Viagra. Before it came along people thought that not being able to get a stiffy was all in one's mind. Now anyone of any age can get one without having to read a ton of self-help books and years of Freudian psychoanalysis B.S. It will be hard for people to accept but the same thing will probably soon happen with athletic ability and intelligence. Soon the dream of everyone becoming what they dreamed of being but never had the natural ability to do will be realized. It will still take hard work, but at least it will be possible and those with genetic gifts will move up to an as yet undreamed of level of human potential.

Re:Smart drugs, Viagra and gene therapy.... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29074261)

You forgot to add a little something: if they can pay for it. Exactly what today's societies need, more money-based discrimination to increase the divide between richt and poor. But I guess China and the US won't have any problems with that. The one because surpassing others is their holy grail and the other because people without money are real humans anyway.

I wonder which sci-fi story will be this issue's 1984. GATTACA really lends itself to it.

Re:Smart drugs, Viagra and gene therapy.... (1)

inKubus (199753) | about 5 years ago | (#29074993)

China is really the perfect place for this type of research. Relatively isolated genetic population, huge population to sample from, totalitarian government to keep it all under control. If this is what they are making public, imagine what their military is working on.

don't knock it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29074151)

Scoff now. But when China has that army of well-adjusted, talent-nurtured super kids, who's the one who is gonna be laughing?

high tech is the new make believe éç' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29074187)

"For about $880 ... children will be evaluated in various settings from sports to art."

The DNA test is just a cover to make the parents (or if the parents are really stupid, the program) look good. Consider that none of you noticed, it is a very good one.

It's just like how the oracle is always beloved no matter how misleading, but Socrates... So stop been afraid of magic, a technique that destroys the nature order will never exit. They just want your money / your just what to fell your problem which you can't solve, can't be solved by anyone, but only with access to a higher power. So it is not your fault.

Gattaca much? (1)

cylcyl (144755) | about 5 years ago | (#29074215)

This reminds me so much of Gattaca. If you send your children to this camp and one does well and another does poorly, you can't help but feel differently about the children. This is evil

Re:Gattaca much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29075077)

Mod parent up, this is Gattaca.

Gattaca Plot Summary: "A genetically inferior man assumes the identity of a superior one in order to pursue his lifelong dream of space travel."
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119177/ [imdb.com]

Compare that with this from the title info, "The scientific results, combined with observations by experts throughout the week, will be used to make recommendations to parents about what their child should pursue."

The genetically inferior will be placed at a disadvantage. If someone has intense interest in a subject they are going to learn a lot about that subject and so will become an expert in that area, but if they are never allowed to pursue their interests being told relentlessly they are not genetically likely to succeed, it'll destroy their self image and make them feel incapable of achieving their dream.

G.O.A.T. (2, Funny)

baKanale (830108) | about 5 years ago | (#29074265)

They can do that in the Gene Projection now? Wow! Back in my day we had to wait until we were 16 to take the G.O.A.T. and find all that out!

Re:G.O.A.T. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29079129)

You got your first G.O.A.T Standard Examination at 16?

Keeping hackers busy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29074303)

In a way biochemistry is like the ultimate hacking frontier. People have no clue what our DNA actually does and mostly the only viable tools that currently exist are intutition and various methods of guessing until we get lucky.

Drug companies do the same thing except rather than guessing wrong and sending the next Einstein off to become a plumber people die.

It's a scam (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29074341)

Incidently, I am in Shanghai. And working in biology. I have heard of these clinics (there seem to be several), because they
are picking up up young graduates from the Universities to do the work. They pay well (compared to what the graduates get when
they do a postdoc), but obviously more money will disappear in the pockets of the managers/directors of said clinics.

From a biological standpoint, the whole thing is a scam. Perhaps they can predict some things a little bit, but from what I have seen I think they just tell the people what they want to hear.

Chinese easily fall for this kind of thing. Their (often only) child is their little emperor, and the newly rich (which are also still poorly educated) spend their whole income on them. Nevertheless, i guess it stimulates the economy, so we will be seeing this kind of things for a while (if you want to get rich quick and have no conscience, come to China!).

I want to know which genes they examine (1)

Artifex (18308) | about 5 years ago | (#29074601)

Seriously, has any of this turned up in the literature? I want to see what for what they are looking.

Forget prediction for children, there's a number of different companies out there that do personal genome screening, and plenty of adults who don't know what they want to be when they "grow up" or want to change careers, etc.

And it's about time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29074679)

Finally, now they know whether or not that daughter they're contemplating drowning is gonna be successful before they take the risk of letting her live and lose out on that precious male offspring.

Oh China, you never cease to entertain.

Bohemian Grove (1)

mtthwbrnd (1608651) | about 5 years ago | (#29074745)

This is good stuff for the eugenicists like Holden, the US science advisor. Check out his book Ecoscience where he writes about Eugenics. It's going to be a bit like Brave New World, apart from non-Utopic, more satanic - like the worshipping of the Owl Moloch that the previous US presidents do at Bohemian Grove where they perform a mock human sacrifice. Hmmmm, can't wait for the future to come.

Oh boy (1)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | about 5 years ago | (#29074983)

Oh God, I'm sure you all think this is bad, but since this is being conducted by Asians you need to multiply that stress by a factor of 3. I'm Asian myself, and I *can* speak for the majority of Asians actually born in Asia that parents who force their children down a specific path for the benefit of the family is an incredibly common theme. It's not just the parents, it's the culture, the schools, the businesses, *everyone*. It's crazy, and to be fair it's a problem that receives a lot of criticism from Asians who don't like watching their children shackled to a specific lifestyle from such an incredibly early age.

So.... (2, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | about 5 years ago | (#29075227)

how do they handle things when you find out that you have the next Mao Zedong or Stalin?

Re:So.... (1)

Overunderrated (1518503) | about 5 years ago | (#29075683)

how do they handle things when you find out that you have the next Mao Zedong or Stalin?

In China? They promote him to leadership roles, obviously.

Re:So.... (1)

PracticalM (1089001) | about 5 years ago | (#29076009)

The second to last sentence in the article. Maybe they have. "I want to be the president of China," said three-year-old girl, Liu Xiao Liao. "Then people will be scared of me."

Re:So.... (1)

vadim_t (324782) | about 5 years ago | (#29076849)

I think that at any time, in a country as large as China, there are tens, maybe even thousands of potential Mao Zendongs or Stalins.

But they don't get there, because there can be only one supreme ruler, and not all rulers will succeed at all times.

Hitler for instance came in at the right time. Germany was hummiliated, and he was the sort of guy that would make it great again. But his actions created such disgust, that if he was reborn right now, he couldn't get to power.

Rasputin started as a peasant and managed to get into the palace due to recommendation of the Tsaritsa's best friend.

And so on. Those famous people not only had the right genetics, but were born in the right place, often in the right family, knew the right people, and were around in the right circumstances.

Without that, the next potential Stalin might well be some bum living under a bridge. So long he remains there he's got no chance, no matter how close his genetics are.

This is a good idea... (1)

Overunderrated (1518503) | about 5 years ago | (#29075661)

and apparently I'm alone in thinking that. How many parents wouldn't want to know what their child's best chance for success will be? The whole 'denying that genetics play a role in development' thing is just wrong and passe.

Re:This is a good idea... (1)

sxedog (824351) | about 5 years ago | (#29075925)

You are obviously not a parent. Giving your kids the best chance of success takes strong lessons of morality, honesty, character building and hard work ethic not hocus pocus 'your genes tell you you will be good at x'.
Focusing on one child over the over is the perfect way to make one successful over the other child. Is it worth it to destroy one of your own offspring at the cost of another's chance of success just because 'the gene test' says so?
No.
Besides, scientists haven't been able to cure most of the world's deadly diseases in all our years of existence. Seems kind of sneaky that we can all of a sudden jump to gene manipulation with any success...

Re:This is a good idea... (1)

Overunderrated (1518503) | about 5 years ago | (#29075939)

Besides, scientists haven't been able to cure most of the world's deadly diseases in all our years of existence.

1.) "Most"? That's asking an awful lot. 2.) How is that even relevant to genetic screening?

Seems kind of sneaky that we can all of a sudden jump to gene manipulation with any success...

TFA had no mention of gene manipulation. Only scanning for traits.

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