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Personal Genomics Firm 23andMe Patents Designer Baby System

timothy posted about a year ago | from the not-creepy-at-all dept.

Biotech 171

An anonymous reader writes "Consumer genomics company 23andMe has developed a system for helping prospective parents choose the traits of their offspring, from disease risk to hair color. The patent — number 8543339, "Gamete donor selection based on genetic calculations" — describes a technology that would take a customer's preferences for a child's traits, compute the likely genomic outcomes of combinations between a customer's sperm or egg and other people's sex cells, and describe which potential reproductive matches would most likely produce the desired baby."

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Dating service to come? (5, Insightful)

nitzmahone (164842) | about a year ago | (#45026485)

Hmm, sounds like the logical next step is a dating service to match those traits. Who's doing the cyber-squatting for 23harmony.com and eugenicsmingle.com?

Re:Dating service to come? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45026639)

Strong independent SWF seeks SWM to usher in new era of Aryan dominance with a horde of genetically superior children.

XOXO White power! XOXO

Re:Dating service to come? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45026699)

Match located: Tyrone Williams

Re:Dating service to come? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#45026659)

Don't they already have a bunch of essentially-eugenics-based dating sites, just without the pretense of understanding the genetic basis?

I'm pretty sure I've seen one for Ivy grads only, at least one for PhDs only, 'Aryan' white power enthusiasts only, does Mensa have one?

Really, the only novelty here is pretending that (outside of a few specific cases that are either trivially mendellian or of interest because they are connected to ghastly diseases), looking at your genes, rather than at you, is actually going to provide more information about your likely offspring...

Re:Dating service to come? (2)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#45026861)

does Mensa have one?

Mensa is one.

Many people join to meet intelligent people of the opposite gender.

Re:Dating service to come? (4, Informative)

AuMatar (183847) | about a year ago | (#45027029)

And come away very disappointed. I tried that in my 20s, I found a bunch of 50 year old women, and 1 or 2 15 year olds. Nothing in between.

Re:Dating service to come? (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#45027239)

I've never seen the appeal of Mensa.

It sounds like being in a room full of people like the Comic Book Guy from Simpsons who like to stand around and feel self superior, when in actuality they're a bunch of complete wankers looking for validation.

Certainly the only people I've ever met who claimed to be members were best described like that.

Re:Dating service to come? (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#45027713)

Well, there's some selection bias in the sample, where you've got only the people who would brag about things in the first place, but I'd bet it's not too biased.

Re:Dating service to come? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45027293)

Hey, thanks for the tip!! There is a lot to say for 50 year old women. Any doubters, watch "The Graduate" with a young Dustin Hoffman.

Re:Dating service to come? (2)

tgd (2822) | about a year ago | (#45027373)

And come away very disappointed. I tried that in my 20s, I found a bunch of 50 year old women, and 1 or 2 15 year olds. Nothing in between.

Plus, generally speaking, its not all that hard to get into Mensa. Maybe harder than to get into the cub scouts or something, but its not rocket science... so the people who end up in there tend to be a lot less intelligent than they want to believe they are, or have crushing self doubt and are looking for validation. In either case, unless you happen to be one of those, too, not a good way to meet people.

Re:Dating service to come? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#45027573)

Plus, generally speaking, its not all that hard to get into Mensa.

Hmmm ... given that their aim is to get people in the 98th percentile, they're looking for the top 2% of IQs. So not exactly easy.

Not all that hard if you're a) one of those people, b) give a shit, and c) want to hang out with other people like that.

so the people who end up in there tend to be a lot less intelligent than they want to believe they are, or have crushing self doubt and are looking for validation

Can't disagree there.

Re:Dating service to come? (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year ago | (#45027777)

What useful function can the 98th percentile accomplish from this association? What does Mensa actually do?

Re:Dating service to come? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#45027565)

Too bad there aren't people in it who are intelligent enough to realize that joining Mensa is silly and pointless, or I might sign up!

Re:Dating service to come? (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#45027413)

"Hmm, sounds like the logical next step is a dating service to match those traits. Who's doing the cyber-squatting for 23harmony.com and eugenicsmingle.com?"

It really does look to me like it should have failed the obviousness test.

Genomics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45026497)

A portmanteau of genetic and economic? Really? Please kill this word immediately.

Re:Genomics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45026559)

That's not what the word means: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genomics

(Maybe I missed the joke but thought I'd post, in case not.)

Re:Genomics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45026583)

It's a bit late to kill it. It has nothing to do with economics but with computerized analysis of the genome.

Re:Genomics? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#45027425)

About 27 years too late in fact. [wikipedia.org]

I don't know why GP thinks "economics" [etymonline.com] or "genome" are such sacred words that shouldn't be bastardized anyway. Biology has changed rapidly in the last 50 years and the rate of change appears to be increasing. New words and phrases to cover new concepts effectively are going to have to be made up.

Re:Genomics? (3, Funny)

phrostie (121428) | about a year ago | (#45026625)

Ok, if Monsanto can sue a farmer for reusing a genetically modified seed, does this mean that Personal Genomics could sue the kids when they give you grand kids?

They will own the children (1)

kawabago (551139) | about a year ago | (#45026825)

Monsanto will be the first corporation to own human beings created by virtue of it's technology.

Re:They will own the children (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45027083)

All your progeny are belong to us!

Re:They will own the children (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#45027577)

You have no chance to reproduce, make your time.

Who has to pay if they have kids? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45027817)

If the genetically modified offspring have offspring of their own, will the original parents have to pay for those new children or will their genetically modified offspring have to pay to have their own?

Genes are patented today and after a farmer grows a genetically modified crop if he collects and uses the seeds of that crop, he has to pay again.

It shouldn't be, but at some point this is going to be an argument from someone with money.

Re:Genomics? (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#45026843)

That depends... did you sign a contract saying your kid wouldn't reproduce?

Re:Genomics? (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#45027741)

People Monsanto sues often don't have contracts with them.

Re:Genomics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45027301)

My neighbor is being sued by Personal Genomics. My neighbor woman invited her friend who works for PG to a pool party where his specially patented sperm accidentally swam and impregnated her. Now, the pregnant woman (my neighbor) is being sued by PG because she is carrying a patented child.

Re:Genomics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45026919)

You know "portmanteau" but not "genomics"? I don't think it's a word that should kill itself immediately. Idiot.

Re:Genomics? (0)

Punko (784684) | about a year ago | (#45026947)

I once used Genomics as the name of a boardgame I developed, where the basis of the game was earning money by breeding gnomes.

I think, however, I spelled it Gegnomics.

Re:Genomics? (2)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | about a year ago | (#45026957)

No, genomics is the study of genomes; IOW it is a subbranch on genetics that focuses on many-gene interactions, pathways, etc. As opposed to analyzing individual or a few genes in 'isolation'.

Prior art (2)

Alain Williams (2972) | about a year ago | (#45026515)

See many a SciFi novel.

Re:Prior art (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#45026793)

Patents do not cover mere ideas, but rather specific implementations. Find a sci-fi novel that uses exactly the same procedure 23andMe does, describing in detail all of the mechanisms and processes used, and that might be prior art.

The point of "prior art" isn't to stop inventors from using old ideas. Rather, it's to stop inventors from copying existing technology exactly.

Re:Prior art (3, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#45026895)

Ah, but the question is do these guys actually have a specific implementation?

Or is this a business process patent disguised as a specific implementation?

I don't know enough about the state of genetics to know if they can do this or not. But so many patents are just bafflegab intended to make it look like you've solved a problem -- when in fact you've just enumerated some of the things you'd need and don't have a way of doing it.

The devil is in the details, and I'm skeptical they have anything more than a series of whitepapers detailing how you'd go about it.

Re:Prior art (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#45027161)

But so many patents are just bafflegab intended to make it look like you've solved a problem -- when in fact you've just enumerated some of the things you'd need and don't have a way of doing it.

There's actually very few patents like this, as such scams are usually pretty easy to see in patent applications. There are, however, a lot of folks on Slashdot who don't understand patent law, don't bother trying to understand the actual patent, and just accept an inflammatory headline as fact.

That said, enumerations are patentable, if they're complete enough that someone could build a working system from the patent description (and reasonable skill in the art) alone. Since algorithms aren't patentable, and their inclusion in a patent raises flags during examination, there are a lot of patents that cover the setup to run a particular algorithm, even if the algorithm itself is unencumbered.

Also note that patents do not have to cover the entire product, but as little as the solution to a single problem. A white paper describing the analysis and evaluation process may be valid regardless of a patent on the matchmaking process. Having a few whitepapers describing part of the process is still progress.

Re:Prior art (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about a year ago | (#45027639)

I too claim prior art.

And, yes, I do work in genetics.

Eugenics, but on a computer! (0)

stewsters (1406737) | about a year ago | (#45026523)

Francis Galton [wikipedia.org] came up with this idea over a hundred years ago. It wasn't a good idea then, it still isn't.

Re:Eugenics, but on a computer! (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#45026781)

Francis Galton [wikipedia.org] came up with this idea over a hundred years ago. It wasn't a good idea then, it still isn't.

Well, that's the ugly trick. Humans have been using selective breeding on various organisms for most of recorded history, and it works just fine*

If eugenics were simply hanging out with phlogiston and luminiferous aether on the failed ideas pile, nobody would care very much. What gives it continued edgy relevance is the fact that, possibly through a willingness to break a few eggs, possibly through more human measures, it should actually be doable to make even more of a mockery of the idea that 'all men are created equal' than nature already does.

(The fact that it's also a convenient 'scientific' cover for just sterilizing society's powerless unlikeables doesn't do it any favors in terms of popularity either). *(actual fineness of results variable, objectives of the breeder may not be well aligned with those of the organism being bred, or with sanity, other limitations and restrictions may apply.)

Re:Eugenics, but on a computer! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45027209)

More precisely:

Eugenics is scientifically sound. Improving the human condition through selective breeding is just like any other form of selective breeding and we know it works.

The problem is that eugenics is morally unsound if applied to non-volunteers, and politicly unsound if applied only to a minority of the population (the numerically superior "normals" would wield enough power to illegalize the practice and would have every incentive to do so lest they become obsolete in future generations).

So until a majority of the population are willing to volunteer to turn over their reproductive rights "for the good of future generations" eugenics is going to remain a non-starter.

Re:Eugenics, but on a computer! (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about a year ago | (#45027655)

You do realize that blue eyed blonds have two recessive traits, correct?

Re:Eugenics, but on a computer! (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#45027795)

Existent and functional is the same as ethical, huh? So shooting you in the head shouldn't be a problem because physics tells us the momentum transfer from the bullet to your gray matter is a completely natural physical reaction.

Re:Eugenics, but on a computer! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45027411)

"Francis Galton [wikipedia.org] came up with this idea over a hundred years ago. It wasn't a good idea then, it still isn't."

Just promise the right wingers a way to get non-gay children and you'll make billions.

Re:Eugenics, but on a computer! (1)

tgd (2822) | about a year ago | (#45027429)

Francis Galton [wikipedia.org] came up with this idea over a hundred years ago. It wasn't a good idea then, it still isn't.

Its not Eugenics. All of evolution happens because of trait preference. Eugenics is the trimming of less desirous genetic traits through sterilization (preventing a new generation) or more direct ending of the current one. Picking traits isn't that. People who seek out companions of their race, or their ethnicity, or with ripped abs or big boobs are all selecting for traits in the next generation. Or, as another modern example -- China's allowing of a second (or third) child( for couples with graduate degrees. Also not eugenics.

Re:Eugenics, but on a computer! (1)

stewsters (1406737) | about a year ago | (#45027707)

Eugenics is the theory and practice of improving the genetic quality of the human population. In the 20th century we didn't have genetically altered humans, so the only way to do it was to make some humans not reproduce, either by sterilization or murder. Now we are adding a new scientific option, but the end result is the same, only living humans that we consider 'perfect'. Humans need diversity, in the future there may be good reasons to keep about populations with traits we don't agree with now.

Sperm bank (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45026529)

So this work in a sperm bank type of environment ? Why not fetch sperm from handsome, smart people only ?

Re:Sperm bank (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#45026701)

So this work in a sperm bank type of environment ? Why not fetch sperm from handsome, smart people only ?

Have you seen the sorts of screening criteria that sperm banks use? People looking for egg donors can't afford to be as picky; because human egg harvesting is not a pleasant business(multiple drugs, some hormonal tweaking, assorted long needles); but the supply of men willing to jerk off into a sample cup for money is pretty large, so they do tend to screen pretty enthusiastically.

Re:Sperm bank (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45026981)

What's that old story?

The wealthy guy and beautiful woman marry and she becomes pregnant. When the baby is born, it's so ugly even the nurse gasps. The husband is troubled and suspects the wife of cheating since the baby doesn't bear a resemblance to either parent. Mom fesses up though. She's had a lot of plastic surgery and the baby looks just like she did when she was a child.

Re:Sperm bank (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#45027605)

Why not fetch sperm from handsome, smart people only ?

Women can do that without any help - well, maybe not the "smart" part :-P

Hello Gattaca! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45026541)

Hitler would be proud. Once this can be done on a regular basis, the differences between the born-privileged (children born to parents with money to custom design their child to have movie-star looks and high IQ) will relegate the masses to a modern serfdom.

Re:Hello Gattaca! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45026757)

It's only Gattaca if it's expensive. If democratized, it would help everybody have a healthy offspring with great traits, and while the rich usually get even better results, it could run to a point of diminishing returns, where you need to pay a million dollars to get an IQ 2 points above the run of the mill supermarket baby. Vertu vs. Samsung Galaxy.

And let me tell you, an IQ of 172 will not help you against a million poor people with an average IQ of 170.

Re:Hello Gattaca! (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#45026977)

How do you propose to create a population with "an average IQ of 170"? Where would all the sub-50th-percentile people disappear?

Re:Hello Gattaca! (1)

hyperquantization (804651) | about a year ago | (#45027585)

Where would all the sub-50th-percentile people disappear?

To give you the benefit of the doubt: the parent is using the 170 IQ points figure relative to the current average intelligence of people.

Of course, if you're actually splitting hairs, then we could start talking about how the IQ metric, to begin with, is antiquated BS. But, of course, we won't have to go there, right?

Re:Hello Gattaca! (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#45026783)

Are you suggesting that we need knowledge of genetics to relegate the masses to modern serfdom?

Challenge accepted.

Re:Hello Gattaca! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45027181)

Hitler would be proud.

Yes but a eugenic Hitner [washingtonpost.com] would knock those kids into next Tuesday.

Re:Hello Gattaca! (1)

tgd (2822) | about a year ago | (#45027505)

Hitler would be proud. Once this can be done on a regular basis, the differences between the born-privileged (children born to parents with money to custom design their child to have movie-star looks and high IQ) will relegate the masses to a modern serfdom.

Hitler wasn't selecting for an Aryan nation. He was killing for an Aryan nation. So that's really a poor example.

And here's a secret -- children of the privileged already (and have always) had that benefit. The wealthy and successful rarely have children with sloth like troglodytes -- they meet people of similar educational, physical, economic and other qualities. They don't send their children to a random selection of schools. Their children, more often than not, end up equally successful and privileged.

And the masses are already relegated to a modern serfdom.

Re:Hello Gattaca! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45027757)

You can see this already on a particular island which I'll leave it up to the curious reader to find ;-) but it didn't get that way through any kind of genetic engineering. The wealthy are almost entirely descended from blonde-haired, blue-eyed British plantation owners and these days if you see somebody there who looks like that, you can bet they're old-money rich and you'd win that bet almost every single time. If you see a light skinned person there with dark hair and eyes they're most likely descended from indentured servants and are even poorer than the black folks there who are descended from slaves (long story). There isn't much interracial marriage there and the demographics have hardly changed in hundreds of years.

Designer Babies? (1)

Hartree (191324) | about a year ago | (#45026589)

I had a horrifying vision of hundreds of preschool age clones of Giorgio Armani complete with graying hair and Speedos.

http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/wkXX8i-_YY7/Giorgio+Armani+Beach+Spain/o9t_26CJhk8/Giorgio+Armani [zimbio.com]

Re:Designer Babies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45027469)

"I had a horrifying vision of hundreds of preschool age clones of Giorgio Armani complete with graying hair and Speedos."

This being Eugenics, it would have to be Hugo Boss.

Genomics (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45026599)

Genomics is a discipline in genetics that applies recombinant DNA, DNA sequencing methods, and bioinformatics to sequence, assemble, and analyze the function and structure of genomes (the complete set of DNA within a single cell of an organism).

patent on math (0)

RichMan (8097) | about a year ago | (#45026605)

This is pretty much a patent on the math for matching between genome expressions. That is pretty much pure math which they have wrapped into an interface.

The patent system continues to fail.

Re:patent on math (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#45026877)

Mechanical engineering produces patents on the math for physics. That is pretty much pure math which they have wrapped in a physical form.

The patent system has "failed" by this definition since its inception.

What could possibly go wrong? Gattaca (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45026633)

Sci-fi has seen this coming since at least 1997, with film Gattaca...
Plot summary source: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119177/plotsummary

Excerpt: "Gattaca Corp. is an aerospace firm in the future. During this time society analyzes your DNA and determines where you belong in life. Ethan Hawke's character was born with a congenital heart condition which would cast him out of getting a chance to travel in space"

Re:What could possibly go wrong? Gattaca (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45026685)

and... "Vincent is one of the last "natural" babies born into a sterile, genetically-enhanced world, where life expectancy and disease likelihood are ascertained at birth. Myopic and due to die at 30, he has no chance of a career in a society that now discriminates against your genes, instead of your gender, race or religion. "

Re:What could possibly go wrong? Gattaca (2)

Score Whore (32328) | about a year ago | (#45027827)

I love that movie, but every time I hear him talking about his heart and how it's supposed to fail at some point and he talking to Uma Thurman and says "but mine is 30,000 beats overdue." I can't help but do the math and think, "oh, he was supposed to die earlier that morning?"

30,000 beats / 60 bpm = 500 min = 8 hours 18 min.

Sometimes I hate my brain.

The Superhuman Future? Khan? (3, Informative)

ScottCooperDotNet (929575) | about a year ago | (#45026653)

I imagine most readers are worried about super-strength people [nbcnews.com] , but on a more practical basis, this could be used to prevent genetic predisposition to disease, like breast cancer gene carriers being able to ensure their child won't be carriers of the gene, or even the mentally ill from passing on genes related to say, schizophrenia.

Re:The Superhuman Future? Khan? (4, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#45026807)

It COULD be used to screen for undesirable traits (but that's eugenics), it WILL be used to screen for 'desirable' traits - that's money.

Re:The Superhuman Future? Khan? (1)

ScottCooperDotNet (929575) | about a year ago | (#45026923)

'Eugenics' is a poisoned word, if they go that way it will surely be called something else.

Re:The Superhuman Future? Khan? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45026811)

...or an unexpected form of cancer that turns into a heavy burden on society...

Re:The Superhuman Future? Khan? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45026829)

I think you miss the point on how important it is for a population to have these 'defects'. Who's to say having breast cancer isn't a solid way to survive a nuclear fallout? or the next bird flu death explosion? The continuation of short term exploitation for catastrophic delayed failure surely has to be reaching a tipping point. Oh wait.. let me go let it ride on my goldman shares, what could go wrong!

Re:The Superhuman Future? Khan? (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#45027283)

so breast cancer will protect people from nuclear weapons?
i see where you're going

Re:The Superhuman Future? Khan? (1)

jsepeta (412566) | about a year ago | (#45026959)

no need for Cerebro, if we focus on making Homo Superiors instead of those lowly Homo Sapiens

Re:The Superhuman Future? Khan? (1)

cHALiTO (101461) | about a year ago | (#45027197)

Actually, I was thinking that if people get to choose how their kids will look.. imagine would fads play into this. When a particular set of attributes become the most popular and a high percentage of the population decide to have offspring that have almost the same characteristics.. I don't know, couldn't it be pretty dangerous, messing around like that with genetic diversity?

Obviously, I'm not a biologist :P

Gattaca (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45026675)

Gattaca, like 1984, was intended to be a warning rather than an instruction manual. We seem to be slouching towards various forms of dystopia and the worst part of it all is that people think this is a good thing.

Re:Gattaca (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45027091)

Yes, a chilling warning against genetic inferiors stealthily infiltrating our society. So intent on their dream of piloting a space craft that they will illegally conceal their disqualifying defects, without regard for the risk to the passengers.

Re:Gattaca (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#45027141)

if this were to implemented on a national scale what would be so bad about screening out for all the different genetic diseases and whatever?

people already do this to some extent and have done so throughout history. those with money have always had access to better food and health care and trying to make sure their kids marry into other families with money

"Perfect! All details accounted for!" (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#45026693)

Finally! Now nerds can design the perfect baby they have no chance of planting in a chick's belly.

Re:"Perfect! All details accounted for!" (1)

Bigbutt (65939) | about a year ago | (#45026989)

There's your first problem. It doesn't go in a chick's belly.

[John]

This is completely unlike falling for someone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45026697)

Tall, dark, handsome, because you think a child with those features would be awesome, or picking someone who has compatible immune systems by kissing...

Well, mainly because it would work more often.

Wait, what is the argument against it again?

the problem is it (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about a year ago | (#45026753)

will be used mostly to select sex of baby's

Re:the problem is it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45026819)

Disgusting pervert.

Re:the problem is it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45026847)

The sex of baby's what?

Re:the problem is it (2)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about a year ago | (#45026979)

You know that in many cultures lots of female babys are aborted as there is immense societal pressure to have a Boy.

Re:the problem is it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45027691)

whoooosh

learn when to use an apostrophe

Re:the problem is it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45026849)

I see someone failed highschool biology.

Here is how it is going t work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45026799)

Parent: I want a tall beautiful kid with IQ of 140, no predisposition to cancer, autism, obesity, coronary disease or alzheimers.
Doctor: looking at our database the best match for you will be if we mate eggs from donor 123 with sperm from donor 345. We guarantee that will produce the desired offspring with probability of 1E-6. The fee will be $100,000, please sign here. We can guarantee higher probability for cancer and diabetes free offspring if you trade tall for dwarf [scientificamerican.com] .

Just the next iteration (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45026821)

Just the next iteration of natural selection. We already consciously and unconsciously evaluate potential mates for their potential to produce offspring with traits we believe will improve its chance to thrive. Now we already "shop" for mates online at sites like Match.com and judge them based on their appearance, occupation, apparent intelligence, etc, without actually getting to know them first. This is just the next step.

Re:Just the next iteration (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45027051)

Make that "subconsciously."

Needs oversight (2)

Prune (557140) | about a year ago | (#45026853)

This needs to be regulated because the result of many people individually selecting for characteristics can have negative effects on the overall human gene pool. I've already elaborated on this under another recent story: http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=4173815&cid=44775829 [slashdot.org]

I've seen this one before (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45027061)

In SG1, the Asgard are dying off due to having almost no genetic diversity resulting from generations of cloning. It makes a nice Sci-Fi subplot, but back here in reality we still have people who don't even have access to electricity. I seriously doubt we ever need to worry about all of humanity being wiped out by an engineered genetic monoculture. It's likely only those who are part of the monoculture will be at risk and since these are also likely to be the wealthy and successful of the world, something that wipes them out would be a bit of reverse Darwinism. Call Alanis Morissette, because that would be ironic.

Parents can *choose* disease risks? (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#45026871)

"Uh, yes, I would like a sickly, blind, deaf, mentally disabled child, so I can collect its disability benefits... make it twins, conjoined twins, triplets if you can pull it off."

Re:Parents can *choose* disease risks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45027003)

You laugh, but short people have asked their embryos to be screened against tall offspring.

Gattaca now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45026873)

I never thought we would be here 16 years later.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_eugenics [wikipedia.org]

Re:Gattaca now (1)

CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) | about a year ago | (#45027019)

Snap. You beat me to it.

Beautiful, happy people - how awful! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45026915)

What will our Jewish 'masters' say about this?

How 'evil' to want all human beings to be born physically beautiful, and to have happy, healthy lives!

Isn't eugenics 'evil' - because the Jew says so!

After all, any 'eugenic country' would expel the Jews, since they are nation wreckers, and have been expelled from 109 countries over the past 1,000 years...

And then the poor Jews would have to live among OTHER JEWS - and wouldn't that just be awful for them! A parasite cannot live off of another parasite...

It's so pathetic to read the modern brainwashed idiots trying to tell us that 'eugenics is bad', when they can't even explain WHY it's bad. It's 'bad' because the Jew-media told you it's bad, over and over and over again, from the day you were born. It's 'bad' because it's BAD FOR JEWS - you know, the Jews who have taken over your country without being given permission to do so. The Jews who run the Fed, who run Hollywood, who run the media, who run the porn industry, who run the newspapers and publishing houses, who decide EVERYTHING you can or can't see, the Jews who send YOUR people to fight THEIR shitty wars in the Middle East.
Are you getting the picture yet? Or are you still going to defend the 'poor, hard done by Jews, the eternal victims of 'anti-semitism''.

Imagine a world in which every human being born was beautiful, no more ugly people, no more unhappy people who have no chance of finding a beautiful partner to marry and have children with (that would be 95% of us, since only around 5% of people are non-mutants - i.e. physically attractive). Wouldn't that be just terrible!

Gattaca, anyone? (1)

CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) | about a year ago | (#45026939)

A precursor to Gattaca, maybe?

A new Cole Porter song? (2)

TheloniousToady (3343045) | about a year ago | (#45026975)

Birds do it, bees do it
Even educated fleas do it

Let's do it
Let's compute the genomic outcomes of combinations which would most likely produce the desired baby

Negative (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45027363)

individuals can carry "superior" traits and have a strong detrimental effect on the whole.. especially when there are mass social responses .. this is trouble with a capital T

Re:Negative (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45027671)

... and that rhymes with P and that stands for (gene) Pool!

Just in time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45027481)

to cancel my order for a gene test set. I won't have any business with Lebensborn Inc.

You can't patent illegal things (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45027599)

Why this was granted a patent one will never know.

Follow the bribes.

Prior Art (1)

some old guy (674482) | about a year ago | (#45027629)

I believe it is called, "dating".

Terms of Service (2)

wjcofkc (964165) | about a year ago | (#45027815)

Just wait until a genomics company literally owns your baby's genome configuration. Almost no one takes the time to read terms of service. Imagine being under the pressure of signing such an agreement after your water breaks.

The very last part of that being unlikely - the patent part may not be. Imagine choosing from a selection of perfect but generic templates, then adding and remove traits as you see fit. We could end up with a large population of near twin sets.

Setting absolutely all of that aside, if the technology this evolves into could build a better human (post-human?) species, I'm all for it regardless of how strange a future it might produce. Can you imagine a future version of the human race absent of our desire to break up into factions and murder each other in as large of numbers as possible? This could result in the survival of our species, or at least a future iteration of our species, which is something that I otherwise think will prove unlikely over the next century if we don't find a way to evolve past being bent on self-annihilation.
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