This New DNA Test Basically Predicts If Your Baby Will Be The Next Einstein
My worst fear (aside from getting fingered by a bear) is that my child — if I ever have one — will be a douchebag.
But a lot of parents are mostly concerned with whether or not their kids will be academically successful. I'm not especially concerned about this with regard to my children, because if their dad sucked at school, they better as well.
But there is now, according to some scientists, a new DNA test that could ostensibly give insight to the child's future academic achievement (up to 16).
This test alleges that it can use DNA to see if a child will have a 10 percent harder or easier time in school.
According to Metro, these researchers have “developed a polygenic score,” based on “74 genetic variants” which can predict up to 10 percent of a subject's academic achievement.
What does all this mean? This test alleges that it can use DNA to see if a child will have a 10 percent harder or easier time in school.
Now, this is a bit scary because I immediately start picturing a dystopian society where parents test their fetuses for how smart they are and get rid of them if they aren't Matt Damon in “Good Will Hunting,” but really this would just be a useful tool for gauging how to tailor a child's learning experience from an early age.
Learning disabilities are often diagnosed late or not diagnosed at all, and this test, if it is to be believed, could simplify, at least in part, some of those issues. Even the fact that we use the term "disability" is archaic and implies that we simply don't understand how different people learn.
As Saskia Selzam, one of the researchers involved in the study puts it,
We believe that, very soon, polygenic scores will be used to identify individuals who are at greater risk of having learning difficulties. Through polygenic scoring, we found that almost 10 percent of the differences between children's achievement is due to DNA alone.
Of course, this is a child's "academic achievement" within the current model that our school's operate within, a model which is designed for those who do not learn in these different ways.
But if this study is found to be accurate, this could change the way we teach.
As it stands now, we mainly teach all children as if they are the same and learn in the same ways because the difficulties of predicting and understanding how they are different are extreme. But if tests like these could point our educational institutions in a better direction, with concrete data, we could see that system turned on its head.
Or, of course, just get a dystopian society.