Testing Your Child For Future Greatness

Testing Your Child For Future Greatness

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Parents who want to know if their newborn could grow up to be the next Wayne Gretzky now have a new and appalling tool at their disposal: DNA testing that hunts for variations of a gene that could indicate a tendency toward specific types of athletic performance.

For $149, Atlas Sports Genetics of Boulder, Colorado, will send parents a "home analysis kit" which they use to brush the inside of their child's cheek; the sample is then sealed in a baggie and mailed to a lab in Australia, which checks for variations of the gene ACTN3, which some experts believe can predict athletic predilections. One version of the gene, known as the R variant, can result in an increased production of a protein that builds more "fast-twitch" muscles used by power athletes like sprinters, while the X variant blocks that protein, which can mean greater amounts of "slow-twitch" muscles that are more efficient and suited for endurance sports.

While this sort of thing might appeal to parents desperate to live out their failed dreams vicariously through their children, some experts, including genetic experts and coaches, have criticized the screening. "The more we professionalize sports younger and younger, the more we contribute to the youth drop-out rate for sports," said sports psychologist and radio show host Casey Cooper. "My reaction: Save your money because to type your child like this is only going to land them in my office later. And I charge $150 [per session]."

"I think you're opening a Pandora's Box with team dynamics," said assistant coach Chad Onken of the swim team at the YMCA of the Triangle in Raleigh, N.C., which has won six national titles. "You're talking about a small problem that could blow up to something pretty huge."

Onken said that the presence of the gene variant has no bearing on drive and desire, pointing out that some of the Olympic hopefuls and college-scholarship swimmers produced by the Triangle YMCA achieved their success through sheer desire and hard work. "And I can think of too many playground basketball legends who could jump over a backboard but never made it off the playground," he added.

"Why do you want to spend money looking for one gene?" asked Carl Foster, head of the human performance lab at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and co-author of a study of the ACTN3 gene. He said that multiple genes drive athletic ability, and scientists are just beginning to figure out which ones are most important. Case in point: The aforementioned Wayne Gretzky, the greatest player in the history of professional hockey, was judged by many early observers to be too small and too slow to be effective in the NHL and was passed over by two teams before being drafted as a 16-year-old.

"You want parents to be supportive of their kids' endeavors. You don't want them to try and program their kid. And the kinds of people with disposable income are probably the kinds of people where that's always a trap for them. They're accomplishment-oriented," he said.

"They say, 'Well, I want my kid to be the best he can be'," he continued. "Of course. It's God, mother and apple pie. You can't vote against it. But at some point you'd like to say: Maybe just go to the Y and put your kid in a sports class and just see if they like it."

Source: MSNBC

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Holy shit, were one step closer to an army of cloned super-athletes!

Seriously though, as if kids don't have enough pressure as it is.

Really made me think of Gattaca, way to ruin sports people...

The title is misleading.
Being an athelete is the exact opposite of "greatness."
Now if they discover a Mozart gene, or a Hitler gene, or a Jesus gene, then maybe you can say "My child will change the world!"
But being able to play with balls isn't that fantastic.
Or pucks, for that matter.

that would be a wast of $150 for me... *sigh*

MaxTheReaper:
But being able to play with balls isn't that fantastic.

Some would beg to differ. If you know, y'know, what I mean.

But really, this kind of development is horrible. One step closer to totalitarian dystopia.

This was in a Sports Illustrated at least a few months back.

And they pointed to an author had something pretty smart, he wrote a book about how the age a kid is born can make all the difference. Something like being born the day before the cutoff, because that often makes you bigger than the other kids you are playing with and you seem better and therefore get more training.

It supposedly gave good reason to why there are a disproportionate amount of MLB players born in August.

Nunka:

MaxTheReaper:
But being able to play with balls isn't that fantastic.

Some would beg to differ. If you know, y'know, what I mean.

But really, this kind of development is horrible. One step closer to totalitarian dystopia.

...The sad thing is, I sort of noticed how that could be taken when I was typing it, but I left it in out of sheer laziness.
I probably deserved that. Nice way of pointing it out, though.

It's truly amazing what we're discovering about the human genome. I haven't heard this gene come up in any of my genetics classes yet, but I have the feeling that it would make a good assignment topic for the lecturers to set.

Nunka:

MaxTheReaper:
But being able to play with balls isn't that fantastic.

Some would beg to differ. If you know, y'know, what I mean.

But really, this kind of development is horrible. One step closer to totalitarian dystopia.

I very much doubt that even when we unravel every gene and what they do that this sort of scenario will occur. The process of genetic manipulation is so ardous and difficult (as well as inexact) it would make it prohibitively expensive and time consuming to be worth anyones while.

i cant quite put my finger on it, but something about this idea just seems wrong...

maybe its that this would just be 1 step closer to another "superior race" and widespread conformity..

-first we determine our children's future genetic traits, which will basicly result in us determining their destined future, and their chosen place in society.

-next, in just a few short years after that, we begin to genetically altering our future child's DNA, choosing their haircolor, eyecolor, athletic ability, IQ.

-next we begin designating each child with a specific career area for which they will be trained for in school and eventually forced into, based on their DNA

-then as genetically engineered children becomes a widespread concept, people begin to discriminate against those people born/created naturally, for they shall be viewed as inferior

-next, some countries will begin to 'genetically engineer' many of the country's offspring, changing their DNA to better suit that child's pre-chosen career, so that the country may become better and prosper. not long after several countries implement this idea, many more modern countries will be almost forced to do this as well, in order to better compete with those other countries.

-the idea of the "master race" will have already become widely accepted. this way of thinking results in all of the "inferior" races being greatly discriminated against, and in many cases even being forced into slavery.

-finally, the "master race" shall be complete, and all of the unnessicary "inferior" races shall be killed off in the greatest genocide that shall ever be known to history.

after this, there shall not be any "inferior" races, and the "master" race becomes the only race. the world will be ruled by incredibly strict conformity. those that show even the slightest bit of resistance to this conformity shall be imediately "euthinized", for they are nothing more than an unnesicary nucince and can be very easily replace.

the world will have finally realized their long sought dream: a perfect utopia.
no war.
no crime.
no poverty.
no hunger.
no disease.
no suffering.
no individuality.
no freedom.
no free will.
no choice.
no resistance.
no compassion.
no humanity.

tthor:
i cant quite put my finger on it, but something about this idea just seems wrong...

maybe its that this would just be 1 step closer to another "superior race" and widespread conformity..

-first we determine our children's future genetic traits, which will basicly result in us determining their destined future, and their chosen place in society.

-next, in just a few short years after that, we begin to genetically altering our future child's DNA, choosing their haircolor, eyecolor, athletic ability, IQ.

-next we begin designating each child with a specific career area for which they will be trained for in school and eventually forced into, based on their DNA

-then as genetically engineered children becomes a widespread concept, people begin to discriminate against those people born/created naturally, for they shall be viewed as inferior

-next, some countries will begin to 'genetically engineer' many of the country's offspring, changing their DNA to better suit that child's pre-chosen career, so that the country may become better and prosper. not long after several countries implement this idea, many more modern countries will be almost forced to do this as well, in order to better compete with those other countries.

-the idea of the "master race" will have already become widely accepted. this way of thinking results in all of the "inferior" races being greatly discriminated against, and in many cases even being forced into slavery.

-finally, the "master race" shall be complete, and all of the unnessicary "inferior" races shall be killed off in the greatest genocide that shall ever be known to history.

after this, there shall not be any "inferior" races, and the "master" race becomes the only race. the world will be ruled by incredibly strict conformity. those that show even the slightest bit of resistance to this conformity shall be imediately "euthinized", for they are nothing more than an unnesicary nucince and can be very easily replace.

the world will have finally realized their long sought dream: a perfect utopia.
no war.
no crime.
no poverty.
no disease.
no suffering.
no individuality.
no freedom.
no free will.
no choice.
no resistance.
no compassion.
no humanity.

It's kind of like equilibrium.

Inverse Skies:
It's truly amazing what we're discovering about the human genome. I haven't heard this gene come up in any of my genetics classes yet, but I have the feeling that it would make a good assignment topic for the lecturers to set.

Nunka:

MaxTheReaper:
But being able to play with balls isn't that fantastic.

Some would beg to differ. If you know, y'know, what I mean.

But really, this kind of development is horrible. One step closer to totalitarian dystopia.

I very much doubt that even when we unravel every gene and what they do that this sort of scenario will occur. The process of genetic manipulation is so ardous and difficult (as well as inexact) it would make it prohibitively expensive and time consuming to be worth anyones while.

they once thought that way about many things we do in the modern world.
eventually, and in not all that long i believe, technology shall advice much farther and allow such things as genetic manipulation to be quite simple, and even be able to create automated machines easily capible of the task.

Hunde Des Krieg:

It's kind of like equilibrium.

whats that?

"which some experts believe"

this is the phrase you have to watch out for in things where people want you to give them money.

experts and those in this case would be SCIENTISTS should not have to believe anything, its like counting your chickens before the weasel eats all the eggs

luckshot:
"which some experts believe"

this is the phrase you have to watch out for in things where people want you to give them money.

experts and those in this case would be SCIENTISTS should not have to believe anything, its like counting your chickens before the weasel eats all the eggs

"If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?"
---Albert Einstein

before any1 can truly know something, they must first theorize the answer. before someone can persue this theory, they must first believe it is possible.

MaxTheReaper:
The title is misleading.
Being an athelete is the exact opposite of "greatness."
Now if they discover a Mozart gene, or a Hitler gene, or a Jesus gene, then maybe you can say "My child will change the world!"
But being able to play with balls isn't that fantastic.
Or pucks, for that matter.

That reminds me of a shirt. "Wrestlers have them, others play with them."

The one (and only) thing that bothers me about this is the big unanswered question...

Does you kid want to be an athlete?

There's already more than enough of parents forcing their children to be what the parent wants, this new revelation spells years of hockey school or baseball all summer for a good number of kids who probably don't like sports any more than the average gamer.

cool

This had to come along sooner or later.

Brotherofwill:
Really made me think of Gattaca, way to ruin sports people...

That was the first thing I thought of when I read the title of this..... I guess that world is drawing closer.

tthor:

they once thought that way about many things we do in the modern world.
eventually, and in not all that long i believe, technology shall advice much farther and allow such things as genetic manipulation to be quite simple, and even be able to create automated machines easily capible of the task.

True they did create machines for tasks such as PCR which made things much easier but you're missing the critical point about eugenics. Basically giving everyone 'perfect' genes would actually lead to stagnation of the gene pool as genetic variability is the cornerstone of success of any species. Many scientific studies have shown that species with low levels of genetic variability have much lower survival rates and are more likely to suffer from extinctions than those with higher genetic diverisity because higher genetic diversity allows for more individuals able to cope a broader range of conditions. Hence why the idea of eugenics itself is actually flawed as it WEAKENS the species as a whole.

Personally I would like to see research like this being aimed at removing deletorious genes such as ones which cause diseases such as Huntingtons, Cystic Fibrosis, Muscular Dystrophy, hereditary hemmorhagic telangictasia, hereditary elliptical cytosis, thallasemia, sickle cell anemia and the Charcot-Marie Tooth disease. This would be a perfect use for it as it would allow people to live longer, healthier lives rather than being crippled by these awful diseases.

tthor:

Hunde Des Krieg:

It's kind of like equilibrium.

whats that?

Equilibirum describes a state of balance between two objects. It's a natural process in all chemical reactions and many aspects of biology as well. Example;

A + B -> C

As A and B combine to make C the reaction rate slows down as there is less A and B present and more C. All chemical reactions actually happen in both directions simultaneously so as A + B -> C, C -> A + B at the same time. Eventually it reaches a point where the rate of production of C is as fast as its decomposition to A and B so the reaction proceeds in both directions at an equally fast rate. At this stage equilibrium has been reached.

Inverse Skies:

tthor:

they once thought that way about many things we do in the modern world.
eventually, and in not all that long i believe, technology shall advice much farther and allow such things as genetic manipulation to be quite simple, and even be able to create automated machines easily capible of the task.

True they did create machines for tasks such as PCR which made things much easier but you're missing the critical point about eugenics. Basically giving everyone 'perfect' genes would actually lead to stagnation of the gene pool as genetic variability is the cornerstone of success of any species. Many scientific studies have shown that species with low levels of genetic variability have much lower survival rates and are more likely to suffer from extinctions than those with higher genetic diverisity because higher genetic diversity allows for more individuals able to cope a broader range of conditions. Hence why the idea of eugenics itself is actually flawed as it WEAKENS the species as a whole.

Personally I would like to see research like this being aimed at removing deletorious genes such as ones which cause diseases such as Huntingtons, Cystic Fibrosis, Muscular Dystrophy, hereditary hemmorhagic telangictasia, hereditary elliptical cytosis, thallasemia, sickle cell anemia and the Charcot-Marie Tooth disease. This would be a perfect use for it as it would allow people to live longer, healthier lives rather than being crippled by these awful diseases.

tthor:

Hunde Des Krieg:

It's kind of like equilibrium.

whats that?

Equilibirum describes a state of balance between two objects. It's a natural process in all chemical reactions and many aspects of biology as well. Example;

A + B -> C

As A and B combine to make C the reaction rate slows down as there is less A and B present and more C. All chemical reactions actually happen in both directions simultaneously so as A + B -> C, C -> A + B at the same time. Eventually it reaches a point where the rate of production of C is as fast as its decomposition to A and B so the reaction proceeds in both directions at an equally fast rate. At this stage equilibrium has been reached.

Oh.. I thought you were talking about the Christian Bale movie..

tthor:

luckshot:
"which some experts believe"

this is the phrase you have to watch out for in things where people want you to give them money.

experts and those in this case would be SCIENTISTS should not have to believe anything, its like counting your chickens before the weasel eats all the eggs

"If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?"
---Albert Einstein

before any1 can truly know something, they must first theorize the answer. before someone can persue this theory, they must first believe it is possible.

thats what experiments are for, this program is not for experimentation, it's purpose is to milk money from gullible parents

if they were looking to test a hypothesis on living people, which seems like it would take the better part of a lifetime, they would send out a call to get people to participate in an experiment, possibly with some cash incentive

What I find sad isn't the fact that sucker parents are coughing up cash for this kind of crap - a fool and his money and all that - but that kids are inevitably going to suffer as a result. We all want the best for our kids but there should be more to childhood than just a relentless drive to excel.

It's depressing to think of these parents attempting to label there 1 year olds as athletes. If you've been to any youth sports competitions you won't be suprised that this exists and people willing to pay, this is just a sad reflection of the type of parent that ruins sport as a game for a lot of kids.

Now we just need to find the Call of Duty gene AND ELIMINATE IT.
I said it.
Seriously though, this reminds me of that movie Gattacca.

ckeymel:

Oh.. I thought you were talking about the Christian Bale movie..

It's a Christian Bale movie? (Goes on google) Oh so it is. Released in 02 I see. It's even the first link ahead of all the sciency stuff! Well I've learnt something today.

EDIT: He probably was talking about the Christian Bale movie... that's what science does to you...

Inverse Skies:

ckeymel:

Oh.. I thought you were talking about the Christian Bale movie..

It's a Christian Bale movie? (Goes on google) Oh so it is. Released in 02 I see. It's even the first link ahead of all the sciency stuff! Well I've learnt something today.

EDIT: He probably was talking about the Christian Bale movie... that's what science does to you...

It's excellent - you should totally watch it ;)

Is that a picture of Khan?

ckeymel:

It's excellent - you should totally watch it ;)

I've never seen it, so why not? It sounded alright in the plot synopsis. Sounds like a plan to me. To the video store! (marches off with hand raised in air...)

The Shade:
Is that a picture of Khan?

I prefer to think of him as "Khan Classic," but yes. Who else would it be?

Didn't they do that in a movie? I think it was Gataca or something like that.

Malygris:

The Shade:
Is that a picture of Khan?

I prefer to think of him as "Khan Classic," but yes. Who else would it be?

Excellent. I hope everyone else gets the connection, then.

lol..."Khan Classic"...

 

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