Conclusive proof that intelligence is genetic and not “environmental” has come with the news that a new test can determine intelligence levels in embryos—and can accurately predict a child’s low, average, or high level IQ before it is born.
News of the test is contained in a new article in The New Scientist magazine about the company Genomic Prediction, which has launched a “mental disability” test as one of its products.
According to the article, the “new genetic test that enables people having IVF to screen out embryos likely to have a low IQ or high disease risk could soon become available in the US.”
The breakthrough is the result of a new method of testing an embryo’s genes which can “assess complex traits, such as the risk of some diseases and low intelligence, in IVF embryos.”
The tests haven’t been used yet, but the firm began talks last month with several in vitro fertilisation (IVF) clinics to provide them to customers, The New Scientist said.
For intelligence, Genomic Prediction says that it will only offer the option of screening out embryos deemed likely to have “mental disability”.
However, the same approach could in future be used to identify embryos with genes that make them more likely to have a high IQ, the article continued.
“I think people are going to demand that. If we don’t do it, some other company will,” says Genomic Prediction’s co-founder Stephen Hsu.
The ability to do simpler simpler genetic tests on embryos as part of the IVF process. For example, the article continued, parents at risk of having a child with cystic fibrosis or Down’s syndrome to have the option to undergo IVF and select an embryo that doesn’t carry the gene behind the condition.
Tests have now made it possible to work out a person’s likelihood for having certain conditions or traits by analysing many DNA regions at once to calculate something called a “polygenic risk score” and Genomic Prediction is the first company to offer polygenic risk scores for embryos rather than adults.
Genomic Prediction’s intention was to offer parents a way of screening out embryos at high risk of certain medical conditions, and now, as genetic research has expanded, this has extended to the genes which determine intelligence.
According to The New Scientist, the test cannot predict an exact IQ for each embryo, “but it can indicate which ones are genetic outliers, giving prospective parents the option of avoiding embryos with a high chance of an IQ 25 points below average.”
Information from the same test could be used to go one step further and select whichever embryo is most likely to have a high IQ. “What that corresponds to is way-above-average intellectual potential,” says Hsu.
Intelligence is only one trait the firm can give a polygenic risk score for. Others on offer include heart disease, breast cancer, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease. Yet another test can accurately predict the height of a adult while he or she is still an embryo—further evidence that all life forms on earth have a biological or genetic basis.
The tests are the final nail in the coffin of the liberal delusion that intelligence is “environmental,” and that all people when born are a “blank slate” whose ability is “determined” by environment.
The equally important implication of the test however shows that racial differences in IQ are also genetic in origin, and therefore that achievement levels are biologically determined and unchangeable.