More Genetic Tests: Still Creepy

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There’s another spit test out on the market, this one claiming to tell parents which kids have the genetics to be which kinds of athletes. I’ve got a bad feeling about this.

What’s going to happen is that kids of privilege will be tested almost from the cradle, with their helicopter-parents frog marching them toward whichever future seems the most successful. Twenty years later. And poor kids? Kids who’ll never get to find out that they’d rather teach or dance than be the Olympian weight lifter their parents drove them to be?

From Slate:

Envireugenics is less dangerous. It spreads through culture, not coercion. It doesn’t employ murder or sterilization. Instead, it relies on segregation. If your kid is RR, he goes here; if he’s XX, he goes there. We don’t tell you whether you can have a baby. We just tell you whether your baby belongs on the track team, the chess team, or the assembly line.

What’s really disturbing about this idea, in the case of ACNT3, is that it isn’t crazy. The data make a strong case that being XX really does lock you out of success at the highest levels of sprinting and power sports. From an individual standpoint, that doesn’t much matter: You can run track, play pickup basketball, and live happily ever after. But from your country’s standpoint, putting you on the track team is a waste. We need that slot for an RR kid, and we need a genetic test to find him.

That’s what worries me about Atlas Sports Genetics. It’s not just selling a test. It’s selling a mentality.

Soon, all our kids will be getting their cheeks swabbed and their genes decoded before they can talk. Given the US’s sports obsession…I’ve got a bad feeling about this. How could any parent resist knowledge like this? Maybe there are some things we just weren’t meant to know.


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Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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