DNA tests to check children for inborn talents are a burgeoning business in China and gaining popularity in the United States. But the genetic talent tests lack scientific accuracy and could psychologically harm children, some experts warn.
Many parents in China hope to give their children an advantage in the country’s competitive educational system by hiring biotech companies to perform genetic talent testing, MIT Technology Review recently reported.
One company, China Bioengineering Technology (CBT), lists more than 200 indicators it will assess, including physical talents, shyness, introversion, extroversion, and memory, along with musical, mathematical, and reading abilities. The $2,500 price tag for a full battery of tests doesn’t seem to daunt many. “We get around a hundred or 200 parents testing each week,” a CBT agent told the publication.
But experts warn the field of genetics is not so simple, and little, if any, scientific evidence supports the accuracy of DNA talent testing.
“The recommendations being made on the basis of these tests by many companies not only lack supportive evidence but in some cases are scientifically absurd,” a group of bioethicists wrote in the Journal of Law and the Biosciences. Inaccurate results and parental misunderstanding could lead to harmful interventions, said the authors, an international group representing universities in Belgium, Canada, Switzerland and the United States.
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Source: Baptist Press