DNA Test for Chinese Children to Find Genetic Gifts

I couldn’t believe what I read in the newest CNN headline. Let’s see what happened:

At the Chongqing Children’s Palace, experts are hoping to revolutionize child-rearing with the help of science. About 30 children aged 3 to 12 years old and their parents are participating in a new program that uses DNA testing to identify genetic gifts and predict the future.

The test is conducted by the Shanghai Biochip Corporation. Scientists claim a simple saliva swab collects as many as 10,000 cells that enable them to isolate eleven different genes. By taking a closer look at the genetic codes, they say they can extract information about a child’s IQ, emotional control, focus, memory, athletic ability and more.

Source: CNN.com
Source: CNN.com

Let’s be clear here, they analyze 11 genes for 880$.

Not to determine, but to at least predict such features as IQ, focus, emotional control or height, you need to analyze not 11 but significantly more genes. And in such features, the envorinmental factors play a major role (sometimes bigger than genetics). So determining capablitities based on 11 genes is not hard, but impossible. From another point of view, even if you find many genes predicting the child will be tall, plus the environmental factors are positive as well, not all tall players are NBA stars.

I believe it was a clear advertisement of a Chinese biotechnology firm trying to prove that they can do the same thing as Navigenics or 23andMe.

So be skeptic when you read such headlines…