Thursday, 19 September 2013


While scientific work in the West continues to be constrained by the dogma of human equality and therefore focuses predominantly on relatively expensive surgical and medicinal therapies to retrospectively improve the condition of individual humans, the Chinese, free from such dogmatic constraints are employing state-of-the-art-gene sequencing technologies as part of a state sponsored eugenics programme aimed at achieving significant advances in the quality of their future generations.

BGI Shenzhen, known as the Beijing Genomics Institute prior to 2008, is one of the world’s premier genome sequencing centres and was created in 1999.

Initially it participated in the Human Genome Project as China’s representative and after the project was completed, BGI secured funding from local government for a number of genomics research projects before moving it’s headquarters to Shenzhen in 2007, founding the first citizen-managed, non-profit research institution in China. Then in 2008, ‘BGI Shenzhen’ was officially recognized as a state agency having both a private and a public character. It receives funds both from private investors and the Chinese government.

In 2010, BGI Americas was established and set up its main office in Boston and BGI Europe was established in Copenhagen. The company now employs more than 4,000 scientists, has collaborations with fifteen out of the top twenty global pharmaceutical companies and is now part way through a development programme through which it will receive some US$1.5 billion in funding from the China Development Bank.

The Cognitive Research Lab at BGI is working with Stephen Hsu of Michigan State University on a project to discover the genetic basis of human intelligence and recently as part of this project BGI scientists collected DNA samples from 2,000 of the world’s smartest people and are sequencing their entire genomes in an attempt to identify the alleles which determine human intelligence. Apparently they are close to finding them, and when they do, it is intended that embryo screening will allow Chinese parents to pick their brightest zygote and in this way BGI hope to enable the Chinese people to increase the intelligence of each successive generation by between five to fifteen IQ points.

A recent online article stated that Hsu’s interest in the genetic underpinnings of intelligence, focuses particularly on what separates the brilliant from the merely smart, in short, “how to make more Einsteins.”
"If you study the history of science or technology, you’re going to inevitably come to the conclusion that it’s people who are of above average ability who make these breakthroughs and generate a disproportionate amount of value for humanity," he is quoted as saying.
Geoffrey Miller, an evolutionary psychologist and lecturer at New York University, is one of the 2,000 of the world’s smartest people who contributed their DNA for use in the BGI cognitive research project.

In a recent interview, he stated:
"As soon as Deng Xiaoping took power in the late 70s, he took the whole focus of the Chinese government from trying to manage the economy, to trying to manage the quality and quantity of people. In the 90s, they started to do widespread prenatal testing for birth defects with ultrasound, and more recently, they’ve spent a lot of money researching human genetics to figure out which genes make people smarter.

I just got an email a couple of days ago saying that they’d almost finished doing the sequencing for the BGI Cognitive Genetics Project, the one I gave my genetics to, and that the results would be available soon.

They seem mostly interested in people of Chinese and European descent. They’re basically recruiting through a scientific conference, through word of mouth. You have to provide some evidence that you’re as smart as you say you are. You have to send your complete CV, publications you’ve produced, standardized-test scores, where you went to college… stuff like that."
Describing how learning from the project might be applied, Millers stated:
"Once you’ve got that information and a fertilized egg that’s divided into a few cells, you can sample one of the cells to figure out the expected intelligence if it’s implanted and becomes a person.

Any given couple could potentially have several eggs fertilized in the lab with the dad’s sperm and the mom’s eggs. Then you can test multiple embryos and analyze which one’s going to be the smartest. That kid would belong to that couple as if they had it naturally, but it would be the smartest a couple would be able to produce if they had 100 kids. It’s not genetic engineering or adding new genes, it’s the genes that couples already have.

Even if it only boosts the average kid by five IQ points, that’s a huge difference in terms of economic productivity, the competitiveness of the country, how many patents they get, how their businesses are run, and how innovative their economy is.

Actual use of the technology to do embryo screening might take five to ten years, but it could be just a few years. It depends on how motivated they are."
When asked if the same process could be used to select for other characteristics, such as physical fitness, disease resistance or physical appearance, Miller answered:
"Absolutely. In fact, almost any trait other than intelligence would be easier to do. We know that intelligence depends on lots of genes while physical traits – like hair or eye color – only depend on a few genes. Things like body shape would be easier to do, physical attractiveness would be pretty complicated, personality traits might be a little simpler than intelligence – how hard working somebody is, how impulsive, how politically liberal or conservative they are would be easier. How religious you are – that’s definitely influenced by genes to some degree."
The burning question that should concern everyone in the West if we are to avoid a situation developing in which the Chinese people get ahead of us in the evolutionary stakes and in future exploit the physical and intellectual superiority that will inevitably result form the BGI programme is, how research in the West compares with that undertaken by the Chinese?

Miller states:
"We’re pretty far behind. We have the same technical capabilities, the same statistical capabilities to analyze the data, but they’re collecting the data on a much larger scale and seem to be capable of transforming the scientific findings into government policy and consumer genetic testing much more easily than we are. Technically and scientifically we could be doing this, but we’re not.

They’re also investing a huge amount of money in education, they’re creating new systems of universities that emphasise more creative approaches to learning, and they’re sending hundreds of thousands of college students to America and Europe to see how our education systems operate so they can bring their own systems up to our standards and above.

The Chinese Communist party … think of it as restoring China to its rightful and historical place as the central culture of humanity. Europe got a temporary advantage, but they’re just restoring the natural balance as the world’s most populous country … and they don’t trust America or Europe to run the world in the right way, in terms of issues like global warming or equality or economic stability."
Massive though China is, the Chinese government has no problem enforcing their borders and while Western countries are inundated with immigrants from those parts of the world with the lowest average IQs, non-Chinese immigration into China is prohibited, and the Chinese people remain homogenous and well positioned to gain substantially from the eugenic practices discussed here.

Clearly the Chinese government have an appreciation of the genetic basis for most human characteristsics, especially intelligence and they plan to use their current economic and financial strength to gain a dominant position within the world. We in the West urgently need to wake up!

Originally published at Western Spring.

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