21st Century Eugenics????

I recently stumbled across an interesting blog at discovermagazine.com written by Razib Khan. This thread, titled GATTACA: utopia or dystopia? attempts to justify modern eugenics by emphasizing “individual choice” and refuting the evidence posted by Kevin Mitchell of Wiring the Brain. This evidence highlights a cavalier attitude regarding modern eugenics research and can sometimes read like journals that were published over one hundred years ago with authors calling for sterilizations and abortions, except this time “feeble-minded” has been replaced with downs syndrome and idiocy.


All of this on the cusp of the Supreme Court’s ruling on whether genes can be patented. Stemming from a lawsuit against Myriad Genetics by a group of plaintiffs led by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT).The lawsuit – Association for Molecular Pathology, et al. v. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, et al. – alleges that patents on two human genes associated with breast and ovarian cancer (BRCA1 and BRCA2) are invalid and unconstitutional.


While there is no consensus surrounding the issue, it should be noted that the research supporting patented genes has familiar eugenic roots. The Cold Spring Harbor laboratory in New York, the same lab that was used by eugenicists Charles B. Davenport and his assistant Harry H. Laughlin, both prominent twentieth-century eugenicists. This information becomes even more disturbing when the exact nature of the Cold Spring Harbor laboratory’s work is revealed.

It seems as if the lab has ever swayed from there eugenic origins and is now the vanguard of prostate cancer research in African American men. Similar to Myriad Genetics, Cold Spring Harbor Labs have recently “discovered” a genetic variation that is linked to higher incidence of prostate cancer in African American men.


PCGEM1, a nucleic acid sequence that is useful for detecting, diagnosing, preventing, and treating prostate cancer and other prostate related diseases, has already received a patent. As well as the 8q24 genetic region, both having been found to be higher in prostate cancer cells in African-American men than in Caucasian-American men.

Even as history uncovers eugenic programs such as involuntary sterilization in places like the Southeastern United States. The living survivors of this eugenic ideology go ignored by the states which robbed them of their abilities to bear children. Even more-so by the newfangled “scientists” that claim their neo-eugenic research is justifiable due to “individual choice” and a lack of a “ministry of procreation.”


So what does all this mean??????

The Supreme Court is set to deliver a decision June 30.

Myriad Genetics stock recently rose up to its highest level since mid-2009, following Angelina Jolie’s double mastectomy to reduce her risk of breast cancer stemming from Myriad’s BRACAnalysis, which determines a woman’s risk of getting hereditary breast or ovarian cancer.


If these gene patents are ruled constitutional, tests and procedures will be monopolized. This will ultimately keep costs high and stunt innovations. Although these neo-eugenicists and big pharmaceutical companies follow an ideology, best described by Mr. Khan………

The reality is that eugenics in the 21st century will be driven from the “bottom-up,” through individual choice. Market forces and revealed preferences. There will be no ministry of procreation, or social engineering to sculpt the Übermensch.

There will indeed be a “ministry of procreation/social engineering” under the disguise of genetic tests that are exclusive to the wealthy, boasting price tags near $5000.00 per exam. By eliminating a majority of the population, eugenicists can rest assured that the only members of society that benefit from patented genes are those viewed as the most “fit.” (Or wealthy in this case)

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