Monday, September 25, 2006

Bring on Eugenics!

BBC News is running this story about how Allerca's selectively bred hypoallergenic cats are now on sale:

What are claimed to be the world's first specially bred hypoallergenic cats have gone on sale in the US.

US biotech firm Allerca says it has managed to selectively breed them by reducing a certain type of protein that triggers allergic reactions.

The company says the animals will not cause the red eyes, sneezing and even asthma triggered by cat allergy, except in the most acute cases.

Despite costing $3,950 (£2,104), there is already a waiting list to get one.

Allerca first started taking orders for hypoallergenic cats back in 2004.

From the CBS early show:

Slashdot first reported Allerca's intentions back in October of 2004, and then again last July when the first back of kittens were born. The big news is that they're now onsale.

I'll take this opportunity to ask again why we don't do this with people, or at least why we don't maintain stockbooks on humans. My concern is that medical records are typically scattered (I've lived in two states in my life, but I've had probably 5 or 6 "regular" doctors), and don't contain the kind of information we'd ever need to build a breeding record. And for humans, it's not just medical records, we'd want school records, sports performance, all kinds of information. The closest thing you find to this now are the preinterviews that are done for sperm donors, and that's only done for the donor.

As much as I'd like to selectively breed humans to tinker with the human condition, I know Hitler has ruined my chances of that ever happening (though he was a dolt -- he was creating another royal family full of colorblind hemophiliacs). I applaud the Genome project and the other research that's been done on the human condition, but so much more could be determined and predicted by looking back over a few generations to see how traits coalesce.

Brother Gregor Mendel and his peas can only take us so far kids.

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