Maladies ranging from schizophrenia to bipolar disorder have long been linked with heightened intelligence, says Jim Kozubek
No more cancer, but perhaps no more Shakespeares or Hawkings
Is wiping out cancer worth risking leaving the world without the next Thomas Edison or Stephen Hawking?
Biotech scientists now have the ability to “edit” human DNA in ways that could wipe out diseases like cancer, schizophrenia, and depression. Yes, this is Jurassic Park-level magic, and—at first blush—it’s an incredible tool.
But at least one scientist is worried these sorts of DNA changes could also eradicate future geniuses. The reason? Maladies ranging from schizophrenia to bipolar disorder have long been linked with heightened intelligence, says Jim Kozubek, a computational biologist and author of Modern Prometheus—a book about gene editing.
Data indicates that writers like Tennesse Williams are ten times more likely to suffer from bipolar disorder than the average person, and poets are 40 times more likely to have the issue. Kozubek also refers to autism as a possible “gift” that has been passed down through countless generations of human existence.
“Scientists tend to think of variations in life as problems to be solved,” Kozubek told a French news magazine. “In reality, Darwin showed us that evolution does not progress toward an ideal concept or model, but rather is a work of tinkering toward adaptation in local niches.”
Beyond his “Save the geniuses!” argument, Kozubek is making a larger point: All this gene-editing tech is so new that we can’t be sure just how messing with DNA may change us and the world around us.