Posts tagged traits
So-called “designer babies” have generated fervent discussion in recent weeks, sparked by the latest online dating trend: a sperm and egg bank with the goal to make beautiful people. For some, genetic manipulation is a moral necessity, for others it is an ethical outrage. We are reminded of the eugenics movement.
“Better Babies” contests, originally conceived to promote child welfare and physical development, were the first eugenics contests run at a state fairs (the first held in 1908). By 1920, “Fitter Families” contests were also held at state fairs, where human “stock” was judged alongside cows, pigs, and produce. Contestants completed More >
Understanding the inheritance of eye color has been a challenge for decades. Most parents try to make their best guess about their unborn child’s eye color, hoping for that warm brown or the more rare bright blue outcome.
Davenport and other eugenicists oversimplified eye-color inheritance early in the last century, and we have since come to discover that several genes determine eye color.
Recently, a group in the Netherlands has taken our understanding a step further by using high resolution imaging and More >
Eugenicists looked at a diversity of “traits” and asserted that many of them were genetically inherited, excluding any other cause. The subjects of the studies often came from unique populations, including circus performers, residents in mental institutions, and even historical figures, long deceased.
A quick search in the Eugenics Archive reveals some of the traits studied by Eugenicists:
Civic leadership Musical ability Dressmaking Epilepsy Dwarfism Giantism Carpentry Deafness Eye color Insanity Longevity Shiftlessness Cancer Blindness Albinism Hemophilia Boat building Degeneracy Poverty Feeblemindedness Cleft palate Hare lip Manic depression Hair color, texture Polydactyly Height Literary ability Inventiveness Color blindness Mechanical skill Artistic ability More >