Tag Archives: heredity

How to Genetically Engineer Your Children to Be Rich

18 May

a woman's face divided into a puzzle symbolizing genetic engineering

Designing the Perfect Human


Designer Babies-R-Us

There has been a lot of debate in the news lately about the fears of creating designer babies and the implications it could have on our society, and on future generations of humanity if those new genes get passed down.

But that’s no fun to talk about, so let’s see just how we could design the ultimate child.

In this article, we will discuss how to engineer your child to have the highest possible chance of being wealthy.  I mean super wealthy – like rose gold plated iPhone 6 wealthy.

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5 Things That Are Definitely NOT Genetic

16 Jul what traits are not genetic

Nature Vs. Nurture

There is much debate in the scientific community these days about what our genes can really tell us about ourselves. Some think that our environment plays a large role in how we look, what we enjoy, and what we end up doing with our lives. Others believe that our genes determines almost everything we do.

James Watson, leader of the Human Genome Project, claimed: “In large measure, our fate is in our genes.”

That may be true for many of our physical and biological traits, but not to worry. You do still have some freedom to make choice in your life. Even if those choices are… less than ideal.

Here is a list of 5 things that even James Watson cannot cure with advanced gene therapy.


1. Body Modification is NOT Genetic

body modification is not genetic

Believe it or not, there are dozens of ways to modify the human body. In fact, you probably know someone whose body has been modified in some way. Know anyone with breast implants, or body piercings, or both? (If so, have her email me!)

Body modification has actually been a practice in many cultures for hundreds if not thousands of years. Recently it has expanded into the West in the form of piercings, tongue slicing, and surgically implanted horns, spikes, and other anomalies.

And for those of you for whom tattoos are not permanent enough, there is even scarification, although I think all of these modifications would produce scars of some kind.


2. Mullets are NOT Genetic

Mullets are hereditary

This is a controversial topic as mullets are still prevalent in many retro cultural communities, leading many researchers to consider if the rate of mullets in a particular area might have a genetic cause. This fact is doubly concerning to genetic researchers because mullets do appear to be passed on from parents to children.

However, as of now no conclusive evidence has been shown that a mullet gene might exist, so we must currently conclude with the rest of the scientific community that some people actually cut their hair that way on purpose.


3. Beauty is NOT Genetic

genetics of beauty

The topic of women and the way they look is so powerful it fills volumes of books, magazines, and men’s locker rooms, and it appears that the topic will never be exhausted.

When we see a beautiful woman, we often say or think that she has great genes.  That is a completely fallacy.  Why?  Because we are not judging that woman based on her genetic ability to reproduce, we are judging her on the modern social standards of beauty.

The standards of beauty change all the time, especially in fashion.  What was incredibly beautiful 10 years ago may be laughable now.  Even today culture to culture the differences can be dramatic.  Western culture believes thin, angular women are more attractive, whereas other cultures prefer women with thick round body shapes – completely the opposite!

The desire to reproduce is, of course, genetic, but the definition of beauty which you have accepted that triggers the attraction is almost entirely socially created, and it is changing every day.  To prove this, just look at photos of “attractive” people from your parents’ generation and take note of your reaction to them.  Just a single generation can have drastically different versions of feminine beauty.


4. Bodybuilding is NOT Genetic

bodybuilding genetic freak

They call them genetic freaks. Men with muscles the size of my head, and heads the size of my torso (see Barry Bonds). Their arms are nearly 2 feet in circumference, and their body fat percentages are in the single digits. Surely a body structure like this must be genetic in origin…

This is wrong. They should be called hormonal freaks. The anabolic steroids used by bodybuilders in order to stimulate extreme muscle growth mimic the effects of testosterone in the body, which promotes protein synthesis, reduces the ability of cortisol to break down muscle tissue, and even increases bone growth. It has nothing to do with the individual’s genes. Steroids make muscles grow, period.

Where the “sport” aspect of bodybuilding comes in is in making the growth of those muscles symmetrical and at an ideal aesthetic ratio for the human body. Arnold Schwarzenegger is often credited as the first man who perfected the human physique during his time as the Mr. Olympia World Bodybuilding Champion.  He has admitted to steroid use, but he claims it wasn’t for muscle growth, it was for maintenance during off training periods. With an ability to spin words like that, he later become a politician.


5. Birthmarks are NOT Hereditary

birthmarks are genetic

Ok, this one is a bit tricky.  Birthmarks are genetic, but they are NOT hereditary. In other words, birthmarks are not passed down from parent to child.  In that sense they are not genetic traits that move from generation to generation.

However, birthmarks have been shown to have both genetic and non genetic causes.  Scientists for the most part aren’t really sure what causes birthmarks.  We do know that some birthmarks are caused by genetic mutations during the development of the fetus.

Sturge–Weber syndrome, which is related to port wine stains (PWS birthmarks) marks on the face, like the famous birthmark on ex-Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, has been shown to be caused by a genetic mutation after conception. The stains are caused by the malformation of capillaries in the skin.  The genetic mutation weakens these capillaries to the point that blood “stains” the skin.

So far, however, this is the only kind of birthmark for which a specific genetic cause has been found, and other vascular birthmarks are assumed not to be hereditary.

Some sources say 80% of babies are born with a birthmark, but most fade away by adolescence.



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5 Weird Things That Are Genetic

12 Jul photic sneeze reflex is genetic

photic sneeze reflex is genetic

  • Achoo syndrome is genetic.

The photic sneeze reflex is a genetic trait that causes people to sneeze when exposed to bright light. It is actually a dominant trait.

To test this genetic trait, go into a dark room (a bathroom with the lights out, a photo development room, a movie theater) and wait for your eyes to adjust to the darkness.  Then quickly exit the room and look at the a bright light, preferably the sun.  If you sneeze, then you are one of the 20-30% of the population afflicted with sun sneezing.  Most people with the photic sneeze reflex will sneeze 2-3 times when exposed to a bright light.

ACHOO comes from the acronym (or backronym): “Autosomal dominant Compelling Helio-Ophthalmic Outburst” – (ACHOO) syndrome.


  • Bitter tastes are genetic.

PTC taste is genetic

In 1931 a scientist names Aurthur Fox spilled a chemical powder called PTC next to his colleague.  The powder blew into the air and went into their mouths.  Dr. Fox tasted nothing but was surprised to find that his colleague complained of an extremely bitter taste.

They tested the chemical on more people and discovered that about 70% of people can taste PTC, and for the rest it is completely tasteless.  Genetic scientists discovered a genetic component for PTC taste receptors, and in 2003 they found the exact gene that codes for the taste receptor on our tongues.

There are about 30 genes that code for bitter taste receptors on the tongue.  These genes may determine whether or many vegetables, like broccoli, taste good to you or not.  Scientists think that the ability to taste bitter chemicals helped us survive in the wilderness by warning us when a plant might be poisonous.  No wonder some people hate veggies!  Their bodies think they might be poison!!!


  • Asparagus urine is genetic.

asparagus urine is genetic

When you eat asparagus, sulfur compounds in the vegetable quickly move into the urine.  As soon as 15-30 minutes after eating asparagus, many people report a strong odor in their urine.  As if we needed another reason not to want to eat asparagus.

When scientists studied the smell, they found that only some people could smell the odor, and not everyone’s urine smelled like sulfur.  Some people could smell it in their own urine and in others, while some people couldn’t smell it at all.

This lead geneticists to propose that there may be two separate genes at work – one that determines if your urine will smell bad after eating asparagus (a very important gene indeed), and one that determines if you can actually smell it.

It turns out that most people’s urine does smell bad when they eat asparagus, but only about 20% of people can actually smell it.


  • Cilantro tasting like soap is genetic.

cilantro (coriander) soap taste is genetic

Ever had someone slap you after they tried your new cilantro stuffed salsa?  Me neither, but apparently it’s a big problem.

It turns out that about 10-15% of the population has a set of genes that make cilantro taste like soap!  Cilantro has aldehyde chemicals in it that people are very sensitive to if they have a certain olfactory (smell) receptor gene.  The degree of soapiness can vary, but some people swear it tastes really really bad.

Also, the actual name for Cilantro is Coriander, which sounds much prettier but far less tasty.


  • Beeturia is genetic.

beeturia pink pee is genetic

(Don’t worry, that’s just beet juice in the picture above, I promise…)

When some people eat beets, their urine turns red, often totally freaking them out and causing many unnecessary visits to the doctor.

Turns out that there are red pigments in beets called betalain pigments that don’t always get broken down by the digestive system in certain people.  This condition actually has a name: beeturia (or betaninuria).

The inability to metabolize betalain pigments is genetic, but the intensity of the red urine varies greatly, and as such, the intensity is most likely determined by other factors.  It’s also a fantastic Halloween trick.


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