DNA talent tests for kids: Way ahead of the science (but still for sale)
“The Inborn Talent Genetic Test” promises to help parents identify their children’s “hidden talents that may not be obvious at young age … it also reveals some personality traits that the child may possess, judging from his/her genetic make-up.”
Ever wonder if the marketing for DNA tests is getting a little out of hand? (Uh ... is the publishing industry threatened by the Internet?) Go to The Stuff of Life blog for examples of some iffy-sounding services.
One of them is “The Inborn Talent Genetic Test,” which “reveals the inherited and endowed inborn talents of a child scientifically from the genetic makeup of his/her DNA. The test result will therefore help parents identify their children’s hidden talents that may not be obvious at young age … it also reveals some personality traits that the child may possess, judging from his/her genetic make-up.”
There’s an informational video that the Inborn Talent website urges you to watch “if you end up doing nothing else today,” because the information is “critical” and “will affect and impact both the childhood and the adulthood of your child.” It warns that, without the info the test can provide, “you may be unconsciously forcing your child to do something that he or she really dislikes doing.”
And there is a long, long funny page filled with DNA images and references to the “Drawing Gene” or “Intelligence Gene” or “Self Detoxifying Gene” as well as lots of Visa/MasterCard logos and test-ordering hyperlinks that say things like “Wow, This will be the best christmas gift for my child! I want my child’s report now.”
I mean, Lord knows you’d never get a sense of what a kid is good at, or likes to do, or whether they’re shy or outgoing by simply watching them and giving them opportunities.
As the blogger discusses, for all the techy talk, even well-respected researchers in the field of genomics are struggling to come up with clear, verified links between complicated traits and specific genes. (One recent example: Researchers are still arguing over a widely reported study in Science on genes linked to extreme old age. Some researchers have doubts about the analysis.)
The site makes for pretty funny reading — unless, of course, you’re one of the kids getting tested and getting forced out of drawing class because you don’t have the “drawing gene” and shoved into fast-stream math instead. (Or vice versa.) And as the Stuff of Life blogger notes, “For now, such websites will only affect those credulous enough to believe the manufactured science. But the genomics juggernaut is on a roll, bringing with it more robust links between personality traits and DNA sequence. When predictive testing finally comes of age, should we allow children to be tested? And if so, how will we ensure that eager parents are aware of the caveats, subtleties and statistics that hang off each data point?”
Thanks to the genetics news site “The Daily Scan” for alerting us to this item.