Humankind may be changed radically by the recently developed technique allowing the safe gathering of thousands of immature eggs from a woman's ovarian tissue. This technique combined with cheap DNA sequencing and embryo selection will soon allow parents to multiply their newborn children's intellectual potential.
Some parents already use embryo selection to avoid conceiving children genetically predisposed to certain diseases. Here is how such embryo selection works. Let's say that a naturally conceived child of a certain couple has a 25% chance of being born with a fatal genetic disease. Rather than naturally conceiving a child, however, this couple might go to a fertility clinic. The clinic would remove, say, seven eggs from the woman and fertilize them with sperm from her husband. These fertilized eggs would become embryos. An embryo contains the full DNA of the child it could become. The clinic could therefore check each embryo to determine if it has the gene combination that would result in the fatal disease. The clinic would then destroy the embryos that have the fatal genes and implant one of the surviving embryos into the woman, insuring that the woman would not give birth to a child with the fatal genetic condition.
Now imagine how embryo selection will take place in the near future. By some predictions, within five years the cost of sequencing DNA will be "affordable enough that personal genomics will be integrated into routine clinical care." Once millions of people have their DNA sequenced researchers may quickly determine which combination of genes gives people the best chance of having a high IQ. Parents using embryo selection could, therefore, screen their embryos and pick the one with the greatest intellectual potential.
A recent advance in gathering eggs from women will make it much easier for choosey moms to give birth to geniuses. Two British fertility clinics have found a way of safely obtaining thousands of eggs from a woman. Fertility clinics, therefore, will soon be able to give a couple thousands of embryos to pick from. So let's say that a certain couple's genes mean that normally they have only a 1% chance of conceiving a child with the genetic potential to reach a genius IQ. With the ability to select among thousands of embryos, however, this couple could now almost guarantee that their offspring has the genetic potential of a genius.
Embryo selection gets even more interesting when we consider how a nation such as China might use it. Imagine that in ten years China forces all its college students to get genetic tests. Students with intelligence genes in the top 1% of the top 1% of humankind are then forced to donate sperm or eggs. China then uses the sperm and eggs to create a billion embryos each year. The genetic intellectual potential of all these embryos is checked. Those in the top 10,000 are implanted into women. Each of these embryos has the intellectual potential to be in the top one-billionth of humankind. Now because of environmental factors many of these embryos won't turn into intellectual titans. But let's say that one in ten does. This means that each year 1,000 people with the scientific ability of Einstein will be born. By 2035 they will become adults and start doing scientific research. I imagine these Einsteins will be rather helpful to China's economy and military.