I'm intrigued with the possibility described in Is it plausible to make human gametes from different parent chromosomes?. Assuming that humanity developed technology that allows us to make sperm and eggs from chromosomes of different people.

Do we know now which chromosome influences which traits for such technology to be useful? Or alternatively could we learn that in near future , say till 2030.

The only thing I could find is that we know which chromosome hosts genes for certain diseases.

It would be great if say parents want their daughter to have great vocal chords so they could swap 11th chromosome from one provided by Mariah Carey. If they want to be good at physics they will use 20th chromosome from Donna Strickland. To make the girl tall 9th chromosome from Taylor Hill and so on. The rest of the chromosomes are from the parents.

closed as off-topic by Mołot, user535733, L.Dutch Nov 10 at 12:26

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question does not appear to be about worldbuilding, within the scope defined in the help center." – Mołot, user535733, L.Dutch
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    This question is better suited for Biology. You can leave out the reference to the other question. – Jan Doggen Nov 10 at 10:30
  • Agree with @JanDoggen. Drop the WB stuff and just ask biology.WE "Do we know which traits reside in which chromosome? If not, how about the next 15 years?" – RonJohn Nov 10 at 11:18
  • Since there are only 23 chromosomes and each one holds a lot of genes, swapping chromosomes is a like using an atomic bomb to kill a fly. Thus, the premise of your question ("swap 11th chromosome from one provided by Mariah Carey") is flawed. – RonJohn Nov 10 at 11:28
  • We know a nightmarish out about the way humanity is coded.. we could release viral vectors that gradually dumb down humanity for example. But some things are the gestalt effects of many genes and environmental processes and may never be fully understood. – Richard Nov 10 at 11:32
  • @Richard we "release(d) viral vectors that gradually dumb down humanity" on the day the first TV stations powered up... – RonJohn Nov 10 at 11:38
up vote 2 down vote accepted

No, we do not. For a good analogy, consider if the person you are could be described by a million little square check-boxes on an App. But every time you click one of these boxes, other boxes get checked, and other boxes that were checked get unchecked, and you can't tell why.

So, if you check the box for "Tall", you also get checks in "aggressive", "loner", "leader". If you check the box for "high intelligence", you also get the boxes for "superiority complex", "insubordinate", "social anxiety", "prone to brain cancer", and so on.

I'm not saying it would not be worth picking, particularly to eliminate some of the worst negatives that can happen; almost anything is better than birthing a child likely to die before they are twenty, or likely to be miserable and outcast all their lives, and some genetic diseases can do that.

But all the genes interact, and we haven't even got a complete list of what proteins they make, much less a remotely complete description of every biochemical process going on in our bodies. Even that checklist I described is a fantasy, we do know a few genes that seem to control certain traits, but we have no clue HOW they do that.

The genes that seem to be singular (like one for red hair) are celebrated, but very far from the norm. And having red hair may increase the chance for skin melanomas.

It will likely be many decades before we can sort this stuff out, and then, like I said, there will be 250 genes that can work in concert to make somebody highly intelligent, but every one of them has various negative side-effects on personality, empathy, sympathy, or even physical disabilities or short-comings or being prone to various diseases, that all come as part of the package.

Most traits that vary amongst us come from variants of genes (or variance in the number of times a gene sequence is repeated). It is very unlikely we can engineer a way to get the positive trait brought by some variant of a gene and not get the negative trait along with it. For example, light colored eyes are sensitive to bright light; dark colored eyes are not. If you find very light blue eyes (aka silver eyes) beautiful, they will be very sensitive to bright lights, perhaps to the point of pain.

Because the underlying variant is a physical thing in every cell and there is no decision power. The positive traits can simply come at the expense of the negative traits.

  • In principle a good answer, but while the checkbox analogy is not bad, a more realstric version would have ~30.000 'input' sliders(genes), each of which would (differently) effect another set of output sliders for traits - biology is inherently analog, not digital. Also slight nitpick: there definitely are genes with (e.g.) one version (isoform) for the brain and one for the lung. – Nicolai Nov 10 at 12:32
  • @Nicolai I edited to correct. – Amadeus Nov 10 at 13:56

(I'm going to answer the question, but substitute "gene" for "chromosome".)

There are soooo many traits, soooo many genes, multiple genes affect each trait, hormones (including while in utero) and stress affect their "expression" (how/if they work), that it's doubtful we'll ever discover all of them.

Besides, there will be side effects. For example, what traits make you great at physics? Do they also make you more likely to have OCD, Aspergers and be absentminded?

Lastly, this reminds me of the 30 year search for the "gay gene". There isn't one.


Are all men who have the “gay” variants of these genes gay?

No, says Sanders, because many other factors play a role, including the environment. “There are probably multiple genes involved, each with a fairly low effect,” he says. “There will be men who have the form of gene that increases the chance of being gay, but they won’t be gay.”

  • 1
    AND, since homosexuality is highly correlated with whether or not an androsterone surge occurred (or did not) in utero, and this is controlled by the mother's placenta, that the genes controlling homosexuality are in the mother and not entirely inherited by the gay child. An XY fetus typically experiences this surge, which also controls brain organization; an XX fetus typically does not. But there are physical manifestations we can measure in adulthood; and people that got the opposite of typical tend toward homosexuality. Not because of their genes, but their mother's. – Amadeus Nov 10 at 12:00

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.