I have Asperger Syndrome and I was thinking if in a future which parents can use Genetic Engineering to choose the characteristics of their offspring many of them would choose their children to have Asperger which is a mild form of autism. It is called High functioning autism.

People with Asperger often have higher than average intelligence abd by the way many genius in history had such syndrome like Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein. Aspies have more neurons and synapses than neurotypical people hence many aspies are smarter.

I read some news saying that autism cases are increasing in many countries but if parents could choose their children to be aspies how much stigma would be attached to it given the advantages of Asperger Syndrome?

The world could become full of extremely intelligent people albeit with poor social skills and poor social maturity.

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    $\begingroup$ Fellow Asperger here: High Functioning Autism is not a synonym of Asperger's. And not nearly all Aspies are high functioning, or have it to a mild degree. "Maybe people are better off with it" is in my opinion a misguided self defense mechanism. The condition should be treated seriously and I personally would not wish it on anyone. $\endgroup$
    – KeizerHarm
    Jan 10 at 23:34
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    $\begingroup$ I am absolutely sure that Sir Isaac Newton died almost two centuries before Herr Professor Doktor Johann Friedrich Karl Asperger was born. Unless the Austrian pediatrist had the ability to travel through time, he definitely did not examine King William's Master of the Mint. (While Newton was indeed a bit eccentric, he did hold public office. He was President of the Royal Society, Member of Parliament, and Master of the Mint. As Master of the Mint he pushed for changing the official ratio of the values of gold and silver; and he personally pursued and apprehended counterfeiters.) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Jan 10 at 23:38
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    $\begingroup$ I also don't have time for a full answer, but the only way I can see your scenario work is if someone discovers some keystone "Asperger's gene" that they can easily manipulate in any embryo - before we are so good at designing babies that we can engineer them to have all of the advantages to mathematical/abstract reasoning, without the sometimes crippling social disorder that comes with it. $\endgroup$
    – KeizerHarm
    Jan 10 at 23:41
  • $\begingroup$ Suggest that this is likely to be closed as opinion-based. There are lots of potential parents in the world and no way to predict what choices they will make regarding their children when options are available. For example, lots of couples in China under 1-child policy chose to have a son, but the next generation is seeing the problem with the resulting gender imbalance and may choose differently. There's a short story exploring this idea - can't remember the name, but the protagonist was one of the few "super-smart" ones, most parents chose otherwise. $\endgroup$ Jan 10 at 23:43
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    $\begingroup$ So you have the technology then why not just focus on the "intelligence" part instead? Or is it the side effects of the tech? $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Jan 11 at 0:01

1 Answer 1


As this question seems to be more a question of social views rather than technical aspects, I'll avoid the latter for this question.

To my knowledge, aspergers is not really the preferred term these days, and has been phased out in favor of just referring to it as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and so will refer to it thusly.

So, to start, designer babies are an interesting thing. Although we've had the power to do gene editing for decades now, experimentation on humans has been very slow and lethargic.

People get rather apprehensive about it, and rightly so. At minimum it is easy to mess something up accidentally, and give someone cancer. If you take it to a different area of concern, there are many who feel that it is an act of playing God, that it is arrogantly saying we can "fix" what he created.

A whole breadth of these kinds of moral concerns will come from everyone. In the end though, designer babies will become a thing - as there is the moral problem on the other side, of if you have the power to do something like remove the genetic inclination for a family history of heart disease in your child, and you are not, then... that's rather disconcerting...

And so, designer babies will likely start off here. Let's cure cystic fibrosis, down syndrome, and other things we know are not desired.

But ASD can get really complicated, especially when you get onto the tail end of things. I have some sort of ASD disorder, likely executive functioning issues. I hate that it makes it harder for me to be motivated to do anything, and makes planning difficult also.

And yet I also possess a strong ability to remember tons of facts that I can draw from at any time. I have a pretty good ability to pick up a lot of different creative interests.

My point is, at what point does it stop being a "disorder" and starts becoming "personality?"

These kind of questions are what scientists, doctors, and parents will have to reason with. Are the beneficial sides of ASD separate from the negatives, or are they connected?

If I give my child ASD to some degree on purpose, and then he or she grows up to be extremely antisocial and unhappy, are you the parent to blame for their problems?

These kind of questions are going to give a lot of parents pause. There will be some who are conspiratorial, refusing to "jab" their children for anything, even cancer. There will be others who are super impulsive "I can make my child's skin blue! That sounds awesome!"

I think most people will allow some genetic therapy when it becomes available, especially if the disorder is something severe like cancer, cystic fibrosis, crohn's disease, etc.

I can imagine there being a big push against "aesthetic" or unnecessary genetic modifications. The idea of that sounds extremely dystopian to a lot of people, and so I imagine a number of people will resist it.

I can see it leading to increased interest in post birth modification, allowing consenting adults to do whatever they want with themselves, maybe using something like an engineered virus as a delivery system.

This of course, is all speculation. People will do strange things, and this century will have a number of great transformations in genetics.

I think that the pandemic however has been a good microcosm of what to look for. Not necessarily people reacting in the exact same way, but showing what kinds of people will likely do what.


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