May 17, 2012

Skew fitness and genetic screening

ThistledownBad seed is a robbery of the worst kind: prolific sperm donation and screening | Practical Ethics

I blog about the issue of kids being born from sperm donations sometimes coming down with genetic conditions: some of the screening is clearly unsatisfactory. But another contributing factor is correlation: some donors have a disproportionate number of offspring, so if they are unlucky they risk the health of a large group.

Hmm, the excessive donation issue sounds a lot like one of my standard arguments against government interventions. Stupid individual actions have local bad consequences, while stupid government actions scale up the consequences across society. Yet in this case it seems that thanks to the Matthew effect free choice might lead to "clumpy" reproduction where a few favoured donors get a disproportionally large brood.

Posted by Anders3 at May 17, 2012 04:18 PM