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Human Performance OptimizationThe Science and Ethics of Enhancing Human Capabilities$
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Michael D. Matthews and David M. Schnyer

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190455132

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190455132.001.0001

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Optimizing Cognitive PerformanceGenetic and Epigenetic Techniques

Optimizing Cognitive PerformanceGenetic and Epigenetic Techniques

(p.287) 13 Optimizing Cognitive PerformanceGenetic and Epigenetic Techniques
Human Performance Optimization

Valerie E. Martindale

Oxford University Press

Optimizing human cognitive performance by genetic and epigenetic means requires consideration of the goal and context of the desired cognitive performance. This chapter considers two examples to illustrate how optimization will depend on deciding what qualities are desired, defining such traits or phenotypes, and then considering the environment in which genes are expressed. The warrior/worrier gene provides a way to explore the alteration of a single gene with simple dominance. The most commonly desired genetic cognitive trait, intelligence, is considered as an example of a multigenic trait. The genetic techniques for optimization of human cognition are described using plasmid introduction, direct gene editing, and genetic alteration of the microbiome. The approval of three medical genetic therapies in 2017 indicates a high probability that genetic enhancement will become possible in less than 20 years.

Keywords:   intelligence, phenotype, multigenic, plasmid, CRISPR, microbiome, heritability, warrior gene

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