Monday, December 1, 2008

Put on Your Genes and Play

Ed doesn't often contribute in this space (at least not yet) but this item was too good for him to pass up...

One of my former colleagues at The New York Times wrote a piece over the weekend about how there is a DNA test that can determine whether your child has any kind of athletic ability.

Yes, for the low, low price of $149, these scientists can determine whether your son or daughter is better suited for "speed and power sports like sprinting or football, or endurance sports like distance running, or a combination of the two" based on how much of a certain gene they have.

(And yes, even the scientists behind this stuff admit it's not 100 percent accurate since it doesn't account for things like motivation, resources or just plain luck.)

Now, we all know about "those" parents who push their kids in a certain direction and we all at one time or another have daydreamed about our kids maybe doing this or that someday.

But I'm curious to hear from other parents about something else: if there was a sure-fire test out there that would be able to determine what your kids were good at, would you want to know?

Speaking strictly for myself, I'm not so sure.


Jen said...

I think if our boys took this test the results would be "study hard instead!"

Belle said...

I saw this article, and laughed. Mostly though, because it seemed so ridiculous that anything accurate could come of such a test. But, if there was a way to really determine what my children could be good at? I would want to know because I want to plan and I like to reduce uncertainty. But, at the same time, it would take away the excitement of the discovery process. And it might persuade me to not enroll my kid in something that they wouldn't be that great at, even if they really wanted to do it. It would only account for their genetics, not their motivation and any unique opportunities that might come their way. So, I would hope that even though I would be tempted to find out, I wouldn't.

Jen's DH said...


You're about as pragmatic about this as I am. I would like to know for planning purposes, but I couldn't shake the feeling that if I were to find out, that it'd be like somebody spoiling the ending of a great movie. Except that this great movie is my sons' lives.

Just as a minor example: when we went ice skating last week, it was such a joy to discover that Noe did really well with it even though it was his first time. If I had known ahead of time? Ho-hum.

But yes, this test seems preposterous. And yet, you KNOW parents are lining up for it. What a racket!