Imagine a world with ubiquitous DNA tests….

By Razib Khan | October 16, 2011 9:53 am

I thought of that when stumbling upon this story of Spanish babies being sold to adoptive parents, while the biological parents were told that the baby had died:

“The father of a friend of mine admitted to him that both he and I had been bought from a priest and a nun from Zaragoza after being born in the Miguel Servet hospital,” said Antonio Barroso, who discovered four years ago that he was adopted. DNA tests have proved that the people who raised him were not his real parents.

“There are cases that are accompanied by proof in the form of DNA tests and others that are simply mothers who suspect that their babies were stolen,” said lawyer Enrique Vila, who represents the National Association of Irregular Adoptions. “We think it was an organised mafia.”

Some of the people who want to expose this practice in terms of its magnitude are trying to make the case for coordinated international DNA databases (some of the babies were sent abroad). That’s not possible now, but in 10 years in may be. To ascertain relatedness is actually rather easy, but by that point many people in the developed world will have their full genomes. At that point we’ll also get a better sense of the scale of cuckoldry (I suspect that the frequency is less than people assume). More disturbingly we’ll also get a better understanding of the prevalence of incest.

All of this ties back I think to the issues about how exposing your genetic information to the public impacts your family. I don’t necessarily think at a discussion of these issues is useless or unwarranted, but, I do hope that we can prioritize our concerns, because there’s going to be a lot to talk about….

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Personal Genomics
MORE ABOUT: Personal genomics
  • Emil

    [Written in reformed spelling.

    I dont see anything disturbing about incest sex in itself. Wen peeple normaly think of incest, they think of father-dauter relationships wher the dauter is not the age of consent and is not consenting eether. Many incestuos relationships ar not of that kind but ar still lookd down upon and ar ilegal in most countrys. Eeven wen they produs no children, in wich case ther is not eeven genetic reesons to be worryd.

    I hav been looking around the net to find good reesons to ilegalize incest sex in itself but hav not found any such reeson. I think we shud legalize incest sex. It is debatble wether one shud insted make it ilegal to hav children with clos relativs. If the reesoning is that peeple shud not be allowed to hav children with bad geens (or hy probability of such), then we shud consider ilegalizing a huj number of peeple from having children, both the retarded and other peeple with heritble diseeses. Or at leest force peeple to do proper pre-natal tests and abort feetuses with bad geens.

  • ackbark

    #1. This is what Stephen Hawking’s voice synthesizer gets up to while he’s asleep.


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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at


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