Study on facial hair

Published this week in Nature:
A genome-wide association scan in admixed Latin Americans identifies loci influencing facial and scalp hair features

Much of this goes way over my head, but there seems to be a specific genetic foundation for pretty much every aspect of hair growth and appearance. Maybe genetic treatments for hair removal are now more likely with more research?

There’s no paywall and you can read the whole article. I would love to read comments from some of the experts here.

Medical research on genetically manipulation costs a lot of money (hundreds of thousand dollars/euro). The goal of big medical research is not about wasting money : if a research costs a lot, scientists hope to create medication and sell it to earn money back. An other case : states and international organizations or even citizen movement can also participate investing money in research for cancer, AIDS…

Just a little question : what is the interest of scientists/farmacology multinational in doing genetic manipulation for hair removal ? Or for creating “hairless human”?

There is still exist permanent hair removal sistem so why genetic manipulation ? Who could afford a genetic manipulation for hair removal even if it would be possible ?

There’s a lot of ethical concerns whenever genetic manipulation of humans comes up. Even if you were to totally ignore that, it would probably be cost prohibitive for decades even after they figured out how to do it.

We’re actually on the cusp of incredibly cheap genetic modification, using a technology called CRISPR. The short version, is we can modify bacteria, with regard how it fights viruses, to rip out unwanted slices of DNA, while, at the same time, introducing corrected pieces to fill in the gap.

How cheap do I mean by cheap? It costs about $25 in the lab to do in small scale (cellular treatment in a petri dish, not enough to work on an entire adult, and not sequenced to a specific individual’s DNA, total, we might be looking at a couple thousand dollars plus profit for those involved).

Scientists are still working on it, but some are already working on genetically engineering other species with it and are talking about using it on human embryos too… imagine a world without AIDS, cancer, and other disorders that have a genetic markers - either through their own virus mechanisms or human chromosomes.

We could have a world without asthma, cystic fibrosis, hemophilia, sickle-cell, etc… even something as trivial as baldness can be eliminated from the gene pool. Sounds great, right?

We could also theoretically have a world without gay people, transgender people, etc (ok, not all of that is necessarily genetic-only, there’s also evidence to show for in vitro processes causing it)… to borrow a word from Gattaca, no more “de-generates.”

Welcome to the world of eugenics, where everyone is either identically perfect or an outcast. That sets up another discussion about monoculture and long term species survivability and whether it’s healthy to put all of our eggs in one basket. As the plague spread across Europe, humanity survived, in part, because some people had a genetic difference that made them more resistant to it.

In the end, technology is just a tool and it has no will of its own. It can be used for good or evil… it’s up for us to decide what is good or evil, and whether the societal cost is worth it.