In my third post on the Age of Malthusian Industrialism, I suggested:
Somebody should really do a GWAS for fertility preferences before the idiocracy takes over.
Happily, it looks like some people have already started doing that.
Barban, Nicola et al. (2017) – Genome-wide analysis identifies 12 loci influencing human reproductive behavior
The genetic architecture of human reproductive behavior—age at first birth (AFB) and number of children ever born (NEB)—has a strong relationship with fitness, human development, infertility and risk of neuropsychiatric disorders. However, very few genetic loci have been identified, and the underlying mechanisms of AFB and NEB are poorly understood. We report a large genome-wide association study of both sexes including 251,151 individuals for AFB and 343,072 individuals for NEB. We identified 12 independent loci that are significantly associated with AFB and/or NEB in a SNP-based genome-wide association study and 4 additional loci associated in a gene-based effort. These loci harbor genes that are likely to have a role, either directly or by affecting non-local gene expression, in human reproduction and infertility, thereby increasing understanding of these complex traits.
Here’s a very interesting graph from the paper:
Over time, the physiological and personality traits correlated with higher fertility will also become more prevalent in the population. This suggests our r-selected descendants will develop more of a propensity to:
- Earlier menopause
- Much earlier age of first intercourse
- Much higher incidence of twins
- Slightly more underweight babies
- Much less education
- More smoking
- More neuroticism; less autism; not much change in other indicators of personality
- Shorter, fatter, higher waist-hip ratios
Not good. 🙁