Born to be ... anyone you want - Metro US

Born to be … anyone you want

Drawing the Future: Youth of today are in control of what their lives will look like in 2031. Metro teamed up with a group of young writers to get a glimpse of what the future holds.

Ever wonder what you were born to be? The next Katy Perry? Or Sidney Crosby? Well, 20 years from now, you won’t be wondering — you’ll know.

Here’s how: Genetic screening in early childhood will detect specific genes that offer a predisposition to certain skills, allowing parents to direct their children toward careers that they were just born to have.

“There are already options available to test for things like traits,” said Jill Davies, director of genetics at Medcan Clinic in Toronto. “You can predict what a person’s eye colour will be, or whether they’re going to be sprint runners.”

Consider this: ACTN3 is a gene found in many elite-level athletes. A variation in this gene can determine whether an individual is predisposed to success in endurance sports, speed and power sports, or a combination of the two.

“You can make predictions about large groups of people,” said Jim Rupert, associate professor at the University of British Columbia. “If we took every Canadian teenager who has this particular variant [of ACTN3] and trained them all for sprinting, we would probably get more good sprinters than if we just trained young Canadians randomly.”

What does this mean? By 2031, children will be able to hone the skills they are genetically inclined toward excelling.

Genetic predisposition is not limited to athletic ability. Perfect pitch, the ability to recognize or recreate a musical note, is another trait that may be genetically linked.

Dr. Joseph Profita at the University of California has hypothesized that perfect pitch is carried by a single gene and, as such, children with parents who exhibit perfect pitch have a 50 per cent chance of inheriting that trait. In 20 years, 50 per cent could become 100 per cent if two genetically predisposed parents have kids.

In 2031, technology will be able to offer insight into a child’s skills, strengths and attributes. Is that a good thing? Yes — because we will also remember that success comes not only with the gift, but with what we do with it.

Emily Faubert, 17, is a Grade 12 International Baccalaureate student in Mississauga, Ont. She is an aspiring novelist who hopes to use her writing to explain world issues such as animal testing and human rights in an understandable and engaging format.

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