February 6, 2006

A Triumph of Jewish Eugenics

The Jewish Week reports:

The Vanquishing Of Tay-Sachs

The fatal genetic disease has almost disappeared among Jews thanks to aggressive screening — and the efforts of two parents.

By then, the Tay-Sachs screening procedure ... had become commonplace among potential mates and parents-to-be. The screening, discovered in 1969, meant that “Tay-Sachs was 95 percent eliminated” in American Jewry, a speaker at the dinner announced. Prominent Jewish organizations quickly advocated Tay-Sachs screening, and the disease’s incidence plummeted by the mid 1970s, remaining low since then.

Today, according to recent figures, of the 20 or so children diagnosed with Tay-Sachs in the U.S. each year, only a handful are Ashkenazi Jews, like the Dunkells. The rest are members of the Cajun community of Louisiana or are French-Canadians living near the St. Lawrence River, who have not undergone screening as frequently as American Jews...

Today, most Jewish couples undergo the screening, either before marriage (Orthodox couples do not generally approve of abortions, so Orthodox carriers either choose to marry other mates or adopt) or after conception (for people for whom abortion is an alternative when the fetus is found to have the disease.)

Some couples who are unwilling to consider terminating a pregnancy can also do an in-vitro fertilization that involves an analysis of the embryo’s DNA.

Despite reports in the media about the decline in Tay-Sachs, because of the Jewish community’s openness to Tay-Sachs screening the achievement of nearly wiping it out is not widely known.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

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