In this medical video learn how a scientist attempt to make the world smarter.
Read the full transcript »
Jennifer Matthews: Even at a young age, Leandra Ramm was a performer. Now at 22, she is an award-winning opera singer and has studied at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music. Leandra Ramm: I sang my whole life pretty much because my mom is a pianist, so I kind of, like, grew up with music. Was it her upbringing or her genes that made her talented? Leandra's parents couldn't conceive, so they selected a sperm donor. Not just any donor -- they got the sperm from the repository for germinal choice an operation that sold women genius sperm. David Ramm: I think every mother and father thinks that when they have a child it is going to be wonderful, beautiful and intelligent and talented, right? This was the same thing. Adrienne Ramm: It felt like the next best thing to having my own husband's sperm. Jennifer Matthews: Scientist Robert Graham came up with the idea hoping to create a generation of geniuses David Plotz: Thought too many stupid people were having too many children. Jennifer Matthews: David Plotz, author of The Genius Factory, tells Ivanhoe. He has researched the project for more than five years. David Plotz: What Robert Graham did is he turned infertility into a consumer business, and he turned sperm banks ... into catalog shopping. Jennifer Matthews: The donors were anonymous and color coded. "Fuchsia" was a world champion in his field, "Turquoise" headed a research lab, and "Moss" played the flute and the guitar. Adrienne picked Clear... Adrienne: Clear was a scientist, research scientist, and he had done important research in his field, and he loved music. Jennifer Matthews: But did it work? Leandra is clearly musically talented, and she tested in the gifted range with an IQ over 135. David Plotz: I think you have to look at who the mothers are. What kind of woman goes to a sperm bank that is known as the Nobel Prize sperm bank? It is a woman who is determined to raise a child who is going to be accomplished. Jennifer Matthews: The project left some wondering, what's next in the quest for smart kids? Scientist Lee Silver says there are ways to isolate genes associated with intelligence. Researchers have already bred a mouse with a larger cerebral cortex -- a key part of the brain that supports complex thinking. They've also engineered mice to remember new things as they age. But there are obstacles when it comes to doing this in humans. Dr. Lee Silver: The concept of intelligence isn't a single entity. Somebody may have talents in mathematics, but be a lousy writer. Jennifer Matthews: Silver says what you do with the talent is important. Dr. Lee Silver: You can be born with all the musical talent in the world, but if you don't practice the piano, you're not going to be a great musician. Jennifer Matthews: Leandra agrees. Leandra Ramm: It's definitely a combination between genes and the background that I had growing up, and I think I was really lucky to have great parents. Jennifer Matthews: Nature and nurture -- the combination she says makes for a winning performance. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.
Copyright © 2005 - 2014 Healthline Networks, Inc. All rights reserved for Healthline.