October 30, 2009
J. Craig Venter
J. Craig Venter Institute
Medical Center Drive
Rockville, Maryland 20850
Dear Dr. Venter:
There is something I hope you will take an interest in, nay I implore you to take an interest in it. Commercial DNA studies are advertised to be able to establish kinship out to the degree of separation of an uncle. It might well be a technical challenge, but it should be possible to extend that principle out as far as fifth cousin. That is important because, according to a study published in Iceland last year, if two people marry and their degree of separation is any greater than that, they will have severely reduced fertility. The proof with references and the importance of this are clarified on the enclosed DVD. If you want more evidence I am posting it, along with this open letter, on nobabies.net, which is my web site.
If you do take an interest, of course please give me a call and I can walk you through the data.
Once the test is available, it would be possible to calibrate it against expected fertility by testing a number of couples, some with large families and some with small. They should be forty or older, healthy, have been married to no one else and all their children should be healthy to make the analysis simpler. In fact, if you are too busy, maybe you know a kid who could do it as a high school science project.
Seriously it is a little more complicated than that. The effect accumulates over multiple generations. So you need also to measure the homozygosity of each parent and take that into account.
In a world that has too many people already, it may seem odd to suggest a means for people to have more babies, but as the DVD will show, fertility is in freefall worldwide. While we might be lucky enough to survive a temporary population excess, the bottom is a place from which no population can return, certainly not with science and literacy intact.
I truly hope to hear from you.
M. Linton Herbert MD
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