How many human breeds might there be?

A consensus of Kennel Clubs suggest that there are something between 300 and 400 dog breeds have been brought into the world, by a variety of methods of culling and selection of newly-born pups by human dog breeders. Could the same be done to produce a similar number of human breeds?

Certainly it could — although the equivalent results could be achieved without the cruelties involved in culling and other procedures which at present would be deemed unethical. We now have gene-editing methods which allow genes, or small parts of them, to be withdrawn from a fertilized egg — long before the life from can feel pain — and replaced by others.

Such is bound to happen one day when we need to evolve human breeds which can hibernate for years at a time while travelling to a distant planet — and yet wake up fresh as a daisy the next morning on arrival! In the meantime, however, will human breeds take off for much more trivial reasons? It’s an intriguing question that may start to trouble us — laypeople and professional geneticists alike — before too long.

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