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The Genius Factory: The Curious History of the Nobel Prize Sperm Bank

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The Genius Factory: The Curious History of the Nobel Prize Sperm Bank Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

It was the most radical human-breeding experiment in American history, and no one knew how it turned out. The Repository for Germinal Choice–nicknamed the Nobel Prize sperm bank–opened to notorious fanfare in 1980, and for two decades, women flocked to it from all over the country to choose a sperm donor from its roster of Nobel-laureate scientists, mathematical prodigies, successful businessmen, and star athletes. But the bank quietly closed its doors in 1999–its founder dead, its confidential records sealed, and the fate of its children and donors unknown. In early 2001, award-winning columnist David Plotz set out to solve the mystery of the Nobel Prize sperm bank.

Plotz wrote an article for Slate inviting readers to contact him–confidentially–if they knew anything about the bank. The next morning, he received an email response, then another, and another–each person desperate to talk about something they had kept hidden for years. Now, in The Genius Factory, Plotz unfolds the full and astonishing story of the Nobel Prize sperm bank and its founder’s radical scheme to change our world.

Believing America was facing genetic catastrophe, Robert Graham, an eccentric millionaire, decided he could reverse the decline by artificially inseminating women with the sperm of geniuses. In February 1980, Graham opened the Repository for Germinal Choice and stocked it with the seed of gifted scientists, inventors, and thinkers. Over the next nineteen years, Graham’s “genius factory” produced more than two hundred children.

What happened to them? Were they the brilliant offspring that Graham expected? Did any of the “superman” fathers care about the unknown sons and daughters who bore their genes? What were the mothers like?

Crisscrossing the country and logging countless hours online, Plotz succeeded in tracking down previously unknown family members–teenage half-brothers who ended up following vastly different paths, mothers who had wondered for years about the identities of the donors they had selected on the basis of code names and brief character profiles, fathers who were proud or ashamed or simply curious about the children who had been created from their sperm samples.

The children of the “genius factory” are messengers from the future–a future that is bearing down on us fast. What will families be like when parents routinely “shop” for their kids’ genes? What will children be like when they’re programmed for greatness? In this stunning, eye-opening book, one of our finest young journalists previews America’s coming age of genetic expectations.

From the Hardcover edition.

Synopsis:

A fascinating study of a radical experiment in human breeding describes the recruitment of Nobel Prize winners and other accomplished men as donors to a genius sperm bank, whose mission was to breed a cadre of brilliant scientists and leaders, profiling both a number of the donors and the children fathered through the sperm bank. 30,000 first printing.

About the Author

David Plotz is deputy editor of the online magazine Slate. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and two children.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781588364708
Subtitle:
The Curious History of the Nobel Prize Sperm Bank
Publisher:
Random House
Author:
Plotz, David
Author:
David Plotz
Subject:
Science-Life Sciences - Genetics & Genomics
Subject:
Science : Life Sciences - Genetics & Genomics
Subject:
Life Sciences - Genetics & Genomics
Subject:
Health Care Delivery
Subject:
History
Subject:
Intellect
Subject:
Sperm banks.
Subject:
Biology-Genetics
Subject:
History of Science-General
Subject:
Science Reference-General
Subject:
main_subject
Subject:
all_subjects
Publication Date:
20050607
Binding:
ELECTRONIC
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
262

Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Medical Specialties
Reference » General
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Genetics
Science and Mathematics » History of Science » General

The Genius Factory: The Curious History of the Nobel Prize Sperm Bank
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Product details 262 pages Random House - English 9781588364708 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , A fascinating study of a radical experiment in human breeding describes the recruitment of Nobel Prize winners and other accomplished men as donors to a genius sperm bank, whose mission was to breed a cadre of brilliant scientists and leaders, profiling both a number of the donors and the children fathered through the sperm bank. 30,000 first printing.
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