Narrator: Researchers now know that the possession of one sickle cell gene can, in at least one sense, be considered an advantage.
Their work has shown that people with a single gene have a high degree of protection against malaria, once considered to be
the greatest disease scourge in some parts of the world.
Linus Pauling: Now of course malaria is no longer a scourge in the United States and in other countries, and so being a sickle cell heterozygote
is not of any advantage, and yet the defective children with sickle cell anemia continue to be born. And that is a way of
getting rid of the gene now that it no longer is of value. When these defective children die, they carry two sickle cell genes
out of existence; consequently the gene will slowly disappear.
A man who has worked in this field, Dr. Anthony Allison - he is an Englishman who is responsible for having shown that the
sickle cell gene protects against malaria - has calculated that among the Negro population in the United States the incidence
of the gene has dropped from about twenty percent to about ten percent, at the expense of much suffering. If the children
were not to be born, that would be a better way of getting rid of this deleterious gene, not at the cost of human suffering
but by the use of human intelligence.