Sunday, April 13, 2008

Perfect Baby: all in the genes

Conceiving a child is no longer what it once was. With the latest technology and scientific advances couples are now opting to use preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) to select only the healthy embryos for implantation. A British couple’s aim for this choice of conceiving was to ultimately eradicate breast cancer, which they have an extensive family history of, from their family lines once and for all.

Although this procedure is quite common for screening for serious genetic disorders and diseases, a troubling fact is that depending on certain circumstances, an embryo carrying such genes could go to live on for 40 or 50 years before developing the disease or, it might never develop at all.

However, while the technology can go on to improve the health quality of the child there are fears that the science may head off in the wrong direction as the technology improves. Such uses of genetics would include parents being able to choose their children’s traits as seen in the movie “Gattaca”. There are many ethical and religious arguments on such a topic but it is quite plausible for what started out as making the world free of disease to warp into eugenic obsession for perfection.

Genomic science is racing toward a future in which foreseeable improvements include reduced susceptibility to a host of diseases, increased life span, better cognitive functioning. Hopefully, when technology advances to better stages, the science doesn’t lose sight of the original goal.
For more information, see:
Linda Lee - 41770641

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