Has The Era Of Genetically Pure “Gattaca Babies” Now Begun?
By Michael Snyder
July 7th, 2013
Should selective breeding be used to improve the human race? Should we genetically screen embryos shortly after conception and choose only those that are the most genetically pure? This may sound like science fiction, but as you will read about below, the technology for this is already operational. On the 18th of May, a couple in Philadelphia gave birth to a baby that came from an embryo that was selected thanks to a cutting edge procedure known as “next-generation sequencing”. This procedure allows scientists to read every letter of the human genome very rapidly and very cheaply. So will millions of parents soon be lining up to check their potential offspring for “genetic abnormalities”? Has the era of genetically pure “Gattaca babies” now begun?
This new technology is being heralded as a great “breakthrough” in the field of human fertility. According to the Guardian, the scientists that helped develop this new procedure are promoting it as a way to help couples produce a much higher percentage of “healthy” babies…
The first IVF baby to be screened using a procedure that can read every letter of the human genome has been born in the US.
Connor Levy was born on 18 May after a Philadelphia couple had cells from their IVF embryos sent to specialists in Oxford, who checked them for genetic abnormalities. The process helped doctors at the couple’s fertility clinic in the US select embryos with the right number of chromosomes. These have a much higher chance of leading to a healthy baby.
The birth demonstrates how next-generation sequencing (NGS), which was developed to read whole genomes quickly and cheaply, is poised to transform the selection of embryos in IVF clinics.