DNA Testing of Parents to Paint Picture of Babies’ Health Before Birth

A blood test for pregnant women and a saliva test for expectant fathers are all researchers now need to map out nearly the entire genome of a fetus, according to a new study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.  The New York Times reports:

The accomplishment heralds an era in which parents might find it easier to know the complete DNA blueprint of a child months before it is born.

That would allow thousands of genetic diseases to be detected prenatally. But the ability to know so much about an unborn child is likely to raise serious ethical considerations as well. It could increase abortions for reasons that have little to do with medical issues and more to do with parental preferences for traits in children.

“It’s an extraordinary piece of technology, really quite remarkable,” said Peter Benn, professor of genetics and developmental biology at the University of Connecticut, who was not involved in the work. “What I see in this paper is a glance into the future.”

Image: DNA test, via Shutterstock.

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  1. by jessica lester

    On June 8, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    With anything like this there will be a food and bad side. You just have to determine if the food weighs more then the bad. I personally thinly it may be good to help parents prepare for it. Though there are to many bad things that come with ordinary I think it should not make it into public.

  2. by Jane

    On June 8, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    Doctors should only allow for testing for medical treatment, so treatment can be planned. Now we’ll have designer babies. People wonder why society has so little respect for life….

  3. by Indy

    On June 8, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    Gattaca..?