Designer Babies! Is This Science Fiction?

A medical student while in school found out that he was suffering from diabetes. As he thought about his affliction, he though instead of treating it, would it be possible to prevent it in the first place.. What if, just what if you could detect the gene associated with diabetes in a human embryo and stop it? Science fiction? Frankenstein? It’s called Genomic Prediction is closing in on the answer. It has begun to offer perspective parents at fertility clinics a chance to test their embryos for various disease like cancer, hypertension and breast cancer so that the children could live a life without these afflictions.Until now, they could only offer tests on embryos for what is known as single- gene disorders such as cystic fibrosis and fragile X syndrome. The diseases they are now after are much more complicated and affect a quarter of the population.                height,  eye color intelligence, these could all be on the menu to create a designer baby. This technology, can not only test for diseases that effect one gene, but they have a algorithm that can now test for the risk of diseases found in thousands of positions on the human genome. In short then, they can now see a human embryo  and see if it is a risk for type one and two diabetes, hypothyroidism, mental disability, atrial fibrillation, coronary artery disease, inflammatory bowel disease as well as breast cancer whose numbers are at alarming rates in our country but virtually unknown in women  in the Asian countries. Prospective parents who see an embryo that is more susceptible to those risks can choose a different embryo to be implanted. With this in mind, one could say, If we want to think about it long term, we are hoping we can actually reduce the incidence of disease in humans.                                                                                                         there is the  question however that goes like this, ” Will the technology be used for non- medical reasons? It is a legitimate concern. The medical profession need to have a system of checks and balances in place to prevent using the technology for the wrong purpose. One doctor summed it up this way, If his parents he said had this option, they could have potentially edited out my diabetes and it would have been a cure. “I would have been here without diabetes and the complications it has caused my life.                       In conclusion, this technology is certain to be a debated. Will it lead to disease free infants or will it go farther and mount designer children who can be superior athletes, thinkers, intellectuals and the like? Are we taking a chance to create a Mary Shelly Frankenstein or, is it a positive that we can select children that are disease free and capable of great things. In my belief, I do think technology of this sort will be something that will happen in the near future as we approach greatness in the medical fields. It remains to be seen however how the government will control it and, how far technology wants to take it.


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