Scientists predict that parents-to-be will soon be able to find out the genetic details of their growing fetus including how their child will act during their teenage and adult years.
In a test that scientists call prenatal whole genome sequencing parents can see every gene and chromosome of their expected bundle through a simple blood test. Experts believe that the test costing less than $1,000 will eventually grow in popularity within the medical industry.
When a woman becomes pregnant, DNA from the fetus will enter the mother’s bloodstream. In a blood sample taken from her arm, fetal information can be separated to determine the genetic structure sequenced. This process is already being used in available tests examining and diagnosing inherited diseases. For example, Ashkenazi Jews carry a rare but troublesome childhood disease called Tay-Sachs. If the disease is found, Jewish couples can decide whether or not they wish to continue or terminate the pregnancy. Current prenatal tests are also used to show if a child will have Down syndrome or cystic fibrosis.
Sequencing tests today cost thousands of dollars. Experts believe that the price will drop but the controversy will rise.
“[This will be] the most controversial topic in the next 20 years,” said Bioethicist Arthur Caplan of New York University Medical Center. “And anyone who thinks that information that can lead to abortion isn’t going to be controversial has been asleep since Roe v. Wade.”
A report from the Hastings Center warns of the major differences between current prenatal genome sequencing and the future sequencing tests.
“Prenatal whole genome sequencing differs from current prenatal genetic testing practice in a number of ethically relevant ways,” the Hastings Center report said. “Most notably, whole genome sequencing would radically increase the volume and scope of the available prenatal genetic data.”
Study authors report several problems with the PWGS. They believe that the data retrieved is too ambiguous to determine what a human genome can actually do. The report said that in many cases it takes more than one human genome to reveal a particular disease or characteristic.
Another problem the report found is the parental anxiety the can arise from test results. The report finds that most parents view their child as normal but the extra information can lead them to question what is normal and cause unnecessary anxiety.
Hastings researchers also believe that sequencing can affect parenting. If genes associated with high intelligence or high athletic ability is not present, would it change the parents’ expectations and parenting methods?
The report lastly raises the issue of the offspring’s privacy since parents are making decisions for a person that is yet to be born. Researchers believe that the parents’ actions based on test results can take away the offspring’s right to know and choose for themselves.
Caplan said that although the genome information provided can be helpful, it does not mean that it will come to pass.
“All genetic stuff is probalistic. It is beyond argument that we have a difficult time dealing with risk,” Caplain explained.
Pamela Knight, a genetic counselor in Chatham, N.J. said that it is very difficult to make predictions from genetic information.
“We are nowhere near predicting those things,” Knight said. “It’s very, very, hard to know how to counsel people.”
The Hasting Center report said that the medical community should decide what genetic information is essential for parents to know and not know. Researchers said that a child’s right to their genetic information should not be breached unless the child can benefit from it.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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