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 (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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