In a development scientists are calling a "tour de force," researchers have reconstructed the genome of a fetus using DNA samples from the parents.It's non-invasive, highly accurate, and could detect roughly 3,000 conditions known as Mendelian disorders, including Huntington's, hemophilia, and sickle-cell anemia.
Because their technique did not require an invasive test to take samples from the fetus itself, it's an important step toward what could become a low-risk way to identify genetic disorders early in development, experts say.
It's also currently wildly expensive and a long way off from your local clinic.
"I think this paper is a tour de force," Hamosh [Dr. Ada Hamosh, director of the Institute of Genetic Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine] said. "This was unthinkable six months ago. Is it ready for any kind of clinical application? Not at all yet."
And oh, yeah. Fetus fetishists are already SHRIEEEKING about it. Designer babies! Genetic engineering! Abortions, abortions, abortions!
Should such a test become widely available, will it be misused? Yup.
But would it save people from despair? Yup.
One of the cruelest diseases is Huntington's disease. If one of your parents has it, you have a 50 per cent chance of getting it.
I have a friend whose father had it. She and her two brothers watched him die and her mother suffer. They all decided not to have children.
There is a test and none of them got it done. I mean, who wants to know years in advance what a horrible future you're facing?
When her twin brother was diagnosed in the mid-90s, she pretty much stayed drunk for a couple of years (early symptoms can look like inebriation). When he needed care, she sobered up and took it on.
Brother committed suicide while he still could. My friend went off the deep end again.
This was a family blighted by fucking Huntington's.
Test for it? Hell, yeah.