In 5 years, Australian parents will be able to examine the characteristics of their unborn baby’s future health, height and even eye colour by the DNA test.
Australian science journal, New Scientist, reported that this examine process is possible through creating digital embryos by mixing the DNA of an egg cell and sperm and simulating how two people’s genes would interact during reproduction. The report says that it will allow parents to eliminate the genes which could cause the inheritance of genetic diseases.
“We can tell if the embryo will produce a child a certain disease,” says Michael Chapman, a fertility specialist and University of New South Wales’ obstetrics and gynaecology professor. “It’s trying to get the best recipe when you bring an egg and sperm together, in that case, we can avoid the disease by using a different embryo.”
Chapman also said that he is worried about facing the moral dilemmas. Even though we do it to avoid inherited disease, it could go much further than we think. Like Chapman worries, people are worried about the wrong use of technology as they have seen a lot of wrong uses of technologies before. For instance, dynamite was invented for the convenience of mining works but it has also used for the war.
Australia has been already used In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), the companies currently offer parents tests for up to 125 single-gene diseases. The digital embryo technology is yet illegal in Australia however they have launched other tests for 2 years now, like Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT), which can identify the genetic problems.
Meanwhile, the U.S. based genetic information company, Genepeeks reported that they will soon provide parents to select skin tone, eye colour, and etc. for non-medical purpose.