GATTACA is here?

In the movie Gattaca (note: title is written in DNA bases), people live in a future world where everyone is genetically tested:

potential children are selected through preimplantation genetic diagnosis to ensure they possess the best hereditary traits of their parents.

Today, we have a report where this is actually taking place. Well, not quite. In today’s story, the embryos in question had extensive genetic testing because  it is suspected that a majority of all in vitro fertilized embryos contain chromosomal abnormalities. Yikes.  These genetic abnormalities are thought to be why two out of three embryos implanted  never develop into a fetus.

An interesting aspect of the test is that it isn’t run on a cell of the developing embryo (as in the past), but on something called the polar body. The polar body contains all the chromosomal material the embryo has, but is discarded during embryogenesis. The results from this testing and implantation have produced healthy twin girls and a boy.

But will choosing the eye color and athletic ability of your child be far behind? In an article from 2009, it appears not:

A Los Angeles clinic says it will soon help couples select both gender and physical traits in a baby when they undergo a form of fertility treatment.

Are we going create a super race? Or are we more likely to take away all the glory of natural genetic reassortment that gave us the beauty of the Halle Berrys or the natural athletic talent of the Tiger Woods/Michael Jordans, and instead create what we “think” are more genetically preferred individuals?

Is there a way to take a step back from the precipice? I am scared to say that I don’t think we as humans have the willpower not to play creator.

This entry was posted in Biotechnology, microbiology and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.