Blue eyes, golden brown hair, tall, athletic, dimpled chin – well… this is no description of a romantic lead, but traits that one can visualize in their kids even before they are conceived! Surprised? Well, creating designer babies is quite a possibility, especially since California-based personal genomics and biotech company 23andMe was granted its patent that allows parents-to-be a possibility to pick and choose the traits they would prefer in their kids.
While mythology is rife with stories of this kind, this patent grant comes as a breakthrough in modern genetics for couples undergoing infertility treatment. If the patented technology is applied commercially, couples can attempt to weed out genes that may lead to various disorders such as specific cancers, tastes, and various other diseases, even a longer lifespan, that may be prevalent rife in their respective families. This could prove even more useful for those opting for donors to ensure they have a genetically healthy baby, where couples can identify preferred donors by mapping desired traits.
23andMe, which provides people with its “Family Trait Inheritance Calculator” that helps couples garner personalized information about their health and ancestry, was given the green signal by the patent head five years after applying for a patent grant. However, the company doesn’t seem keen to commercialize this patent grant, at least not in the recent future. 23andMe claims that while at the time of filing the patent application half a decade ago the technology showed a lot of promise for infertility clinics, many new technologies have entered the scenario since then.
Well, is this a denial due to technological advancements in the recent years of genetics or is it because of the various controversies that could bog down the patented technology is something that only time can tell. Until then, keep the progeny-guess going!
(Featured image source: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=22307&picture=baby-with-a-laptop)
Featured image is for representational purpose only.