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DNA Testing and the Embryo Hope


It sounds like the plot of a science fiction novel. DNA testing becomes routine – so much so, that parents planning to have children can undergo testing to ensure their offspring are not genetically disposed to heart disease. This is in fact the premise of the science fiction movie Gattaca. The hero of the movie undergoes a test as soon as he’s born – and his parents are immediately told the time of his death and what he will die from. As a result of a heart defect, the results of the DNA test will be used to stop him pursuing a career as an astronaut – a job that demands 100% physical fitness. The film is a warning against the use of such testing and falls on the side of the human spirit’s ability to overcome adversity and discrimination. As a genre, science fiction often throws up some of society’s deep rooted fears, and the idea that these tests could be used in a discriminatory way is a leading concern.

DNA Testing and Genetic Make-up

But the fact is testing DNA can be beneficial. Understanding our genetic make up can help us understand diseases and in time, it’s hoped, eradicate disease or at least help us take more steps to be protected from it. Testing that is DNA based is already being put forward to help identify men at risk from prostrate cancer. The news that British scientists have created human embryos containing DNA from two women and a man however has stirred up the debate. The scientists are offering the hope that one day it could be possible to produce embryos from DNA free of inherited diseases.

Genetic Modification

But the research has raised concerns about the prospect of genetically modified babies. In defence of the work however, Patrick Chinnery, a professor of neurogenetics told the press, “We are not trying to alter genes, we’re just trying to swap a small proportion of the bad ones for some good ones.” This type of test could become a crucial part of our health care and prevention – helping identify those at risk of genetic diseases. Whether or not creating healthy embryos for couples who want to avoid passing on their genes that carry diseases however remains a topic of heated debate. The current research is being backed by the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign. Although the embryos were not allowed to mature for longer than five days, the research enrages those who believe such work goes against their religious beliefs. Many doctors and scientists however are hopeful such advances in DNA research could immeasurably improve life for thousands.

International Biosciences offer a broad range of relationship and paternity testing services designed to provide indisputable answers to emotional questions. Whether you seek to establish paternity, prove siblingship or research genealogy, for legal definition or peace of mind, we are able to provide DNA testing at competitive rates, professionally and confidentially. Using state of the art technology we are able to provide conclusive evidence on time, every time. Contact International Biosciences or click here to email us.