Baby Development Genome Map for Babies to Become Universal in 2019'
Posted Feb 13 2009 4:53pm
By Colleen Hurley, RD, Certified Kids Nutrition Specialist
What if it was possible to find out if your new baby was predisposed to an illness? How about how tall he will be or if she will be athletic? While some parents may not want to know, for those whose curiosity gets the better of them, a new report reveals that within a decade you might be able to find out more about your newborn than was ever previously possible.
Imagine if just after delivering a baby, the hospital takes a small blood sample from the newborn. In a few shorts weeks the infants genome map is delivered to your house detailing if she will be overweight, how tall she will be, and her risks of developing cancer or heart disease.
Although it sounds like the next box office science-fiction smash, the Times of London reported this week that in about 10 years every child could have their own genome map that can be used for disease prevention. A genome map doesnt come cheap either, in 2001 it cost $4 billion to analyze the basic order of human genes and 2 years later cost $1 million to create the genetic map.
Specializing in this genetic research is Illumina, and CEO Jay Flatley states in 5 years it will be possible to read the DNA of all newborns; a technological advance that will undoubtedly change the medical field forever. Illumina believes the price of the map will eventually decrease to less than $1,000 within 4 years. Every living thing has a genome, and it dictates everything about an individual from health predispositions to the way we tell a joke. Contained within the genome is the entire map of a person or other living things DNA.
The option to obtain a genome map for a newborn baby will undoubtedly spark a great deal of controversy but it appears there will be several years before parents are facing that decision. It could prove to be a useful tool, yet many great scientific advances have not come without strong, heated debated from both sides of the medical community.