Thursday, June 07, 2012

Unlocking Fetal Genome Will Increase Abortion Rate

University of Washington scientists say they have mapped the entire genome of the fetus non-invasively using the pregnant woman's blood and the father's saliva. This ability will allow advanced detection of thousands of genetic traits, as well as potential diseases of the fetus, and thus entice mass killing of less-than-perfect unborn children.

For background, read Clinic Licensed to Weed Out Embryos for Cosmetic Defects and also read Boy Created Artificially to Cure Sister's Disease as well as Sex-selection Abortion Possible at 7 Weeks

UPDATE 6/10/12 (NBC video news report)

-- From "New test for genetic disorders in fetuses" by UPI 6/7/12

Jacob Kitzman and Matthew Snyder, working in the laboratory of Dr. Jay Shendure, an associate professor of genome sciences at the University of Washington, said fetal DNA appears in the mother's plasma a few weeks after conception, rises during gestation and vanishes after the baby is born.

The concentration varies among individuals, but about 10 percent of the cell-free DNA in a pregnant woman's blood plasma comes from the fetus, Kitzman said.

Technical advances and statistical modeling made analyzing genetic variations residing on the same chromosome and from these groupings possible. The researchers pick out the parts of the baby's genetic material inherited from each parent with more than 98 percent accuracy, the study said.

The findings were published in Science Translational Medicine

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From "DNA Blueprint for Fetus Built Using Tests of Parents" by Andrew Pollack, New York Times 6/6/12

. . . But the ability to know so much about an unborn child is likely to raise serious ethical considerations as well. It could increase abortions for reasons that have little to do with medical issues and more to do with parental preferences for traits in children.

. . . the cost of DNA sequencing is falling at a blistering pace, and accuracy is improving as well. The researchers estimated that the procedure could be widely available in three to five years. Others said it would take somewhat longer.

Use of the approach could lead to an increase in abortions because some parents might terminate the pregnancy if the fetus was found to have a genetic disease. But it is also possible that parents may be tempted to terminate if the fetus lacked a favorable trait like athletic prowess.

Moreover, a full fetal genome sequence would turn up numerous mutations for which information is lacking as to whether they cause disease, posing a dilemma for expectant parents and their doctors.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Fetal Genome: DNA Sequencing From Mother's Blood, Father's Saliva Stirs Ethical Debate" by Kai Kupferschmidt, Science Now 6/7/12

Even though it should be possible to sequence a fetus's whole genome, [chemical pathologist Dennis] Lo says, it might be better to do it in a targeted fashion so that information doesn't overwhelm prospective parents. That might also avoid some difficult decisions, such as whether to abort a baby who has mutations that forecast a difficult future. For example, Lo says: "I don't think it would be ethical to use this to screen for late-onset diseases like Alzheimer's or cardiovascular diseases, for example."

But even if parents who learn a child will have a severe developmental disorder decide against an abortion, they—and their doctors—might be better prepared for a baby's needs. [Arthur Beaudet of the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas] argues that while some cultures or religious groups might object to a fetus's whole genome being sequenced, it will ultimately become a normal part of prenatal care. Indeed, Lo says he is optimistic that in 5 years, the technical problems of the process will be solved. "That is why we need to have a debate about this now."

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From "Genetic Test on 3,500 Anomalies Could Lead to More Abortions" by Steven Ertelt, 6/7/12

As some parents seek to give birth to only “perfect” children who are supposedly free from any physical or mental disabilities, such genetic testing proves to continue to be controversial. While it helps some parents know what to expect or how to help their children after birth, it lends to extremely high abortion rates of children with any hint of “something wrong.”

[Josephine Quintavalle, founder of the Pro-Life Alliance, said,] “One always hopes, vainly, that in utero testing will be for the benefit of the unborn child. But, whilst this new test may not itself be invasive, given our past track record, it is difficult to imagine that this new test will not lead to more abortions.”

Anthony Ozimic of SPUC echoed those worries, telling LifeNews in an email: “The science-fiction scenario of the film Gattaca, in which babies are graded at birth according to predictions of future health, is becoming fact. Society can reverse this nightmare scenario by resolving to put human beings above so-called scientific progress

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.