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Nowadays, babies receive a simple prick on their heel that can test for 30 rare diseases. But what about a complete genetic blueprint that can let a parent know what, if any, diseases their child will have as an adult? Well, as they say, that time is here. Researchers are currently mapping out genetic codes of newborns, their parents and relatives so that they can predict health problems.

From ABC News:

A complete genetic blueprint would go well beyond what that newborn blood spot currently tells doctors and parents — allowing a search for potentially hundreds of other conditions, some that arise in childhood and some later, some preventable and some not.

“If I truly believed that knowing one’s genome was going to be transformative to medicine over the next decade or more, then wouldn’t I want to start generating that information around the time of birth?” asked Dr. John Niederhuber, former director of the National Cancer Institute who now oversees one of the largest baby-sequencing research projects to date.

At Niederhuber’s Inova Translational Medicine Institute in Falls Church, Va., researchers are mapping the genomes of newborns, along with their parents and other relatives for comparison. The long-term goal of the privately funded study is to uncover genetic patterns that predict complex health problems, from prematurity to developmental disorders.

But the experimental tests will turn up some gene mutations already well-known to cause serious ailments, and participating parents must choose upfront whether to be told. They don’t get a full report card of their baby’s genes. Only ones that cause treatable or preventable conditions — so-called medically actionable findings — are revealed, to the family’s doctor. That means in addition to pediatric diseases, parents also could learn whether a baby carries a particular breast-cancer-causing gene, information useful once she reaches young adulthood.

But what does this mean for families?  According to ABC News, “The experimental tests will turn up some gene mutations already well-known to cause serious ailments, and participating parents must choose upfront whether to be told. They don’t get a full report card of their baby’s genes. Only ones that cause treatable or preventable conditions — so-called medically actionable findings — are revealed, to the family’s doctor. That means in addition to pediatric diseases, parents also could learn whether a baby carries a particular breast-cancer-causing gene, information useful once she reaches young adulthood.”

Clutchettes, would you want to know about the diseases your baby could get later in life?

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  • AnnT

    I want to know, because I want to be prepared for me and my non-existent kids.

    I only worry is how long will it take for the insurance companies to get their hands on this sort of information to raise the premium rates for a specific demographic.

    • Word

      True, but there is an even better way. Much better, because it’s done way before the baby arrives. The company is called Counsyl. Check it out yall.

  • Chelle

    Personally, I would not want this test done on my baby. No doctor or test will predict my baby’s health. I serve a God who will be the one who determine my child’s health. This kind of test will just worry parents more than what they already are.

    • My Name is My Name

      SMH.

    • Mari

      Oh, okay, since when is being proactive a bad thing? We take proactive measures to protect ourselves regularly. And since God is the one who determine’s your child’s health, I’m assuming you would be against man-made medicine also…just leaving it all in God’s hands and trying to pray the ailment away smh.

  • The Other Jess

    Nope, i wouldn’t want to know because a disease doesn’t necessarily define what you’ll become in life. If I already know ahead of time what my child may get at 10, I might start automatically limiting them, not intentionally but out of worry or doubt.

    What if Michael Jackson’s parents knew that he would get vitiligo and have his skin progressively lighten until it turned completely chalky white, Maya Campbells’ parents knew she’d become schizophrenic, Missy Elliot’s and T-Boz knew they’d get Graves Disease and Sickle Cell, or Michael J. Fox’s knew he would be stricken prematurely with Parkinsons? They may have been steered away from trying to follow their dreams, would then probably live unfulfilled lives, and, in some cases, the world would have missed out on the greats.

    I can only see the benefit of this test if it indicates that your child will get a disease that can be cured, or can be inoculated against. Then the test just becomes a great preventitive measure. But if the disease is not curable, what’s the point in worrying about it ahead of time? Then it becomes limiting.

    I saw this old rerun on”The twilight Zone” where a man had the power to see when and how his fellow soldiers would die, and he basically couldn’t function because of having this terrible knowledge. I think that’s true here. If the disease is going to hit you anyway, and it can’t be cured, just leave it and live your life to the fullest, and the deal with any disease at that time when it manifests.

    • Darcy

      I am not sure why people are thumbing down your comment. I agree.

    • B.

      While I don’t disagree completely with your comment, I can also appreciate that diseases or hardships can also motivate people to become their optimum selves. It really depends on the spirit of the individual and the attitude of their support system.
      Personally, I lean towards wanting to know but am unsure of my position….and I have children.

  • ruggie

    This test seems to cross the line between prenatal care and eugenics.

  • Me

    This is just a reason to get people to sign kids up for a lifetime subscription to meds. Fear: the great motivator. Meanwhile, they don’t have to give you no kinda guarantee that your kid WILL get sick in the future, just a best guess. If you pay for the test and use “preventive” meds, you never know if your kid is healthy b/c the test was wrong and they always woulda been healthy or b/c of the meds. If you don’t and your kid gets sick, they get free advertisement by making an example outta you (called “statistics”). Either way, big pharma is gonna get more money outta everybody. That’s the plan. Cuz medication is a lifestyle like everything else.