Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Reprogenetics and Genetic Variants

 
Reprogenetics is a company that offers the following service.
Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis consists of the biopsy of a single cell per embryo, followed by its genetic diagnosis through different techniques (FISH, PCR, or CGH), and the subsequent replacement to the patient of those embryos classified by genetic diagnosis as normal.

Reprogenetics provides PGD analysis to IVF centers, including diagnosis of aneuploidy for advanced maternal age (such as Down's syndrome), repeated IVF failure, recurrent spontaneous abortions, chromosome translocations and inversions, as well as for gene defects such as Cystic fibrosis, fragile X, Myotonic Dystrophy, Thalasaemia, Tay Sachs, and others. We can also provide an experienced embryologist to perform embryo biopsy and cell processing.
Other tests may be offered soon including predisposition for diabetes and other genetic diseases.

The research director of Reprogenetics was interviewed for an article that appeared today on the Nature website [Gene testing of embryos needs guiding]
Last week, at a meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in San Francisco, California, researchers cautioned that they do not yet advocate this use of genetic tests. But as the technology advances, consumer demand is likely to overwhelm societal ethical qualms. "If people think they can make their babies healthier at year one, year two, or in utero, they will do it," says Jacques Cohen, research director at Reprogenetics, a genetic-testing company in West Orange, New Jersey.

...

Cohen says that as the understanding of disease genetics progresses, use of tests that seem controversial now may become more acceptable in the future: "If you had the chance to decrease your child's risk of a disease like diabetes and you didn't, society would blame you."
I assume this is a profit-making company. I wonder why Nature chooses to rely on the opinion of someone who has a vested interest in the technology? Especially someone who has an opinion like that?

What can he be thinking? Does he think that the average American in the future will be forced to undergo in vitro fertilization to avoid being sued by their children?


[Hat Tip: The Sciphu Weblog: This pisses me off a little]

6 comments :

  1. "If you had the chance to decrease your child's risk of a disease like diabetes and you didn't, society would blame you."

    Reprogenetics needs to leash this scaremonger.

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  2. It´s like he saw the movie Gattaca and forgot the message.

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  3. Well, I can understand being leery of his association with the company, but what could possibly be wrong with what he said? Society should blame you for not preventing your child's health problems if you had the opportunity to do so, and it should blame constantly, consistently and strenuously.

    As long as this technology remains expensive, this is a moot point, of course. However, I do not and never will see the value in letting children live with debilitating and preventable conditions out of some sense of what is natural or proper.

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  4. Every infant born is screened for genetic defects such as PKU; the stringency of the screening varies with jurisdiction. Every child is required (also varies with jurisdiction) to be vaccinated against communicable diseases. If a person could chose not to have a child with Tay Sachs, but does anyway, who gets to pick up the medical bills for this decision? Routine embryonic screening isn't such a big stretch from where we currently are.

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  5. The one thing that really concerns me about this kind of technology is the potential for abuse. Genetic studies have found pretty good evidence that unpopular traits like homosexuaity are due, at least in part, to genetics.

    So who gets to decide what is a disease? Do we not implant embryos that have a higher risk of being gay? How about a higher risk of manic depression? How about a moderate risk of heart disease?

    "Buzz" Aldrin, Beethoven, Napoleon, Marlon Brando, Monet, Tennessee Williams, Darwin, and hundreds of other significant historical and contemporary individuals were (or most likely were) manic depressives. The world would e a pretty boring place if we started to cull them from our population...

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  6. Valhar2000 says,

    Well, I can understand being leery of his association with the company, but what could possibly be wrong with what he said? Society should blame you for not preventing your child's health problems if you had the opportunity to do so, and it should blame constantly, consistently and strenuously.

    I blame your parents for letting you be born when you clearly have a deficiency. You can't think logically. :-)

    Please send me their address so I can contact them to voice my complaint consistently and strenuously.

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