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Looking into future not all that rosy

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benf | 04/25/14

A company called GenePeeks purports to be able to answer a question many couples have asked before marriage: “I wonder what our kids would be like.”

GenePeeks says it has a service that will mix the DNA’s of the prospective parents and from that mixture produce a profile of what their child might be like before they actually get about the business of making him or her.

“Will our baby be healthy” is one of the questions GenePeeks says it would answer. Other traits might include “eye and skin pigmentation, height and waist size,” according to an article by technology blogger Shelly Palmer, who got the information from an article in the magazine New Scientist (as opposed to the magazine Old Scientist, which is the one I read).

If Mrs. Doud and I had the intention of making any more babies, we might take a look at Matchright, the name GenePeeks has given its process. But we would not be customers.

And I’m glad my parents didn’t have access to Matchright, either. They might have taken one look at the genetic profile of what was to become yours truly and decided to do something else with their spare time.

For example, they would have found out that I would lose my hair. “Who wants a bald kid?” they might have asked. Also, they might have learned I wasn’t going to become a dentist, as they fondly hoped I would. Ours was a family of dentists, and they felt that was to be my destiny.

And, they just about had me talked into it, until the day my grandfather, a general dentist, invited me into his surgery while he was extracting a man’s entire set of upper teeth. After seeing that, dentistry held no allure for me.

“This kid is not going to be a dentist,” the geneticist might have said to Mom and Dad. “He’s more likely to be a newspaper person, a bald newspaper person who will not be good at sports, but will sit around reading newspapers, magazines and books.”

Mom and Dad would have walked away sadly, shaking their heads. But they would have been secretly relieved that they wouldn’t have to change diapers, hire babysitters or save for eight years of college.


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