GenePeeks is ready to launch its latest process, patented last January, and involving the creation of a digital child using the virtual combination of the mother’s DNA with that of the father or a sperm donor. With this invention, the laboratory proposes to estimate the risk of rare diseases in a child that has not yet been conceived.
Genome sequencing techniques can be used to detect any genetic diseases. Genepeeks, created by Princeton Universities (New Jersey, United States) claims that it is capable of "reproducing on computer the genetic combination that takes place at the time of fertilisation," as outlined by Lee Silver, Professor of Molecular Biology at Princeton and co-founder of Genepeeks.
This simulation known as "the matchright technology", proposed by the Genepeeks Laboratory would be particularly useful for a mother looking for a sperm donor. Nowadays, only sperm banks and fertility clinics use this technology, which is set to develop across the globe. This process would alter current prenatal screening practices.
This technology raises ethical issues and is suspected of eugenics because the list of characteristics of the future child includes data "that are not necessarily health-related", such as eye or skin colour. Professor Lee Silver has not confirmed whether all of this data will be available in the future.
For more information, visit the Genepeeks site.