It’s common for expecting parents to speculate about what their child will be like when they come into the world but, per Wired, one company claims to have created a genetic test that tells parents everything they want to know about their future baby while they’re still in the womb.
HumanCode, a startup based in Denver, recently introduced BabyGlimpse, a $259 test which uses DNA from each parent to predict how their child will both look and act. The test can allegedly forecast a child’s eye or hair color and might even be able to indicate their taste in food. It claims to do this by examining the parents’ SLC2A2 gene, which is the glucose transporter gene.
Typically, such genetic tests these are used for much more serious purposes, such as detecting whether a child may be in danger of inheriting any disease-related genes from their parents. But BabyGlimpse is meant to avoid this grim subject matter and instead allow potential parents to focus on more of the fun aspects of speculating about future kids.
“You get to look at the fun part of your potential future baby versus some of the scary stuff,” HumanCode co-founder Jennifer Lescallet told the Baltimore Sun in an interview last month.
BabyGlimpse may have been created primarily for entertainment purposes but some experts, including doctors and public health officials, are concerned that a test like this may end up doing more harm than good.
“At this point in time, in 2018, consumers should approach these tests with caution,” Muin Khoury, the director of the Office of Public Health Genomics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, explained to Wired. Why? Because while personal genomic testing may not be doing any physical harm, it also provides no tangible benefits and can have people labeling their babies before they even exist.
“And we still don’t understand very well the unintended consequences of labeling people,” Khoury added. “Once you think you know certain information, it’ll affect how you think about your baby for life.”
Ultimately, there’s no real issue with taking a test like BabyGlimpse so long as you understand that, at this point, it is purely conjecture. Given the complex and unpredictable nature of genetics, especially when it comes to babies, the test cannot guarantee anything concrete. Instead, it is merely presenting what the test believes is the most likely version of who your child might be. At the end of the day, what’s the fun in finding that out?