Awesome Sauce Music Friday! Betty and 23andMe Edition
Ahhh…it’s Friday. Mere hours from the freedom of the weekend. Let me help you get there by providing some tunes.
You may have read earlier this week about a patent granted to personal genomics firm 23andMe. The company has developed a system to help prospective parents choose the traits of their future kids. According to Wired:
The patent describes a technology that would take a customer’s preferences for a child’s traits, compute the likely genomic outcomes of combinations between a customer’s sperm or egg and other people’s sex cells, and describe which potential reproductive matches would most likely produce the desired baby.
Among the traits listed in the application as examples of possible choice are: height, weight, hair color, risks of colorectal cancer and congenital heart defects, expected life span, expected lifetime health care costs, and athleticism. The company, which has about 400,000 customers, offers genomic analysis of more than 240 traits altogether, from Alzheimer’s disease risk to breast shape and memory. Additional traits from this longer list could presumably be used the same way.
The article goes on to point out that some selection is possible for people who get a certain type of reproductive help. And 23andMe denies that the system will be used for designer babies. But the ethics of it aside, it’s pretty astounding that we’ve advanced so far that this is even theoretically possible.
So in an attempt to appease our future Captain America super soldier overlords, this week’s featured song is Betty and Me by Johnathan Coulton. Not really about choosing the traits of your baby, but the song’s poor clueless protagonist thinks it is. Enjoy!
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