Rafal Smigrodzki won’t make a big deal of it, but someday, when his toddler daughter Aurea is old enough to understand, he plans to explain that she likely made medical history at the moment of her birth.
Aurea appears to be the first child born after a new type of DNA testing that gave her a “polygenic risk score.” It’s based on multiple common gene variations that could each have tiny effects; together, they create higher or lower odds for many common diseases.
Her parents underwent fertility treatment in 2019 and had to choose which of four IVF embryos to implant. They turned to a young company called Genomic Prediction and picked the embryo given the best genetic odds of avoiding heart disease, diabetes and cancer in adulthood.
Smigrodzki, a North Carolina neurologist with a doctorate in human genetics, argues that parents have a duty to give a child the healthiest possible start in life, and most do their best. “Part of that duty is to make sure to prevent disease -- that’s why we give vaccinations,” he said. “And... see more