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Aurora magazine

The app that determines genetic compatibility is born

"Are you a healthy carrier of this genetic disease?" It's not really a first date question. Or second or third, for that matter. Yet it could be a crucial question for the possible children of a healthy carrier, who could manifest the disease. For this reason, geneticist George Church of Harvard University is working on an app that determines genetic compatibility.

The application will include all the classic criteria, such as place of residence and hobby. To register, however, it will be necessary to send a DNA sample, which will be used for total sequencing of the genome. In this way, each profile will also include any data on heritable genetic abnormalities. What's the point of all this? Nowadays, it is rare for two people to immediately realize that they are healthy carriers of the same genetic disease. It therefore happens that they decide to have a child without being aware of the risk, with serious consequences for them and for the offspring.

Prenatal genetic tests are used to evaluate the probability that the fetus will manifest the disease, but they only intervene after conception has taken place. Instead, Dr. Church wants to avoid the root problem. Its app will avoid connecting people with the same genetic anomaly. Members will have the security of meeting people without anomalies or, at the most, carriers of anomalies incompatible with their own.

They will therefore not have to worry about passing on terrible genetic diseases. At most, they will use the fetal DNA test to detect any sporadic chromosomal abnormalities, such as Down syndrome.