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News Link • Science, Medicine and Technology

For One Baby, Life Begins with Genome Revealed

•, By Antonio Regalado

 An infant delivered last week in California appears to be the first healthy person ever born in the U.S. with his entire genetic makeup deciphered in advance.

His father, Razib Khan, is a graduate student and professional blogger on genetics who says he worked out a rough draft of his son's genome early this year in a do-it-yourself fashion after managing to obtain a tissue sample from the placenta of the unborn baby during the second trimester.

"We did a work-around," says Khan, 37, who is now finishing a PhD in feline population genetics at the University of California, Davis. "There is no map for doing this, and there's no checklist."

The idea of sequencing fetuses is extremely new and sensitive. Khan, who had no real medical reason to learn his son's DNA code, says sequencing his son in utero "was more cool than practical." He did it to show where technology is headed and because he likes "pushing the envelope."

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