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Curious what traits your unborn child will have? Send HumanCode your spit

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When parents are expecting their first child, at some point during the nine-month waiting process, they naturally start to wonder what combination of traits the kid is likely to receive from each parent. It’s the kind of wonderful mystery that you’ll have to watch unfold in real time; patiently spending each day with the tiny bundle of joy as he or she grows into the person they will eventually become.

Or you could just pay $349 to a company called HumanCode who will tell you the whole thing up front via mobile app!

HumanCode’s creation is something called BabyGlimpse, a DNA-powered service which promises to let couples discover the genetic-related traits their children may inherit. Describing itself as the “brighter side of personal genomics,” BabyGlimpse offers users an at-home collection kit so that both parents can a saliva sample for DNA testing. This saliva sample is then processed at a DNA sequencing lab, before feeding back to you the relevant genomic information pertinent to your offspring.

The result is custom predictions about the various possible traits of your future child, delivered either through an iPhone app or via a secure customer web portal. The information covers ancestral origins, appearance and physical capabilities predictions, likely behavior, sleep quality, dietary requirements, and more.

So how accurate is it, then? “Unfortunately, there is no simple answer,” CEO Christopher Glodé told Digital Trends. “For some traits and users, the predictions can be very accurate, [when] both parents have very well known, high impact, dominant genetic markers. In other cases, we can predict the genetics of the child with high accuracy, but the genes that ‘science’ knows about are not highly impactful yet — or they just have a very low impact on the phenotype, such as trait outcome. In other cases, where there are thousands of genetic markers being evaluated by our neural network and algorithms, we cannot easily accurately predict what genetic markers the child could inherit, so we run simulations and pick the most common outcomes. We always convey probabilities and never certainties.”

In other words, it is probably best to treat it as a bit of fun, particularly when it comes to anything more esoteric than, say, eye color. But as a fun novelty gift for any expectant (geeky) parents in your life? This could definitely hit the spot. So long as they don’t mind spoilers, that is!

Luke Dormehl
I'm a UK-based tech writer covering Cool Tech at Digital Trends. I've also written for Fast Company, Wired, the Guardian…
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