What if you could find your perfect match? No, not your soulmate, but rather the perfect genetic match that ensures your children would be born free of known genetically heritable diseases. The Perfect 46, a new film that had its East Coast premiere last night at The SOHO International Film Festival in New York, captures the startup culture of personal genomics in a fictitious yet scientifically authentic plot.
In the movie, geneticist Jesse Darden creates a website that pairs users with their ideal genetic partner for reproduction. Darden’s mission is not to cure disease, but to prevent it all together. Ultimately, the goal of The Perfect 46 is to establish a new normal with controlled breeding that could eventually eliminate disease for future generations.
But what if your spouse or partner is not an ideal match? Darden decides to launch an addition to the website that acts almost as a dating service, matching people not based on common interests but rather by the compatibility of their genes.
“Your partner contributes 23 chromosomes to your child. You contribute 23 chromosomes to your child. The wrong 46 chromosomes could result in more than 4,000 diseases,” the website proclaims. “Find the perfect match.”
When love is eliminated from the equation, the ethical implications of the website are put into question. Is The Perfect 46 promoting manufactured human beings? Is it trying to create a superior race? The film explores whether humans should take evolution into our own hands.
Considering the ongoing debates over designer babies and three parent embryos, The Perfect 46 isn’t too far from reality. In fact, GenePeeks recently announced it launched Matchright™, a patented screening service for families who are planning to use a sperm donor to conceive. The service enables women to reduce the risk that a future child will inherit life-threatening and life-altering diseases. Sound familiar?