Magazine article Newsweek

The Brave New World of Sex Selection

Magazine article Newsweek

The Brave New World of Sex Selection

Article excerpt

HENRY VIII didn't know much about biology. He went through six wives back in the 1500s, looking for one who could bear him a son. Scientists now know that it's the father's sperm, not the mother's egg, that determines whether a baby is a boy or a girl. And last week researchers at the Genetics and IVF Institute, a private fertility center in Virginia, announced a new technique that will allow parents to choose the sex of their baby-to-be, before it has even been conceived. The scientists use a tiny laser detector to measure the DNA in millions of sperm cells as they pass single file through a narrow tube, like cattle being herded through a corral. In a study published last week, "girl sperm," which has more DNA--the genetic material--in each cell, was collected, while "boy sperm" was discarded. And when purified girl sperm was used to impregnate a group of mothers, 15 of the 17 resulting babies turned out to be girls. …

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