You can now add a barcode to your sperm and egg cells
Carme Nogues at the Autonomous University of Barcelona in Spain has devised a way to attach unique barcodes to sperm and egg cells.
Although extremely rare, IVF mix ups do happen. Embryologists can sometimes make mistakes. Recently, a couple in the United States sued a sperm bank because the color of their baby's skin was completely different than their chosen donor.
The barcodes could help organize and identify sperm and egg cells before fertilization occurs. They are made of polysilicon, and are attached to the cells through a carbohydrate binding process. The barcodes are made of an eight digit binary sequence, yeilding 256 possible combinations. Before implantation, the codes are read under a microscope to ensure an accurate match. Polysilicon will not harm the embryo, and the code is shed as it grows in utero.
Although the procedure is not fully approved for use in human cells, it has taken off in the animal breeding sector.