Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Genetic kundali is the new mantra for the young

By Syed Akbar
It's not the job, money or family that matters when it comes to marriage. It is about looks and finding a spouse who is genetically gifted.

T he youth of Hyderabad nowadays prefer to date and marry good-look ing partners as it is not only more fun to live with attractive people, but because they want their children to look good. With good looks being the passport to success even in kindergarten, young men and women cannot be blamed for wanting to have cute babies. Ours is a skin-deep age.
Thanks to this new fad which has puzzled even marriage counsellors, astro charts and family prestige have been thrown out of the window. Instead, the genetic kundali is in, for it's the genes which mostly determine your looks.
And as usual, the youth cite lives of celebrities to prove their point. Abhishek Bachchan, they say, is as tall as his father Big B, and Saif Ali Khan and Soha have inherited the looks of their mother Sharmila Tagore, and Lourdes is as beautiful as Madonna. So, they vouch, it is common sense that children will look good if both parents look good. So don’t be taken aback if the girl you are going to marry holds forth on chromosomes and heredity when you meet her the next time. What she means is that she likes your dimples and wants her kids to have them too.
“If your spouse is good-looking, your children will be attractive too, this is the latest funda,” says pre-marriage counsellor, S.V. Nagnath.
Though the truth is more complicated, their preference cannot be easily dismissed, say scientists. “Every person carries genes with characteristics called dominant and recessive,” says the senior geneticist, Dr M.N. Khaja.
“Dominant characteristics such as dimples, a full head of hair, height, curly hair and normal vision overtake recessive characters. So the dominant features of the father and mother are passed on to children.” “Almost two-thirds of youngsters who visit us for pre-marital counselling do not hide their wish for having fair complexioned and good-looking babies,” says Nagnath. “Even in arranged matches, boys and girls want the would-be spouse to have strong physique and good facial features.” Thanks to this trend, there are new taboos. Even if the astro charts match, women shy away from marrying bald men.
“Certain body features like baldness, dark complexion and short-sightedness are to genetics what Manglik dosham is to astro charts,” quips C.V.
Subbaiah, a marriage counsellor. Even family prestige has taken a back seat. “More than half of my clients give preference to beauty and looks, rather than money and family background,” he says.
But can you have ‘designer babies’ that look cute by marrying a cute guy? Things are not that simple. Hark back to celebs again. Abhishek does not look much like Jaya Bachchan and superstar Rajnikanth’s daughters resemble his wife more than him.
Heredity is a complicated phenomenon and scientists are still puzzling over the process of mixing of chromosomes.
A child may inherit the physical features of grandparents or even older generations. The father may be fair-skinned but the baby may inherit the dark skin of the grandpa.
In the US, some mothers-tobe sometimes opt for a test known as pre-implantation genetic diagnosis in which embryos are generated in a test tube and the DNA is analysed before being implanted in the uterus. This helps them avoid embryos that indicate vulnerability to certain ailments such as Huntington’s disease.
But there is no process as yet to find out if your son is going to be as tall as his father.
So this is not the end of the road for those who are shortsighted or bald. Like Manglik dosham can be overcome through special poojas, genetic defects too can be overcome by choosing a spouse with contrasting characteristics.
“If a girl, for instance, has night blindness, she can avoid her children having the same problem by marrying a boy with normal vision,” says Dr Khaja. You can pick and choose carefully but do keep your fingers crossed.

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