Chinese Study Suggests New Way to Test for Genetic
WEDNESDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- A new test that requires
only a tiny sample of a mother's blood to scan the genome of a
fetus may offer a safer alternative to current methods of prenatal
screening for genetic diseases, a new study suggests.
Currently, a sample of fetal tissue is collected using invasive
procedures such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling, both
of which pose a small but definite risk to the fetus.
But, Chinese researchers found that fetal DNA floating in the
mother's blood contains the entire fetal genome and can reveal a
number of genetic and chromosomal disorders in the fetus.
They used the method on a couple undergoing prenatal diagnosis
for a type of genetic anemia called beta-thalassemia. The results
showed that the fetus had inherited the beta-thalassemia mutation
from the father and a normal gene from the mother, meaning the
fetus was a carrier of the disease.
The study is published in the Dec. 8 issue of
Science Translational Medicine.
The March of Dimes outlines
routine prenatal tests.
Copyright © 2010
. All rights reserved.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.