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Dad, Mom, and baby Meghan

Dad, Mom, and baby Meghan

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

New Test Checks Embryos for 15,000 Inherited Diseases

Oh, does this make anyone else nervous?

British researchers say they've developed a gene mapping test that,within a matter of weeks, can determine whether an embryo is affected by any one of 15,000 inherited diseases. Current tests focus on a specific genemutation or can take much longer to provide results.

For the new test, a single cell is taken from an 8-day-old embryo.DNA samples are then collected from the parents and their parents. In many cases, a DNA sample is taken from another member of the family, such as achild affected by an inherited disease, BBC News reported.

All the family members' DNA is analyzed for 300,000 specific DNA markers, creating a map of the family's genetics, said Professor Alan Handyside and colleagues at London's Bridge Center, who are currently conducting trials of the gene mapping test.

"The effectiveness and efficiency of the procedure is quite exciting, andthe fact that it's quicker means it could be helpful to couples at risk ofinherited diseases -- and that in itself is significant," Dr. Mark Hamilton,chairman of the British Fertility Society, told BBC News.

"We can currently test for several hundred conditions, but the claim isthat the spectrum of conditions which could be screened for is enormous," he added.

2 comments:

Dolores said...

That DOES make me nervous! There could only be one reason they'd want to do that.

Jennifer said...

Boy, the world is becoming a scary place...

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