-- Robert Preidt
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.
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.
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