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|2012-06-07 - Weird News|
New DNA test safely sequence fetus genome using parents' blood, saliva
-- Windsor Genova - Fourth Estate Cooperative News Writer
Seattle, WA, United States (4E) - Researchers from University of Washington have developed a new and safe genome sequencing technique for fetuses without extracting DNA from its protective fluid sac in the womb.
The non-invasive procedure for screening unborn baby for any genetic abnormality involves DNA tests using the mother's blood and the father's saliva, according to the study on the new technique published in Wednesday's issue of the medical journal Science Translational Medicine.
In the research by Jacob Kitzman, Matthew Snyder and Dr. Jay Shendure, blood from a mother who was 18 weeks pregnant and the father's saliva was used to map their unborn baby's DNA. The process was repeated on a couple closer to being pregnant. The fetal genome was then compared with the genome that was sequenced using blood from the umbilical cord of the same mothers after they gave birth.
Kitzman, Snyder and Shendure claimed they were able to identify the baby's genetic material inherited from each parent with over 98 percent accuracy using the non-invasive procedure.
The researchers also were able to find mutant genes in the fetus's genome using ultra-deep sequencing, computational biology and statistics. The detection of disease-causing mutant genes allows for advanced medical solution.
"This work opens up the possibility that we will be able to scan the whole genome of the fetus for more than 3,000 single-gene disorders through a single, non-invasive test," Science Daily quoted Shendure as saying.
However, Shendure said the interpretation of the genome remains a challenge particularly in terms of cost, method and equipment.
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