It has been talked about for years and for years scientific research has been working to develop less invasive genetic tests that can replace the genetic tests currently in use and that involve some risk for the unborn child (READ).
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Now comes a new opportunity to look into the chromosome fetal starting from a drop of blood from the pregnant mother and a little saliva from the father.
Researchers are able to fully map the child’s chromosome and highlight any genetic abnormalities, such as cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs disease and Marfan syndrome, but also diseases caused by single gene mutations and Down syndrome (READ).
Obviously, this new technology, developed by researchers at the University of Washington and published in Science Translational Medicine, may give rise to some ethical questions. Such a complex and sophisticated DNA test could allow us to understand not only if the fetus has genetic abnormalities, but also what its features are.
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But how is it possible to analyze the DNA of a child not yet born without examining his own cells? The researchers explain it is possible to analyze the mother’s blood and isolate certain strings of the fetal blood with 98% accuracy.
The analysis is performed on this blood of the fetus looking for abnormalities (READ) and other details.
A reliable and accurate procedure, but for now rather costly: examining the entire fetal genome could cost too much fifty thousand dollars. It is therefore difficult for this examination to enter clinical practice in a short time.
But according to scientists’ predictions it could be refined within five years at a lower cost.