Non-invasive prenatal measurement of the fetal genome

Researchers at Stanford University have for the first time sequenced the genome of an unborn baby using only a blood sample from the mother. The technique is still in under active development, but it brings the field of non-invasive fetal genetic testing closer than ever to becoming a routine clinical screen. Current prenatal genetic tests are based on obtaining cells (or tissue) from the fetus; but this new technique relies on the fact that pregnant women have cells from the developing fetus present in the maternal blood. The ability to identify fetal DNA in the presence of the parents is the key to the new assay and the research team is developing the technology further for use in the clinic.


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