Researchers in the US have mapped the genome of an unborn fetus, the breakthrough marks a significant advance in prenatal and genetic medicine, but also one that raises profound ethical issues. As a result, researchers at the University of Washington say they will be able to screen a foetus that is only eight weeks old for thousands of genetic disorders with an accuracy of 98 per cent.
Currently, the common procedure for pregnant women who want to check their baby for genetic, chromosomal abnormalities is Amniotic Fluid Test – AFT – or Amniocentesis, it’s a risky procedure in which a small amount of amniotic fluid, which contains foetal tissue is sampled – via a very large needle – from the amnionic sac surrounding the fetus.
Researchers were able to map the genomes of two fetus’ via non-invasive maternal blood and paternal saliva samples taken from two pregnant women halfway into their second trimester at 18 weeks gestation. The samples contained enough information to accurately interpret the babies DNA :: Read the full article »»»»