Prenatal Gene Scans Pick Up More Health Problems

Uncover more than current testing


A new study sets the stage for wider use of gene testing in early pregnancy. Scanning the genes of a fetus reveals far more about potential health risks than current prenatal testing does, say researchers who compared both methods in thousands of pregnancies in the U.S.

A surprisingly high number — 6% — of certain fetuses declared normal by conventional testing were found to have genetic abnormalities by gene scans, the study found. The gene flaws can cause anything from minor defects such as a club foot to more serious ones such as mental retardation, heart problems and fatal diseases.


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  1. Eugenics! Brave New World! Nazis!

    Just thought I’d take care of that for the Luddites.

    Likely in the next 5-10 years, full genetic evaluations of a fetus will be available. We’re already getting close to $1k genomes. At that priceMaybe in petri dishes, so the “best” fetus can be selected. Get over it.

    Ha! Here it is.…..yway_.html

    In June, a team at the University of Washington in Seattle announced a new technique that enables the construction of a comprehensive genome sequence?a genetic “blueprint,” as they described it?of the developing fetus from as early as the first trimester (Science Translational Medicine, vol 4, p 137ra76). The test could be available in clinics in as little as five years.

    Then, in July, a team at Stanford University announced a slightly different technique for obtaining the same information (Nature, vol 487, p 320).

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