home
RSS
June 7th, 2012
05:24 PM ET

Baby's DNA constructed before birth

Mom gave a blood sample. Dad spit. The entire genome of their fetus was born.

Researchers at the University of Washington have, for the first time, done a near-total genome sequence of a fetus in this way.  Scientists published the results of this study in the journal Science Translational Medicine, suggesting that thousands of genetic diseases could be detected in children while they are still in the fetal stage.

Everyone has two copies of the human genome: One inherited from their biological mother and one from the biological father. With technology that's being used for genetic sequencing these days, it's not possible to say which variants on the chromosome you inherited from which parent.

Scientists also sequenced the cell-free component of the mother's blood - called the plasma - where about 10% of the DNA circulating is from the child, and the other 90% is from the mother. That introduces some difficulty, since it's hard to tell exactly what comes from the child.

Currently at least some component of diagnosis for genetic disorders in certain circumstances is done using technologies such as amniocentesis, which involves taking a sample of the fluid in the sac that surrounds the fetus in the womb - the mother has to have a needle inserted into her uterus, which is a lot more complicated than a simple blood test and carries some health risks.

"This might reduce the need to do invasive testing for fetuses," said Jay Shendure, associate professor of genome sciences at the University of Washington.

The focus of the study was the genome of a fetus whose mother's blood sample was taken at 18 weeks. The analysis of her blood, the father's saliva and the plasma contributed to a nearly full picture of the fetus's genome.  This model showed that the fetus had 39 mutations that it had not inherited from either parent.

To confirm, researchers looked at the baby's umbilical cord blood after it was born. In comparing the constructed DNA (from mom & dad's samples) and this cord sample,  researchers found five additional mutations that hadn't come from the mother or the father.  On the whole, the baby's artificially constructed genome using material from the parents was more than 98% accurate.

Researchers repeated the procedure on a different couple. This time the mother was only eight weeks pregnant when she donated her sample, and the father submitted a blood sample, which was processed in the same way that the other father's saliva was. This resulted in a fetal genome sequence that was 92% accurate.

"We could have brought it higher just by sequencing her plasma more deeply," said Jacob Kitzman, lead study author and graduate research fellow at the University of Washington.

There are also parts of the genome that technology available today just cannot measure very well, Kitzman says, so that's partly why there's not a 100% accuracy here.

Is gender selection of a fetus ethical?

Eight weeks are, however, well before mothers are able to get amniocentesis, which is often used at around 16 weeks.

It took more than a month to get the results from the sequencing, which is a lot longer than would be ideal in a clinical situation, Kitzman noted. In order to become more widespread, the technique would have to be easier to administer, quicker and less expensive.

So how much does this cost? Right now, in the ballpark of $50,000, Shendure says - and while that seems like a lot, keep in mind that this whole process involved sequencing the genomes of the mother and the father, separately analyzing the plasma and then double-checking the result with a sequence from the child's umbilical cord.

The price tag for sequencing has dropped by 10,000 fold in the last five years, Shendure says, so he expects this fetal genome technique will also become less expensive over time.

In the long-term, the technique may even help garner new insights about genetic diseases, but more immediately it would be restricted to identifying the genetic disorders that we already understand, he said.

"Whether this is the sort of thing we would do on a widespread basis for all pregnancies, that’s an open question and a complex one," he said.

The complexity comes, of course, from the ethical issues that arise concerning parents who would selectively abort fetuses that are predestined for certain conditions.

The technology worries medical ethicist Harriet Washington, who fears parents could use genome sequencing to predict and selectively abort children that don't meet certain standards - not just for diseases, but for things like hair and eye color.

“If we don’t look at the dangers, if we adopt this Pollyanna attitude and only look at the benefits, then it’s really easy to end up in a situation where we are blindsided,” Washington said.

Perhaps one day, even intelligence scores or skills could be forecasted, creating a situation akin the movie "Gattaca" where babies are basically custom-created to suit the needs of parents who can afford the technology.

What do you think about all this? Share your thoughts in the comments.


soundoff (1,645 Responses)
  1. 2015 Maserati Ghibli S Q4

    After exploring a number of the blog posts on your blog, I honestly appreciate your way of blogging. I saved as a favorite it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back soon. Please visit my website as well and tell me your opinion.

    https://www.kyoto-osaka.com/search/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=9143&url=https://www.club-maserati.com/

    May 14, 2021 at 18:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. 2015 Maserati Quattroporte Gts

    Pretty! This has been an incredibly wonderful article. Thanks for providing these details.

    https://dsu.regione.marche.it/Logout.aspx?Returnurl=https://club-maserati.com

    May 14, 2021 at 19:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Optometrist

    That is a really good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere. Simple but very accurate info… Thanks for sharing this one. A must read article!

    http://clevacances032.clevacances.com/stat.php?langue=fr&id_location=HLOMIP032MS00786&agrement=32MS00786&type_location=meuble&id_departement=032&acces_site=1&url=https://arizonasvision.com/

    May 14, 2021 at 19:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Maserati 2017 Models

    You should take part in a contest for one of the most useful blogs online. I am going to recommend this web site!

    http://www.snwebcastcenter.com/event/page/count_download_time.php?url=https://club-maserati.com/

    May 14, 2021 at 19:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Dr Maserati

    http://www.demo.cloudhostedresources.com/?id=7cde069d28fee9161e9475b01c2cf8cf&fullscreen=1&task=get&url=http://www.club-maserati.com/

    May 14, 2021 at 19:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Optometrist Phoenix

    https://www.accommodationforstudents.com/ads/b.asp?link=http://arizonasvision.com/&id=610

    May 14, 2021 at 19:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. https://www.songmanhits.com

    Best view i have ever seen !

    https://www.cs.odu.edu/~mln/teaching/cs891-s06/?method=display&redirect=https://www.songmanhits.com

    May 15, 2021 at 00:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. realtors around me

    I quite like reading through a post that can make men and women think. Also, thank you for allowing me to comment!

    https://www.rondomusic.com/cgi-bin/affiliates/clickthru.cgi?id=bwcornwell&page=https://meganleary.com/

    May 15, 2021 at 00:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. houses for sale hayden lake idaho

    http://www.suzuki.saikyou.biz/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=5&url=http://www.meganleary.com/

    May 15, 2021 at 01:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. rv repair near my location

    https://worldlunghealth2020.theunion.org/index/out/?type=sponsor&url=https://rvmarketingexperts.com/

    May 15, 2021 at 03:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. realtor around me

    https://www.clixgalore.com/NoRedirect.aspx?ID=11387&AfID=225385&BID=111815&ER=1&RU=https://meganleary.com

    May 15, 2021 at 04:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. homes for sale wallace

    https://scistarter.com/api/record/joinup/1014?next=http://meganleary.com/

    May 15, 2021 at 05:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Maserati Levante Used

    http://media.vol.at/weiterleitung/redirect.asp?id=http://club-maserati.com

    May 15, 2021 at 08:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Contact Lens Exam

    Having read this I believed it was very enlightening. I appreciate you spending some time and energy to put this information together. I once again find myself spending a significant amount of time both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!

    https://hr.bjx.com.cn/go.aspx?u=http://arizonasvision.com

    May 15, 2021 at 10:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Maserati A6Gcs/53 Pininfarina Berlinetta

    I blog often and I truly appreciate your information. This great article has really peaked my interest. I'm going to take a note of your website and keep checking for new information about once per week. I opted in for your RSS feed too.

    http://onionring.jp/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=281&url=club-maserati.com

    May 15, 2021 at 10:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Maserati Gran Turismo 2008

    http://www.rondomusic.com/cgi-bin/affiliates/clickthru.cgi?id=bwcornwell&page=http://www.club-maserati.com/

    May 15, 2021 at 11:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. https://mbee.com.vn/bao-gia-vach-ngan-ve-sinh-compact-hpl-12mm-nam-2020/

    Hey! I understand this is somewhat off-topic however I needed to ask.
    Does managing a well-established website like yours require a large
    amount of work? I am completely new to writing
    a blog however I do write in my diary every
    day. I'd like to start a blog so I can easily share my own experience
    and feelings online. Please let me know if you have any recommendations or
    tips for new aspiring blog owners. Thankyou!

    May 15, 2021 at 11:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Arizona Vision

    Everything is very open with a very clear description of the issues. It was really informative. Your site is extremely helpful. Thanks for sharing!

    https://phototo.com.ua/uk/redirect-to-site?client_id=258&url=https://www.arizonasvision.com

    May 15, 2021 at 12:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Arizona Vision Ahwatukee

    Pretty! This has been an incredibly wonderful article. Thank you for supplying this info.

    http://webourgeon.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=arizonasvision.com

    May 15, 2021 at 15:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. rv state inspection near me

    This is a good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere. Simple but very precise info… Thanks for sharing this one. A must read post!

    http://www.nilaima.com/link.php?url=http://www.ocrv.tv

    May 15, 2021 at 15:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Google Marketing Quotes

    http://fis.com/fis/shared/redirect.asp?banner=6158&url=https://marketingpostfalls.com/

    May 15, 2021 at 17:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Maserati Ghibli Sq4

    After I originally commented I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now whenever a comment is added I get 4 emails with the same comment. Perhaps there is a means you can remove me from that service? Kudos!

    https://www.banan.cz/goto.php?url=http://club-maserati.com

    May 15, 2021 at 18:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Maserati Granturismo Mc For Sale

    Hi there, I do think your blog may be having internet browser compatibility problems. Whenever I look at your website in Safari, it looks fine however, when opening in I.E., it has some overlapping issues. I simply wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Aside from that, excellent site!

    https://www.bbs.tut-obmen.ru/redirect/?g=https://club-maserati.com/

    May 15, 2021 at 18:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Content Marketing Agencies

    I was extremely pleased to discover this great site. I wanted to thank you for ones time due to this fantastic read!! I definitely savored every little bit of it and i also have you saved to fav to check out new information in your blog.

    https://analytics.bluekai.com/site/16231?phint=event=click&phint=campaign=BRAND-TAB&phint=platform=search&done=https://internetmarketingsupply.com

    May 15, 2021 at 19:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Social Media Marketing Events

    https://pcinhk.com/discuz/uchome/link.php?url=https://bjsnearme.com/

    May 15, 2021 at 19:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Social Media Marketing Businesses

    I need to to thank you for this wonderful read!! I absolutely loved every bit of it. I have you book-marked to look at new things you post…

    http://www.etracker.de/lnkcnt.php?et=qPKGYV&url=https://postfallsfitness.com/

    May 15, 2021 at 19:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. aika online private server

    Hello! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after looking at many of the posts I realized it’s new to me. Regardless, I’m definitely happy I came across it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back often!

    https://aikareborn.com/members/petoper.41373

    May 15, 2021 at 22:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Video Marketing Program

    Hello! I simply want to give you a huge thumbs up for the great info you've got right here on this post. I'll be returning to your web site for more soon.

    https://www.trami.jp/cv/link.php?mid=73967&rid=1515&location=http://www.affordableranking.com

    May 15, 2021 at 22:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Hel Networks Aika

    https://aikareborn.com/members/mariel53.41183

    May 15, 2021 at 23:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Social Media Marketing Consultant

    http://navi-mxm.dojin.com/cgi-bin/ys/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=3385&url=http://affordableranking.com

    May 15, 2021 at 23:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Social Media Marketing Firms

    http://www.dozentenboerse.de/tools/hp/?url=http://www.affordableranking.com

    May 15, 2021 at 23:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. aika online review

    https://www.1000love.net/lovelove/link.php?url=https://aikareborn.com/wiki/mount_dg/

    May 16, 2021 at 00:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. game aika online

    Hello! I simply would like to offer you a huge thumbs up for the great info you've got right here on this post. I am returning to your web site for more soon.

    http://webgozar.com/feedreader/redirect.aspx?url=https://aikareborn.com/forums/past-events.12

    May 16, 2021 at 00:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Local Marketing Companies

    The next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesn't disappoint me just as much as this one. After all, I know it was my choice to read, but I really thought you'd have something interesting to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of complaining about something that you could fix if you weren't too busy looking for attention.

    http://www.unaten.com/link.php?url=affordableranking.com

    May 16, 2021 at 02:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Internet Marketing Quotes

    http://ads.focus-news.net/click.php?id=707&url=https://affordableranking.com

    May 16, 2021 at 02:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Seo Marketing Consultants

    https://d-click.fecomercio.net.br/u/3622/3328/67847/6550_0/89344/?url=http://www.affordableranking.com/

    May 16, 2021 at 04:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Aika Private Server

    https://www.site-navi.net/sponavi/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=890&url=https://www.aikareborn.com/wiki/unidentified_gear/

    May 16, 2021 at 05:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Aika Global

    Good post. I learn something new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon every day. It's always useful to read content from other authors and practice something from their sites.

    http://aquarist-classifieds.co.uk/BANNER-MANAGEMENT/click.php?id=44&url=http://aikareborn.com/wiki/rifleman_honor

    May 16, 2021 at 05:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Seo Marketing Firm

    I truly love your website.. Excellent colors & theme. Did you develop this site yourself? Please reply back as I’m attempting to create my own blog and would like to know where you got this from or just what the theme is called. Cheers!

    http://ventsombre.net/redirect.php?adr=affordableranking.com&ind=204

    May 16, 2021 at 06:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Google Casinos

    Terrific post however I was wondering if you could write
    a litte more on this topic? I'd be very thankful if you
    could elaborate a little bit further. Bless you!

    my web site :: Google Casinos

    May 16, 2021 at 07:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Content Marketing Consultant

    Pretty! This has been a really wonderful article. Many thanks for providing these details.

    http://affiliate.joomla-monster.com/idevaffiliate.php?id=789&url=https://paradisepoolandspa.org/

    May 16, 2021 at 09:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. rv chassis repair near me

    When I originally left a comment I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on whenever a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. There has to be an easy method you are able to remove me from that service? Thank you!

    /

    May 16, 2021 at 10:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Conversion Van Screen Repair

    https://intranet.secure.griffith.edu.au/s/redirect?rank=10&collection=on-campus-search&url=https://fleetautorepairshop.com/truck-maintenance-shop-near-me

    May 16, 2021 at 13:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Art Van Repair

    Hi, I do think this is a great website. I stumbledupon it 😉 I will return once again since I book-marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide others.

    https://forum.everleap.com/proxy.php?link=https://ocrvfleetservices.com/rv-wrap-shop-near-me/

    May 16, 2021 at 14:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Authorized Mercedes Benz Service Centers Near Me

    http://newsletter.traveldocs.com/t.aspx?S=28&ID=0&NL=274&N=1895&SI=0&URL=https://fleetrepairshops.com/nissan-cargo-van-repair-shop-near-me

    May 16, 2021 at 14:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Sprinter Fuel Filler Pipe Repair

    Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Thanks, However I am encountering problems with your RSS. I don’t understand the reason why I can't subscribe to it. Is there anybody having similar RSS problems? Anyone that knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanx!!

    http://qnrwz.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=commercialrepairshop.com/semi-truck-wrap-shop-near-me

    May 16, 2021 at 14:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. 2006 Sprinter Fuel Pump Repair

    https://rspcb.safety.fhwa.dot.gov/pageRedirect.aspx?RedirectedURL=https://fleetservicesocrv.com/van-repair-shop-near-me-2

    May 16, 2021 at 15:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Maserati Quattroporte Interiors

    http://www.rawdude.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=maseratis.net

    May 16, 2021 at 16:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Sprinter Van Repair Laguna Niguel

    https://www.ycaistock.com/home/link.php?url=https://boxtruckrepairshop.com/van-technician-shop-near-me/

    May 16, 2021 at 18:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. 2015 Maserati Quattroporte

    https://familydollarhotjobs.us/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=maseratiforum.net

    May 16, 2021 at 19:47 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29

Leave a Reply to Social Media Marketing Events


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.