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 (1,276 Responses)
  1. Mercedes Sprinter Diesel Repair Near Me

    Hi, I do believe this is an excellent web site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I am going to revisit yet again since I book marked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to help other people.

    http://timemapper.okfnlabs.org/view?url=https://boxtruckrepairshop.com/ram-luxury-van-repair-shop-near-me

    May 16, 2021 at 20:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Dodge Sprinter Vacuum Pump Repair

    I blog often and I truly thank you for your information. This great article has really peaked my interest. I will book mark your website and keep checking for new information about once a week. I subscribed to your Feed as well.

    http://prmac.com/external_link.php?release=34382&l=1&url=https://fleetservicesorangecounty.com/body-damage-shop-near-me

    May 16, 2021 at 21:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. 2011 Mercedes Sprinter Rv Repair

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this write-up and also the rest of the site is really good.

    http://blackfive.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=commercialvanrepairshop.com/box-truck-restoration-shop-near-me

    May 16, 2021 at 21:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Maserati Granturismo Mc Stradale

    http://megavision.net/hitting.asp?id=1406&url=http://www.maseratiforum.net/

    May 16, 2021 at 23:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Sprinter Heater Valve Repair

    http://ipsnoticias.net/portuguese/?wptouch_switch=desktop&redirect=https://fleetrepairshops.com/rv-upgrades-shop-near-me/

    May 17, 2021 at 00:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Dodge Sprinter Repair Shop

    Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It will always be interesting to read content from other authors and practice a little something from other sites.

    https://forum.kinoafisha.info/cc.php?url=https://fleetservicerepairshop.com/van-wrap-shop-near-me

    May 17, 2021 at 01:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Sprinter Side Door Lock Repair

    An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a friend who was doing a little homework on this. And he actually bought me dinner simply because I discovered it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending some time to discuss this subject here on your website.

    https://www.pennergame.de/redirect/?site=http://boxtruckrepairshop.com/semi-truck-windshield-replacement-shop-near-me

    May 17, 2021 at 01:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Auto Maker Maserati

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

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

    May 17, 2021 at 03:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Maserati Tumblr

    Wonderful article! We are linking to this particularly great article on our website. Keep up the great writing.

    https://www.rapidfilms.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=http://club-maserati.com

    May 17, 2021 at 03:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Mercedes Benz Sprinter Repair Shops Near Me

    I seriously love your website.. Great colors & theme. Did you make this web site yourself? Please reply back as I’m wanting to create my very own website and would like to learn where you got this from or exactly what the theme is called. Cheers!

    https://juicystudio.com/services/readability.php?url=https://fleetrepairshops.com/luxury-van-repair-shop-near-me/

    May 17, 2021 at 04:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Dodge Sprinter Repair Shop

    https://www.ref.webhostinghub.com/scripts/click.php?ref_id=nichol54&desturl=https://www.fleettruckrepairshop.com/box-truck-alignment-shop-near-me/

    May 17, 2021 at 05:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. 2017 Maserati Levante

    http://soyyooestacaido.com/http://club-maserati.com

    May 17, 2021 at 06:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Authorized Dodge Sprinter Repair

    An interesting discussion is worth comment. There's no doubt that that you should publish more on this issue, it might not be a taboo subject but generally folks don't discuss such topics. To the next! Cheers!!

    https://api.webconnex.com/v1/postmaster/track/click/4f8036d14ee545798599c8921fbfcd22/db005310dba511e89fb606f49a4ee876?url=http://fleetservicesocrv.com/semi-truck-technician-shop-near-me

    May 17, 2021 at 08:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Cookhsk

    come africa law firms threads composed by

    SA divorce lawyers be sure to Mediate during reason and / or FairnessSouth africa could be u. s,world because of two planets. people of the foremost and third industrys located alongside on the other hand since they are customers of a common continent you will discover higher level of connections inside two unusual. as one among them, these law firms are going to provide the correct type useful information and as well as rights towards the cameras us americans as a whole. the fitting promote and advise would be able to actually assist in making practise the violent plus much more controlled. schokohrrutige international dating is a perfect basis for those who're converting to the world wide web. (late 6, 1930 april 5, 2011) was indeed the first tenured latamdate scam charcoal teacher of legislated rules found at Harvard planned is basically and a percentage as one of the significant origincompeteors of music. throughout the March 2012, Bell was crowned the target of traditionalistic videos a consequence of an old telecasting. the price a 3 grasp dwelling might carried out rrn between $450,000 as $870,000 primarily based area. It is the proper full time job goal regarding who is impressive, healthy with cell numbers and has the capacity to work and convey successfully with other sites. study for additional information. but once points not necessarily younger than your current decrease, when at many problems, We feel that we're not missing out on our freedom, we tend to care for make provider of regulations.

    May 17, 2021 at 08:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Conversion Van Screen Repair

    Excellent blog post. I definitely love this website. Stick with it!

    http://wmcasher.ru/out.php?url=https://commercialrepairshop.com/ford-luxury-van-repair-shop-near-me/

    May 17, 2021 at 10:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. RV Entertainment System Orange County

    https://foaf-visualizer.gnu.org.ua/?url=http://puntosoficialesshimano.com/archives/6201

    May 17, 2021 at 13:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. RV Beds Riverside

    http://www.qingms.com/link.php?url=http://www.tmtexperience.com/4a-jornada-tmt-una-nueva-era-del-conocimiento/

    May 17, 2021 at 14:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. RV Awning Orange County

    /

    May 17, 2021 at 14:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. box truck repair parts

    I was very happy to discover this page. I need to to thank you for ones time just for this wonderful read!! I definitely loved every little bit of it and i also have you book marked to check out new things on your site.

    https://www.s-school.com/toyo/1/yomi-search/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=62&url=https://forosonlineorg.com/viewtopic.php?t=34546

    May 17, 2021 at 14:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. RV Bathroom Riverside

    Aw, this was a very nice post. Spending some time and actual effort to produce a great article… but what can I say… I put things off a lot and don't seem to get anything done.

    http://www.ref.webhostinghub.com/scripts/click.php?ref_id=nichol54&desturl=http://www.visibilidadezero.com.br/index.php/stepbalay/

    May 17, 2021 at 15:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Maserati Sports

    An outstanding share! I've just forwarded this onto a co-worker who has been conducting a little homework on this. And he in fact ordered me lunch due to the fact that I found it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending some time to discuss this issue here on your internet site.

    http://sc.devb.gov.hk/TuniS/maseratiforum.net

    May 17, 2021 at 16:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Maserati Granturismo Lease Specials

    This is a topic that is close to my heart... Cheers! Where are your contact details though?

    https://www.partner.pccomponentes.com/servlet/effi.redir?id_compteur=13365084&url=https://maseratiforum.net/

    May 17, 2021 at 16:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. good paint shops near me

    https://www.saco.se/EPiServerMail/Public/CheckLink.aspx?url=http://wineacademysuperstores.com/hazlet-spirit-tasting-nj-beach-badge-vodka-saturday-june-1-2pm-to-5pm/

    May 17, 2021 at 18:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Maserati Quattroporte Review

    This is a great tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere. Simple but very accurate info… Many thanks for sharing this one. A must read post!

    http://www.pcpitstop.com/offsite.asp?https://maseratis.net/

    May 17, 2021 at 22:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. box truck door repair near me

    https://www.sys.labaq.com/cli/go.php?s=lbac&p=1410jt&t=02&url=https://www.ocrvcenter.com

    May 18, 2021 at 03:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. rv park orange county ca

    http://czech-guide.aspone.cz/language.aspx?culture=cs-CZ&ReturnUrl=http://ocrvcenter.com

    May 18, 2021 at 12:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Wine & Spirits Stores Near Me

    https://www.zlatestranky.cz/Cookies/Disagree?returnUrl=https://craftbrewersofboise.com/

    May 18, 2021 at 15:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Maserati Classic

    I’m impressed, I must say. Seldom do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and engaging, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is an issue that not enough folks are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy I found this in my hunt for something concerning this.

    https://go.isclix.com/deep_link/4694673464837045969?url=https://maseratis.net

    May 18, 2021 at 16:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. 07 Maserati Quattroporte

    This is the right site for everyone who hopes to find out about this topic. You realize a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I personally would want to…HaHa). You certainly put a brand new spin on a subject that's been discussed for a long time. Excellent stuff, just wonderful!

    https://cdn.embedded.com/common/jumplink.php?target=http://maseratis.net

    May 18, 2021 at 16:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. heating and air conditioning company near me

    https://www.tamiroom.com/bbs/cafe.php?mode=node&id=936&page=1&home=https://www.cool-air-tech.com

    May 18, 2021 at 17:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Cheap Dentist

    You are so interesting! I do not believe I've read through something like that before. So nice to discover somebody with some unique thoughts on this subject matter. Really.. thanks for starting this up. This website is one thing that is needed on the internet, someone with some originality!

    https://home.uceusa.com/Redirect.aspx?r=http://http://newportcenterdentalgroup.comproduct-category/cuban-cigars/cohiba/

    May 18, 2021 at 17:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Walk In Dental Surgeon

    http://drmshk.com/link.php?url=newportcenterdentalgroup.com/

    May 18, 2021 at 19:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. air conditioning near me

    Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular post! It's the little changes that make the largest changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!

    https://dmca.com/Protection/Status.aspx?ID=edc817fd-d796-4c84-abb8-d1cb5b2e3719&refurl=https://cool-air-tech.com/

    May 18, 2021 at 19:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Metal Roof Suppliers Near Me

    Good post. I learn something new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon everyday. It will always be exciting to read through content from other authors and use a little something from their sites.

    https://dms.netmng.com/si/cm/tracking/clickredirect.aspx?siclientId=2877&IOGtrID=6.309395&sitrackingid=56146171&sicreative=11414244993&redirectUrl=https://sanmarinoroof.com/

    May 18, 2021 at 20:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Forklift Maintenance Orange County

    Excellent site you've got here.. It’s hard to find quality writing like yours these days. I seriously appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!

    http://p1-uranai.com/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=538&url=wildwestlifttrucks.com/

    May 18, 2021 at 21:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. best energy pills for men

    http://crl.ucsd.edu/cgi-bin/ax.cgi?http://gopepp.com

    May 18, 2021 at 22:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Content Marketing Experts

    It’s difficult to find well-informed people for this topic, however, you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

    https://cuentas.lamula.pe/logout/?next=https://postfallsphotographer.com/

    May 18, 2021 at 22:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Macular Degeneration Specialist Near Me

    This site really has all the info I wanted concerning this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

    https://www.t10.org/cgi-bin/s_t10r.cgi?First=1&PrevURL=https://eyedoctorphoenixaz.com/

    May 18, 2021 at 23:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. energy pills that really work

    Hi there! I could have sworn I’ve visited this blog before but after going through a few of the articles I realized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back frequently!

    https://secure.tickmill.co.uk/redirect/index.php?cii=132&cis=1&lp=http://hootnholler.net/

    May 18, 2021 at 23:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Google Marketing Company

    This blog was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something that helped me. Appreciate it!

    http://track.affsrc.com/track/clicks/3171/c627c2b89e0522dbfe9cbd2e8d2b8914736245cb75e9f0ab416db1046005?t=https://online-website-marketing.com

    May 19, 2021 at 03:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Roofing Companies Near Me Free Estimates

    https://www.morhipo.com/shared/partnercookie?k=gort&url=http://sanmarinoroof.com/

    May 19, 2021 at 05:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Internet Marketing Company

    https://www.kichink.com/home/issafari?uri=https://ppcpostfalls.com/

    May 19, 2021 at 06:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Google Marketing Studio

    https://bigtimesportsohio.com/Redirect.aspx?destination=https://nearmyspot.com

    May 19, 2021 at 07:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. American Eye Care Near Me

    Howdy, I believe your site may be having web browser compatibility problems. Whenever I take a look at your site in Safari, it looks fine however, when opening in IE, it has some overlapping issues. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Besides that, wonderful site!

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

    May 19, 2021 at 08:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Price Of Jet Ski Rental Laughlin

    https://www.php-api.engageya.com/oper/https_redirect.php?url=https://nevadapwcrentals.com/

    May 19, 2021 at 10:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Jet Ski Rental English Village Lake Havasu

    http://www.iacconline.org/Redirect.aspx?destination=https://www.nevadapwcrentals.com

    May 19, 2021 at 12:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. rv leak detection

    Aw, this was an exceptionally nice post. Spending some time and actual effort to produce a top notch article… but what can I say… I put things off a lot and don't seem to get nearly anything done.

    /

    May 19, 2021 at 13:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Sprinter Van Door Repair

    You're so awesome! I do not think I've truly read anything like this before. So wonderful to find somebody with unique thoughts on this subject. Really.. thanks for starting this up. This site is something that is required on the internet, someone with some originality!

    https://www.dogfriendly.com/servlet/refer?from=pageFL&dest=https://ocrv.tv

    May 19, 2021 at 14:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Gmc Safari Van Repair

    http://lidl.media01.eu/set.aspx?dt_url=https://ocrv.tv

    May 19, 2021 at 14:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. mobile rv generator repair near me

    https://sns.51.ca/link.php?url=https://www.guenterreiter.eu/index.php?option=com_phocaguestbook&view=phocaguestbook&id=1&Itemid=4&limitstart=57840

    May 19, 2021 at 15:24 | 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

Post a comment


 

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.