New genetic test to detect inherited diseases in embryos

July 11th, 2009 - 4:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Agra, July 11 (IANS) A new genetic test to spot almost all inherited diseases, including cystic fibrosis, mental retardation and some types of cancer, in embryos fertilised in the test tube, could be available within a year, health experts said here Saturday.
The Genetic MoT (molecular test), known as Karyomapping, will be available in the market very soon.

Federation of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Societies of India FOGSI president Narendra Malhotra and leading in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) specialist Jaideep Malhotra, returned after participating in the 25th annual conference of ESHRE (European Society for Human Reproduction) in Amsterdam late last month.

They said that the conference stressed on ways to improve IVF results and development of new techniques and tests to make sure that the IVF babies are born healthy and disease free. Over 130 Indians attended the conference where 8,000 IVF specialists and embroyologists took part.

The 2,500 pounds-test can detect around 15,000 genetic conditions. It can also detect Huntington’s disease and autism. The genetic test counts the number of chromosomes in the embryos, potentially increasing the chances of pregnancy and cutting the odds of miscarriage.

Karyomapping is quicker than existing methods of genetic testing, which would lessen the emotional burden of waiting for results.

The main genetic test already used by couples with a family history of conditions such as cystic fibrosis is called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). Doctors look through the parent’s DNA for the rogue gene and use the information to create a probe that hunts for the flaw in the embryos.

Josephine Quintavalle, of campaign group Comment on Reproductive Ethics, said the long-term health effects of testing embryos were unknown. She added: “I think the qualities that people look for have very little to do with what makes a good and loving human being.”

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