Amsterdam, The Netherlands: One-step screening for both genetic and chromosomal abnormalities has come a stage closer as scientists announced that an embryo test they have been developing has successfully screened cells taken from spare embryos that were known to have cystic fibrosis.
They told a news briefing at the 25th annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Amsterdam today (Tuesday) that, as a result, they would be able to offer clinical trials to couples seeking fertility treatment later this year.
The researchers based in the USA and the UK have been able to prove that the technique, known as genome-wide karyomapping, was capable of not only detecting diseases caused by a specific gene mutation, in this case cystic fibrosis, but that it was also capable of detecting aneuploidy (an abnormal number of any of the 23 pairs of chromosome) at the same time. This is the first time they have been able to demonstrate that the test can work in cells taken from embryos that have already been diagnosed with the cystic fibrosis gene mutation using conventional preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD).
Gary Harton, PGD scientific director of the Genetics & IVF Institute in Fairfax, Virginia (USA) told a news briefing: "Karyomapping is a universal method for analysing the inheritance of genetic defects in the preimplantation embryo without any prior patient or disease specific test development, which often delays patient treatment. For the first time, the inheritance of both single gene defects and chromosomal abnormalities can be detected simultaneously at the single cell level. Unlike other methods, this is achieved entirely by analysing the DNA sequence at over 300,000 locations genome-wide in parents and appropriate family members, often children already affected by a disease, and comparing their sequence with that inherited by the embryo. This can be achieved very rapidly using current microchip tech
|Contact: Mary Rice|
European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology