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New Research Shows Genes of Pregnant Women and Their Fetuses Can Increase the Risk of Preterm Labor
Date:2/4/2010

e relationship between genetics and preterm birth and is a step toward personalized medicine," said Alan R. Fleischman, MD, medical director of the March of Dimes. "This has the potential to allow us to identify a woman who is at risk for delivering early and provide her with specialized, individualized care so that she may carry her baby to term, and help give more babies a healthy start in life."

All patients in the case-control study had at least one prior spontaneous preterm birth (less than 37 weeks of gestation). The study extracted DNA from the cord blood and maternal blood of more than 800 pregnant Hispanic women and their fetuses, and then genotyped more than 700 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 190 candidate genes that may predispose to preterm birth.

Fetuses that carried a SNP gene variation in IL6R, which influences inflammation, had twice the risk of preterm birth.  DNA variants in maternal genes also increased the risk of preterm birth. Together these factors provide new evidence that genetic predisposition to preterm birth can depend on the DNA of both mother and fetus and how the two interact.

Today's award-winning study, "Identification of Fetal and Maternal Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms in Candidate Genes that Predispose to Spontaneous Preterm Labor with Intact Membranes," is the seventh study by SMFM members to be honored by the March of Dimes for innovative research focused on preventing premature birth. The March of Dimes is conducting a national Prematurity Campaign aimed at using research and awareness to reduce the increasing rate of premature birth.

The Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (est. 1977) is a nonprofit membership group for obstetricians/gynecologists who have additional formal education and training in maternal-fetal medicine. The society is devoted to reducing high-risk pregnancy complications by educating its 2000 members
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SOURCE March of Dimes
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