Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Microarray analysis can identify unsuspected incest

Date:
February 10, 2011
Source:
Baylor College of Medicine
Summary:
Researchers using DNA microarrays to diagnose developmental disabilities or congenital anomalies in children may unexpectedly identify that some have been conceived through incest. This raises social and legal issues that institutions and the scientific community must address, said researchers.

Researchers using DNA microarrays to diagnose developmental disabilities or congenital anomalies in children may unexpectedly identify that some have been conceived through incest. This raises social and legal issues that institutions and the scientific community must address, said researchers from Baylor College of Medicine in a report that appears in the current issue of the journal Lancet.

"We have discussed these issues with legal and ethics experts at Baylor and Texas Children's Hospital, and we are considering how best to handle them," said Dr. Arthur Beaudet, chair of molecular and human genetics at BCM and a senior author of the report. In most states, clinicians are required to report suspicions of child abuse. If it is suspected that the pregnancy was the result of abuse, then that will need to be reported to child protective services and, potentially, law enforcement. The responsibility of the physician is less clear when the mother is an adult, he said. It may depend on her age and family circumstances when she became pregnant.

These findings have social implications as well. The mother may deny that the incest took place, or she may be fearful for the safety of herself and her child if it comes to light.

Scientists identify cases of possible incest through what they call an "absence of heterozygosity." In most instances, an infant receives roughly half of his or her genes from the mother and half from the father. This is called heterozygosity. In the case of incest, family members, who already share much of their genetic code, each contribute to the genetic material of a child. This will result in absence of heterozygosity in the genes of that child. In other words, children conceived through incest have large blocks of DNA in which genes inherited from the mother and the father are identical.

"In some cases, these regions can account for as much as one-fourth of the genome," said Beaudet. The most common cause for this is that the child was conceived by first-degree relatives, such as a father and a daughter or a brother and a sister.

Because disabilities are frequent in children born of incestuous liaisons, they may come to the attention of experts seeking to identify the source of their problems. The use of single nucleotide polymorphism-based (SNP-based) arrays, usually to identify small deletions or duplications in the genome, can also identify these large identical chunks of DNA.

Beaudet and his co-authors, Drs. Christian P. Schaaf, Daryl A. Scott and Joanna Wiszniewska, all of BCM, recommended that health care institutions establish a committee to discuss these issues and draft practice guidelines that deal with issues of consent, disclosure of results and reporting.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Baylor College of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. CP Schaaf, DA Scott, J Wiszniewska, AL Beaudet. Identification of incestuous parental relationships by SNP-based DNA microarrays Original Text. The Lancet, Volume 377, Issue 9765, Pages 555 - 556, 12 February 2011 DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60201-8

Cite This Page:

Baylor College of Medicine. "Microarray analysis can identify unsuspected incest." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110210202052.htm>.
Baylor College of Medicine. (2011, February 10). Microarray analysis can identify unsuspected incest. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110210202052.htm
Baylor College of Medicine. "Microarray analysis can identify unsuspected incest." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110210202052.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins