Currently, prenatal diagnosis of genetic diseases and genetic monitoring of fetal development require invasive procedures. New data generated by Jill Maron and colleagues, at Tufts -- New England Medical Center, Boston, has indicated that it might be possible to perform these processes non-invasively.
In the study, it was shown that a common pattern of fetal mRNAs, the molecules that hold the "blueprints" for proteins, was detectable in the blood of pregnant women. After birth, these mRNAs were no longer detected or were detected at substantially lower levels.
These data have two important implications: first, the common pattern of fetal mRNAs found in the blood of the pregnant women could serve as a baseline to compare fetuses affected by various pathologic conditions; and second, monitoring specific fetal mRNAs in the blood of pregnant women could be used for prenatal diagnosis of genetic diseases.
Article: Gene expression analysis in pregnant women and their infants identifies unique fetal biomarkers that circulate in maternal blood
Materials provided by Journal of Clinical Investigation. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
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