Register for an account


Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.


Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

The Sciences

Prenatal Down syndrome tests are a go (at some point)

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanAugust 10, 2009 10:25 PM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Last spring there was a false alarm about a noninvasive form of prenatal testing, in particular for Down syndrome. But if The Guardian is right then the British NHS is pushing forward on a more general program in this direction:

The early signs are so promising that the professor leading the programme says that the risk-free test could be the standard method of detecting babies with some genetic conditions inherited from the father within two to three years and those with Down's syndrome within five - and in the process save the lives of an estimated 265 mostly normal babies a year.

The life-saving part is that there would be far less need for amniocentesis, which is invasive and results in a risk of miscarriage. The cost vs. benefit of prenatal screening would presumably shift. Though British newspapers are inclined toward sensationalism and inaccuracy, this is probably grounded in something real. H/T:Yglesias.

    3 Free Articles Left

    Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.


    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

    Want unlimited access?

    Subscribe today and save 70%


    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In