October 24, 2008

BRITISH researchers have developed a revolutionary test that will let prospective parents screen embryos for almost any known genetic disease.

The £1500 ($3630) test, which should be available as early as next year, will allow couples at risk of passing on gene defects to conceive healthy children using IVF treatment, The Times reports.

Unlike current tests it takes just weeks from start to finish and is suitable for couples at risk of almost any condition.

At present only 2 per cent of the known genetic conditions can be identified by current tests.

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The new test involves creating embryos by IVF and removing a single cell from each when they are two days old.

The cells are then tested using a technique known as karyomapping before a healthy embryo is implanted, The Times reports.

Developed at the Bridge Centre in London, the test can check for mutations that cause serious disorders such as cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy and Huntington’s disease.


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