Last month Connor Levy was the first child to be born in the US using next-generation sequencing (NGS), a technique that uses computer software to scan and count DNA fragments to ensure the correct number of chromosomes are present and identify any defects within 16 hours. Other techniques for screening embryos do exist but these are extremely costly and are quite specific.
A small study was carried out by an international team headed up by Dagan Wells of the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at the University of Oxford, who is due to announce the results today, 8 July, at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology’s annual meeting in London. The study involved analysis of cells from several embryos simultaneously, sequencing just two percent of DNA to accurately judge the number of chromosomes present. In total, cells from 45 embryos known to have defects (through using the costlier technique) were successfully screened using NGS at clinics in Pennsylvania and New York.
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