Cytocell, a biotech firm from
Oxfordshire, UK, has developed a
simple, safe and reliable test that
uses foetal blood cells that leak
through the placenta into the
mother's circulation, to detect
genetic abnormalities. The technique may eventually replace
amniocentesis, which presents a
one-in-200 chance of a miscarriage.
But the test only makes use of samples obtained from after 16 weeks of pregnancy, and the foetal cells have to be cultured for three weeks. Cytocell is coming up with another technique called 'fluorescence in situ hybridisation' that could provide faster results.
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