Applications of Recent Advances in DNA Techniques to Diagnosis in the Fetus

  • Ann Curtis
Part of the Studies in Biology, Economy and Society book series (SBES)


In Britain, about 14 000 infants each year are born with a genetic disorder. The area covered by the Northern Regional Health Authority has a population of 3.1 million and 40 000 annual live births of which 1200 are genetically abnormal. However, there are about 60 000 people in the region who are known carriers of single gene defects and a very much larger number who are at risk of being carriers. Such genetically determined diseases cause chronic disability, and often the fear of early death and handicap leads to unnecessary abortion of normal fetuses, lifelong anxiety and childlessness. Molecular genetic techniques are advancing at a rapid rate and now offer hope to many people by demonstrating that they are not carriers of a particular defective gene or that their fetus is normal. In the minority of cases where a fetal abnormality which will cause chronic illness, either in childhood or in later life, is detected, early selective abortion can be offered.


Cystic Fibrosis Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Myotonic Dystrophy Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Regulator 
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© The Galton Institute 1995

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  • Ann Curtis

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