Expectant mothers are used to fuzzy images on ultrasound monitors and blood tests to screen for potential health problems in their unborn babies. But what if one of those blood tests came back with a readout of the baby's entire genome? What if a simple test gave parents every nuance of a baby's genetic makeup before birth?
Recent studies show that it's possible to sequence an entire fetal genome from a sample of the mother's blood (see "Using Parents' Blood to Decode the Genome of a Fetus"). In the future, doctors may be able to divine a wealth of information about genetic diseases or other characteristics of a fetus from the pregnant mother's blood. Such tests will raise ethical questions about how to act on such information. But they could also lead to research on treating diseases before birth, and leave parents and their doctors better prepared to care for babies after birth.
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald