Non-invasive prenatal screening: Too much information?

Thomas van Ardenne
Credit: Thomas van Ardenne / Flickr

Ever since scientists discovered, in the 1990s, that pregnant women’s blood contains substantial amounts of fetal DNA, they’ve theorized that they could use this genetic material to test for fetal abnormalities like an extra copy of chromosome 21, which causes Down syndrome.

That technology has now arrived.

While today fewer than 5 percent of pregnant women undergo amniocentesis, “I think we could see 50, 60, 70, 80 percent of American pregnancies getting genetic testing,” says Hank Greely, director of the Center for Law and the Biosciences at Stanford.

The catch, though, is that as the accuracy of these tests continues to improve, they will be able to detect a greater range of genetic variations, including some with murkier implications. Do we have the wisdom to direct our own evolution?

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Read the full, original story: Too Much Information

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