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Pregnancies from biopsied human preimplantation embryos sexed by Y-specific DNA amplification


OVER 200 recessive X chromosome-linked diseases, typically affecting only hemizygous males, have been identified. In many of these, prenatal diagnosis is possible by chorion villus sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis, followed by cytogenetic, biochemical or molecular analysis of the cells recovered from the conceptus. In others, the only alternative is to determine the sex of the fetus. If the fetus is affected by the defect or is male, abortion can be offered. Diagnosis of genetic defects in preimplantation embryos would allow those unaffected to be identified and transferred to the uterus1. Here we report the first established pregnancies using this procedure, in two couples known to be at risk of transmitting adrenoleukodystrophy and X-linked mental retardation. Two female embryos were transferred after in vitro fertilization (IVF), biopsy of a single cell at the six- to eight-cell stage, and sexing by DNA amplification of a Y chromosome-specific repeat sequence. Both women are confirmed as carrying normal female twins.

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Handyside, A., Kontogianni, E., Hardy, K. et al. Pregnancies from biopsied human preimplantation embryos sexed by Y-specific DNA amplification. Nature 344, 768–770 (1990).

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