Simple blood test in the first trimester predicts fetal gender

January 3, 2012

A new research study published in the January 2012 edition of The FASEB Journal describes findings that could lead to a non-invasive test that would let expecting mothers know the sex of their baby as early as the first trimester. Specifically, researchers from South Korea discovered that various ratios of two enzymes (DYS14/GAPDH), which can be extracted from a pregnant mother's blood, indicate if the baby will be a boy or a girl. Such a test would be the first of its kind.

"Generally, early fetal has been performed by invasive procedures such as chorionic villus sampling or amniocentesis. However, these invasive procedures still carry a one to two percent risk of miscarriage and cannot be performed until 11 weeks of gestation. Moreover, reliable determination of fetal gender using ultrasonography cannot be performed in the first trimester, because the development of external genitalia is not complete," said Hyun Mee Ryu, M.D., Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynocology at Cheil General Hospital and Women's Healthcare Center at the KwanDong University School of Medicine in Seoul, Korea. "Therefore, this can reduce the need for in pregnant women carrying an X-linked chromosomal abnormality and clarify inconclusive readings by ultrasound."

To make this discovery, Ryu and colleagues collected maternal plasma from 203 women during their first trimester of pregnancy. The presence of circulating fetal DNA was confirmed by a quantitative methylation-specific of U-PDE9A. Multiplex real-time polymerase chain reaction was used to simultaneously quantify the amount of DYS14 and GAPDH in maternal plasma. The results were confirmed by phenotype at birth.

"Although more work must be done before such a test is widely available, this paper does show it is possible to predict the sex of a child as early as the first few weeks after conception," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The . "At present, parents are sometimes given the wrong information about the sex of their unborn child; this should prove helpful in resolving any uncertainties of today's ultrasound observations."

Explore further: Tests that use DNA from mother's blood to determine sex of fetus often effective

More information: Ji Hyae Lim, So Yeon Park, Shin Young Kim, Do Jin Kim, Ji Eun Choi, Min Hyoung Kim, Jun Seek Choi, Moon Young Kim, Jae Hyug Yang, and Hyun Mee Ryu. Effective detection of fetal sex using circulating fetal DNA in first-trimester maternal plasma. FASEB J. January 2012 26:250 doi:10.1096/fj.11-191429

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Formaldehyde damages proteins, not just DNA

September 29, 2016

The capacity of formaldehyde, a chemical frequently used in manufactured goods such as automotive parts and wood products, to damage DNA, interfere with cell replication and cause cancer inspired new federal regulations this ...

Synthetic 3D-printed material helps bones regrow

September 28, 2016

A cheap and easy to make synthetic bone material has been shown to stimulate new bone growth when implanted in the spines of rats and a monkey's skull, researchers said Wednesday.

Epigenetic clock predicts life expectancy

September 28, 2016

UCLA geneticist Steve Horvath led a team of 65 scientists in seven countries to record age-related changes to human DNA, calculate biological age and estimate a person's lifespan. A higher biological age—regardless of chronological ...

Engineered blood vessels grow in lambs

September 27, 2016

In a hopeful development for children born with congenital heart defects, scientists said Tuesday they had built artificial blood vessels which grew unaided when implanted into lambs, right into adulthood.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.