Researchers have developed a new genetic test that can help predict whether parents who have one child with the "isolated" form of cleft lip or palate are likely to have a second child with the same birth defect. Isolated clefts account for 70 percent of all cleft lip and palate cases.
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences provided funding for the study. All three agencies are components of the National Institutes of Health. The study results appear in the August 19 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
"This study shows that weve reached a point where its possible to take blood samples from parents, test certain genes, and determine whether their risk for a second child with cleft lip or palate is, say, 1 percent or 20 percent," said Jeffrey Murray, M.D., a scientist at the University of Iowa and senior author on the study. "Now is the time to begin thinking about how best to apply these types of tests clinically and ensure that they truly benefit the families and their children."
John Peterson | EurekAlert!
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