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Wed, Apr 09

New Prenatal Tests Pose Challenges for Developing World

Growing numbers of families in the developing world are beginning to benefit from new “noninvasive” prenatal tests that enable them to learn more quickly and accurately whether their unborn child has a severe genetic defect. As the tests become more common, however, they are also posing some difficult new ethical and practical concerns. Subhashini Chandrasekharan, a research assistant professor who teaches global health and genomics at Duke, says the challenges range from inequitable access and stigmas against disabilities to increased abortions of fetuses identified by the tests as being female. “These are issues that require immediate attention as noninvasive prenatal tests become available globally,” she writes in the April 9 edition of Science Translational Medicine with Duke postdoctoral associates Mollie Minear and Megan Allyse, and Duke undergraduate Anthony Hung. Read more.