Monday, September 16, 2013

NIH Studies Explore Ppromise Sequencing Babies' Genomes’-genomes

The NIH recently founded a study that will examine over the next 5 years the benefits and drawbacks of sequencing the genomes of babies when they are born.  Currently, newborns are tested for several disorders, like phenylketonuria, in which early treatments and therapies can prevent long term damage.  Several different hospitals will take similar, but distinct approaches to studying the usefulness of testing.  One will look for markers that can be used to predict drug overdoses in infants, and another will look at trying to diagnose infants that end up in neo-natal intensive care.  Yet another will divide infants into two groups, performing traditional testing on one and genome sequencing on the other, and then follow the children for several years to see how the information affected the children's health care.  Most of the participating groups will not examine all possible diseases and traits in the genome, but will instead focus on a list of important disorders, especially those that are treatable or preventable.

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