Rapid prenatal test for alpha-thalassemia
Researchers from Mahidol University have developed a rapid, high-throughput screening method for prevention and control of thalassemia. The related report by Munkongdee et al, "Rapid diagnosis of α-thalassemia by melting curve analysis," appears in the May 2010 issue of The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics. α-Thalassemia is a blood disease caused by a genetic defect in the production of a component of hemoglobin. This disease is more prevalent in areas that either were previously or are currently endemic for malaria, including the Mediterranean and South Asia. Carriers of mutations in α-thalassemia may have some degree of protection against malaria, but children of parents who both carry the mutation α-thalassemia-1 may develop Hb Bart's hydrops fetalis, which results in fetal death in utero or soon after birth.
Prenatal screening and genetic counseling are essential for prevention and control of α-thalassemia. The current diagnostic assay is both labor-intensive and time-consuming. Therefore, researchers led by Dr. Saovaros Svasti of Mahidol University developed a novel, rapid, and reliable assay for the diagnosis of α-thalassemias. This assay has high sensitivity and specificity, rapid turnaround time, and a decreased risk of contamination between samples.
Munkongdee et al suggest that this technique will "allow [for] high throughput screening suitable for prevention and control of thalassemia in the Southeast Asia population."
Source: American Journal of Pathology
Latest Science NewsletterGet the latest and most popular science news articles of the week in your Inbox! It's free!
Check out our next project, Biology.Net
From other science news sites
Popular science news articles
- Future climate models greatly affected by fungi and bacteria
- Air pollution associated with increased heart attack risk despite 'safe' levels
- Researchers use DNA 'clews' to shuttle CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tool into cells
- Blueberry extract could help fight gum disease and reduce antibiotic use
- Sir Elton John is the inspiration behind the name of a new coral reef crustacean species