Prenatal diagnosis

Non-invasive prenatal diagnosis of achondroplasia and thanatophoric dysplasia: next-generation sequencing allows for a safer, more accurate, and comprehensive approach.

PMID 25728633


Accurate prenatal diagnosis of genetic conditions can be challenging and usually requires invasive testing. Here, we demonstrate the potential of next-generation sequencing (NGS) for the analysis of cell-free DNA in maternal blood to transform prenatal diagnosis of monogenic disorders. Analysis of cell-free DNA using a PCR and restriction enzyme digest (PCR-RED) was compared with a novel NGS assay in pregnancies at risk of achondroplasia and thanatophoric dysplasia. PCR-RED was performed in 72 cases and was correct in 88.6%, inconclusive in 7% with one false negative. NGS was performed in 47 cases and was accurate in 96.2% with no inconclusives. Both approaches were used in 27 cases, with NGS giving the correct result in the two cases inconclusive with PCR-RED. NGS provides an accurate, flexible approach to non-invasive prenatal diagnosis of de novo and paternally inherited mutations. It is more sensitive than PCR-RED and is ideal when screening a gene with multiple potential pathogenic mutations. These findings highlight the value of NGS in the development of non-invasive prenatal diagnosis for other monogenic disorders.