The goal of fetal DNA testing has evolved throughout the years – it is the objective to strive for cost-efficiency, clinical and holistic accuracy, and minimal invasiveness when it comes to early stage screening for pregnant women; a mission that we uptake here at Prenatal Genetics Center.
It is within these confines and goals where next generation sequencing (NGS) shines and has gone on to become the preferred method of prenatal testing.
The History Behind Sequencing Technology
The predecessor to NGS was developed by Sanger in the 1970s, dubbed “first generation sequencing”, and while it is lauded for the first sequencing of a human genome, it was ultimately an unrealistic proposition for use in clinical settings due to efforts spanning approximately a decade to attain results, as well as financing worth billions of dollars. This is a stepping stone NGS would come to land on years later; proving invaluable for fetal DNA testing and surmounting the limitations of Sanger’s technique.
Another phrasing for NGS is known as “massive parallel sequencing” – this is largely owed to the fact that it would be as though one was conducting by order of magnitude six to nine times the amount of Sanger reactions at once.
Why NGS Has Had an Impact
By stark contrast to the cumbersome nature of Sanger’s testing, and the hurdles it put in place for aspects revolving around being financially accessible and achieving a realistic time-to-result; NGS provided the possibility of a clinical environment providing care such as fetal DNA testing through cell-free DNA (cfDNA) prenatal tests. It made breakthroughs in three distinct, yet crucial, areas:
Clinical accuracy – specific and uncommon areas in cfDNA originating from placenta are able to be clearly identified and categorized
Minimal invasion – testing can now be performed via blood sample from the mother
Cost-effectiveness - solution is now scalable to clinical settings for the public
We Continue to Be on the Cutting Edge
At Prenatal Genetic Laboratory, we continually work alongside the scientific community ranging from relationships at top universities, to continual research alongside renowned scientists specializing in fetal DNA testing. We employ the latest DNA diagnostic techniques proven to work in a clinical environment, and with almost two decades worth of experience, this allows us to provide you your results in a culture that embraces fast, affordable, and accurate results. Feel free to get in contact with us for non-invasive prenatal paternity and baby gender tests!