Genetic Differences for 'Test Tube' Babies?
Researchers Look for Clues to Health Risks in Babies Born via Assisted Reproductive Technologies
WebMD News Archive
Health Risks of ART Babies continued...
They also found these differences sometimes resulted in differences in the
expression of nearby genes, the way they are turned on or off.
What's not known, Sapienza says, is whether the differences are the result
of ART or are associated with other factors, such as the infertility itself.
Several of the genes whose expression was found to differ between the groups
have been linked with the development of fat tissue and glucose metabolism.
Still, only a small fraction of the ART babies, despite the differences
observed, were found to be outside the ''normal'' range, Sapienza says.
The new findings are believed to be the first to show on a molecular basis
differences between ART children and other children, says Marvin L. Meistrich,
PhD, professor of experimental radiation oncology at the University of Texas
M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston.
"It's not a cause to worry," says Meistrich, who participated in a symposium
that presented the study's findings at the American Association for the
Advancement of Science meeting.
''Yes, he found some abnormalities associated with the process but the
abnormalities may be very subtle," Meistrich tells WebMD.
The study findings are preliminary, he says, and the information about
differences is expected to evolve as more work is done in the area. Those who
have had ART children or are ART children themselves should try to follow the
research findings closely, Meistrich says.
If further research links specific genetic differences in ART children to
specific diseases, ''they could become proactive and start to monitor or take
preventive measures for that disease."
For instance, if genetic differences prove to boost the risk for colon cancer, the ART-conceived person may opt for
routine colonoscopy at an earlier age.