JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Pre-natal diagnosis of Down's syndrome. Geneticist Dr Don Cardy sits at a fluorescent light micro- scope, while on the TV monitor are Down's Syndrome chromosomes from a foetus. Chromosomes appear as elongated shapes, coming from the cell nucleus (round). Fluorescent dots in the nucleus relate to three copies of chromosome 21, the cause of Down's Syndrome. Here at Cytocell Ltd, a British biotech- nology company, a kit to detect Down's Syndrome early in pregnancy from the mother's blood is being developed. Using FISH (fluorescence in situ hybridization) chromosomes are tagged with fluore- scent dyes to highlight genetic traits. Foetal sex may also be detected, as well as cancer genes.
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