JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
A" blood test. Assay plate showing levels of the natural hormone inhibin A through a woman's menstrual cycle. This inhibin A assay may also be conducted in pre-natal screening for Down's syn- drome. Here, the top wells are a colour scale against which blood specimens in other wells are measured. Different colours show levels of inhibin A, the darker the colour the higher the level. Inhibin A is secreted by the human testis and ovary, and the placenta during pregnancy. Up to 2.5 times more inhibin A is released in Down's syndrome pregnancies than normal pregnancies. In this way a pre-natal test for Down's syndrome can be conducted as early as 11 weeks of pregnancy.
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