JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
A" pre-natal test for Down's syndrome. Doctor Euan Wallace consults with a pregnant woman who has received a blood test for inhibin A. The woman has a history of Down's syndrome affecting previous births. The doctor holds an assay plate. Different colours in wells of the plate show levels of inhibin A, the darker the colour the higher the level. Inhibin A is a natural hormone 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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