Preimplantation genetic diagnosis: State of the ART 2011
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- Harper, J.C. & SenGupta, S.B. Hum Genet (2012) 131: 175. doi:10.1007/s00439-011-1056-z
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For the last 20 years, preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) has been mostly performed on cleavage stage embryos after the biopsy of 1–2 cells and PCR and FISH have been used for the diagnosis. The main indications have been single gene disorders and inherited chromosome abnormalities. Preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) for aneuploidy is a technique that has used PGD technology to examine chromosomes in embryos from couples undergoing IVF with the aim of helping select the chromosomally ‘best’ embryo for transfer. It has been applied to patients of advanced maternal age, repeated implantation failure, repeated miscarriages and severe male factor infertility. Recent randomised controlled trials (RCTs) have shown that PGS performed on cleavage stage embryos for a variety of indications does not improve delivery rates. At the cleavage stage, the cells biopsied from the embryo are often not representative of the rest of the embryo due to chromosomal mosaicism. There has therefore been a move towards blastocyst and polar body biopsy, depending on the indication and regulations in specific countries (in some countries, biopsy of embryos is not allowed). Blastocyst biopsy has an added advantage as vitrification of blastocysts, even post biopsy, has been shown to be a very successful method of cryopreserving embryos. However, mosaicism is also observed in blastocysts. There have been dramatic changes in the method of diagnosing small numbers of cells for PGD. Both array-comparative genomic hybridisation and single nucleotide polymorphism arrays have been introduced clinically for PGD and PGS. For PGD, the use of SNP arrays brings with it ethical concerns as a large amount of genetic information will be available from each embryo. For PGS, RCTs need to be conducted using both array-CGH and SNP arrays to determine if either will result in an increase in delivery rates.