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16 
 
Researchers Seek Early Signs of Neural Tube Defects
(runtime: 2:18 min)
 
 
   
That's Good Science!
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  Neural Tube Defects cause malformations in a fetus' spine or skull, causing limited lifespan or significant lifelong disabilities. Early detection may help physicians and parents prepare for treatments such as spinal surgery to prevent further damage related to the condition. To understand the disorder scientists are analyzing pregnancy-associated biomarkers for NTDs. Using a microarray analysis validated using PrimeScript™ Reverse Transcriptase and a Takara-brand qPCR kit with green intercalating dye, researchers focused on miRNA content in maternal serum and identified 17 miRNAs expressed at significantly different levels in women carrying NTD fetuses versus women with healthy pregnancies. In this preliminary study, expression of these 7 miRNAs could accurately distinguish NTD from healthy cases. That's Good Science!