Grant for Newborn Genetic Screening

September 6, 2013
By: Ann Guy

Computational Biologist Steven Brenner will be part of an ambitious effort to assess whether large-scale gene sequencing aimed at detecting disorders and conditions can and should become a routine part of newborn testing.

Brenner, a professor in the Department of Plant & Microbial Biology at UC Berkeley, is part of a UC San Francisco team granted $6 million by the National Institutes of Health to identify the accuracy and feasibility of providing genetic sequencing as part of, or instead of, the current newborn screening that relies on biochemical changes in the blood. It also will assess what additional information would be useful to have at birth and the ethics and public interest in having such tests performed.

"Genome sequencing has the potential to reduce costs and improve the effectiveness of newborn screening," Brenner said, allowing early intervention for infants and fundamental changes in the tehcnology for screening newborns.

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