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Next-Gen Sequencing Child Born

A child has been born in the US after physicians and scientists used next-generation sequencing to select an embryo for in vitro fertilization.

This birth marks the first time that sequencing has been used to screen embryos for IVF, a process that generally sees only around 30 percent of the embryos that are selected actually successfully implant, likely due to chromosomal or genetic defects.

Although other genetic tests screening methods have already been introduced to identify candidate embryos, they have drawbacks, according to the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology.

The method used to select the embryo in this case, developed by Dagan Wells of the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at the University of Oxford, has overcome some of the current obstacles, according to ESHRE.

This technique has enabled the production of complete chromosome information that reveals abnormalities that often are responsible for miscarriage, and for serious gene defects to be found.

The analysis also takes around 16 hours, which means embryos do not need to be frozen while they wait for lab results, and it could "greatly reduce the costs of embryo screening, which is an expensive add-on to IVF," ESHRE says.

The child, Connor Levy, was born in Philadelphia last month, the BBC reports.

"Next generation sequencing is a way which could make chromosome testing more widely available to a greater number of patients, improving access by cutting the costs. Our next step is a randomized clinical trial to reveal the true efficacy of this approach - and this will begin later this year," Wells says.