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Agilent, Belgian Researchers Collaborate on Reproductive Genetics

This article has been updated to reflect that the PGT analysis will not use cell-free DNA.

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Agilent Technologies announced today an extension of a collaboration focused on reproductive genetics. 

Agilent and the Centre for Human Genetics of the University of Leuven and University Hospital of Leuven will investigate new solutions for preimplantation genetic testing, which Agilent said could allow laboratories to use a single sequencing workflow for preimplantation genetic analysis for single gene disorders and translocation carriers. The technology would also allow such an analysis for preimplantation genetic screening of chromosomal abnormalities on the same embryo biopsy. 

According to Agilent, a commercial solution for PGT analysis may be available this year. A more comprehensive evaluation of the clinical use of the PGT solution would follow to discriminate between mitotic and meiotic aneuploidies, and to detect triploidy and uniparental isodisomy in embryo biopsies. 

Current PGS methods are unable to detect such chromosomal abnormalities, Agilent said, adding the goal is to provide tools to the in vitro fertilization community to "reduce the number of IVF cycles and time that are needed to achieve a healthy live birth." 

Joris Vermeesch, chair of the Centre for Human Genetics, will coordinate the collaboration. 

A grant from Flemish government in Belgium also supports the PGT development efforts. Further financial and other terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

The partners had an earlier collaboration that preceded the commercial launch of Agilent's OneSight software platform for visualizing and investigating chromosomal and subchromosomal aneuploidies in cell-free DNA sequencing data.