Mice embryos that have a deletion of a certain gene have abnormal blood vessel growth in the placenta, according to findings from a team of US-based researchers.

The study, performed by scientists at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, suggest that a “similar defect” in humans “could play a role” in fetal growth retardation, infant mortality, and spontaneous abortion. The deletion of the gene, called LBP-1a, may also contribute to long-term neurological or cardiovascular problems in infants.

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