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To Find a Reason

A Columbia University doctor is pursuing the use of nanopore sequencing to quickly uncover whether patients' recurrent miscarriages are due to chromosomal abnormalities, NBC News reports.

Miscarriages are fairly common, affecting about a quarter of pregnancies, but some women experience recurrent miscarriages of three or more, it adds, noting that genetic abnormalities are thought to account for about half of miscarriages, but patients often don't learn why they are losing pregnancies. And when genetic testing is conducted on fetal tissue, it can cost thousands of dollars and take weeks to get results, NBC News adds.

Zev Williams, director of the Columbia University Fertility Center, tells it that he is developing a cheaper and faster test using an Oxford Nanopore sequencer to analyze either fetal or placental tissue. He adds that he hope that his test — which NBC News says he has been developing for a number of years and on which has submitted data to the New York State health department — will give patients answers or spur them to examine potential non-genetic causes of miscarriage.