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Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research Wins $2.9M NIH Grant to Study Polygenic Embryo Screening

NEW YORK — The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research on Monday said that it has received a $2.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to research the effects and implications of polygenic embryo screening.

While preimplantation genetic screening is widely used to avoid the implantation of embryos with rare monogenic disease-causing alleles or aneuploidies, PES uses polygenic risk scores to determine complex phenotypes, and the accuracy of such scores in the context of embryo screening is not well understood.

With the four-year grant, Feinstein researchers and collaborators from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Baylor College of Medicine will use a combination of simulated and real-world data to determine the ability of PES to reduce the risk of disease under varying conditions. The investigators will use in-depth interviews and a large-scale survey with reproductive clinicians and geneticists to understand the perspectives of those who administer PES.

"The use of polygenic embryo selection has been proposed as one tool to reduce the burden of disease in future generations," Todd Lencz, a Feinstein Institutes researcher and principal investigator of the grant, said in a statement. "With support from the NIH, we will be able to explore the ethical and scientific concerns and better understand the limitations PES may have."