Boston launches a genome sequencing project for new-born infants

Publié le 15 Apr, 2015

The BabySeq project will be launched in April in Boston (United States). This will be a “pioneering study of personalised genetics” aimed at highlighting the relevance of early, complete sequencing in new-born infants.  What is the purpose of this?  To detect genetic predispositions in infants in order to anticipate possible treatments.


This “ethically dubious” study questions the accuracy of the data obtained by the team of scientists led by Robert C. Green, physician at the Department of Genetics and Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and Alan H. Beggs, Director of the Research Centre for Orphan Diseases at Boston’s Children Hospital. In fact, the genetic data do not take environment-related factors into account (education, specific exposure to chemical substances and food, etc.). According to Sciences et Avenir, “a genetic predisposition does not, under any circumstances, constitute a medical prediction”.


In France, foetuses are already subjected to tests to detect certain genetic diseases such as Down syndrome, Edward’s syndrome or Patau syndrome, by carrying out a blood test in the mother. The Guthrie test is performed on infants.  This involves collecting a sample of the baby’s blood to detect “up to thirty or so genetic diseases (cystic fibrosis, etc.)”.

Sciences et Avenir (Hugo Jalinière) 15/04/2015

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