080210xf's Blog

L'X fragile sera vaincu | Fragile X will be conquered

New tests for fragile X promise routine screening

Victoria Stern, Sfari.org |

A new wave of genetic tests for fragile X syndrome, the leading cause of inherited mental retardation and the most common genetic cause of autism, may make it possible to routinely screen pregnant women and newborns for the syndrome.

“Finding a cheap and accurate test has been the first big holdup for fragile X testing,” says Don Bailey, president of the National Fragile X Foundation.

In the past two years, three research companies as well as several research groups, including Wisconsin’s Department of Health, have developed tests for fragile X syndrome. In February, New Jersey-based Quest Diagnostics introduced XSense, which has already been adopted for use in 50 states. Other companies, including Texas-based Asuragen Inc. and Abbott Laboratories have not yet made their tests available to physicians.

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