Articles| Volume 2, ISSUE 2, P102-105, 2001

Preimplantation diagnosis for p53 tumour suppressor gene mutations

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      Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) was introduced for high-risk couples to avoid establishing affected pregnancies potentially requiring termination following prenatal diagnosis. This opens the possibility for PGD for late onset disorders with genetic predisposition, including inherited cancer predisposition, because only embryos free from the predisposing gene may be transferred back to the patient, with no potential risk for pregnancy termination. PGD was performed for two couples, one with maternally and one with paternally derived p53 tumour-suppressor mutations, 902insC in exon 8 and G524A in exon 5, respectively. This involved a standard IVF protocol, allowing oocytes or embryos to be tested prior to their transfer back to uterus. Maternal mutation was tested by sequential PCR analysis of the first and second polar bodies, removed following maturation and fertilization of oocytes, while paternal mutation analysis required embryo biopsy at the cleavage stage. To avoid misdiagnosis due to allele drop out, multiplex nested PCR was applied, involving p53 mutation analysis simultaneously with the linked short tandem repeats in intron 1. Of 10 oocytes tested in two PGD cycles for 902insC mutation, four unaffected oocytes were pre-selected for transfer yielding no clinical pregnancy. Of 18 embryos analysed in two cycles for G524A mutation, seven mutation-free embryos were detected, two of which were transferred in each cycle, resulting in a singleton pregnancy and birth of a mutation-free child. This is the first PGD for inherited cancer predisposition determined by p53 tumour suppressor mutations, resulting in a clinical pregnancy and birth of a child free from inherited cancer predisposition.



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      Dr. Yury Verlinsky is a graduate, postgraduate and PhD of Kharkov University of the former USSR. His research interests include cytogenetics, embryology and prenatal and preimplantation genetics. He introduced polar body testing for preimplantation genetic diagnosis and developed the methods for karyotyping second polar body and individual blastomeres. He has published over 100 papers, as well as three books on preimplantation genetics.