CRISPR technique used to research foetal development

Researchers at the Victor Chang Institute have discovered that a simple program of vitamin B3 treatment can significantly reduce miscarriage and birth defects, such as congenital heart disease, by curing molecular deficiencies.

The breakthrough, described as the most significant since the role of folate in preventing neural tube defects in the 1990’s, was made possible through gene sequencing from families with a history of miscarriage and birth defects. The sequencing identified two gene mutations that affected a metabolic pathway vital for foetal development. The researchers used the CRISPR technique to replicate the gene mutations in mice, then found a direct correlation to miscarriage and birth defects.

Professor Sally Dunwoodie said, “This has the potential to significantly reduce the number of miscarriage and birth defects around the world, and I do not use those words lightly.”

Read more: ABC / Victor Chang / New England Journal of Medicine

Image: Jakob King / CC0 Creative Commons

This story is taken from the 11 August 2017 edition of The Warren Centre’s Prototype newsletter. Sign up for the Prototype here.