Improved Detection of Fetal Cells From Maternal Blood With Polymerase Chain Reaction

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The objective was to test the reliability of new deoxyribonucleic acid primers that have previously been used very efficiently by this laboratory with amniolysate samples to amplify a 248 bp Y-specific, repeated sequence from maternal blood during pregnancy.


Blood samples were obtained from 50 women during weeks 11 and 16 of pregnancy and were analyzed for the presence of the Y chromosome--specific sequences.


Y-specific fragments were identified in 19 of 24 (79.2%) women after one complete amplification. A second amplification of these samples negative for Y-specific fragments revealed three additional samples positive for the Y chromosome--specific fragment. Only two male fetuses remained unidentified. Overall, 91.7% male fetuses and 96% of all fetuses (48/50) in these women were correctly identified.


The primers described in this study provide an additional or alternative tool for the determination, by means of the polymerase chain reaction, of Y chromosome--bearing cells in maternal circulation. (AM J OBSTET GYNECOL 1994;170:952-5.)

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