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Chinese Academy of Sciences, where some of the research took place

Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) has helped many couples conceive healthy children and is generally considered a safe practice. However, a new long-term analysis of PGD in mice suggests that this procedure may increase risks of weight gain and memory decline in adulthood.

PGD is used alongside assisted reproduction technologies to ensure couples that may be carriers of genetic disease (e.g. Ashkenazi Jews who have a high incidence of Tay-Sachs among their population) don't pass on defective genes to their children. While PGD is not believed to pose any serious health risks, the procedure does involve manipulating the developing embryo and no rigorous long-term studies have been carried out.

Ran Huo, Qi Zhou and colleagues used a mouse model to examine how a blastomere biopsy, as the key manipulation during the PGD procedure, could affect fetal, neonatal and adult development.

They found that there were no differences in embryo development prior to uterine implantation in the biopsied and control groups, which is consistent with results found in humans. However, following implantation, successful births from biopsied embryos were significantly lower than in... see more