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U.S. institute develops new gender selection technique

WASHINGTON, Sept. 9 Kyodo

A private institute in the United States announced Wednesday a new technique to help some couples selectively conceive females.

The first babies have been already born as a result of the new technique, which separates sperm according to whether it bears X or Y chromosomes, which determine a child's gender, the Genetics and IVF Institute, based in Fairfax, Virginia, said.

The institute said ongoing clinical trials with the technique showed 29 pregnancies have been initiated after separation for the X-bearing sperm for females.

So far, 17 babies have been born, of which 15 were girls, it said, claiming a successful selection rate of 88.2%.

To achieve pregnancy, a single sperm must fertilize an egg. If the sperm carries an X-chromosome, the child is a female. If it carries a Y-chromosome, the child is a male.

The new technique, called MicroSort, is meant to separate sperm into those that carry the X-chromosome by taking advantage of the DNA content difference between X- and Y-bearing sperm, the institute said.

Normal, unsorted sperm populations contain approximately equal amounts of X- and Y-bearing sperm, but the new technique can dramatically alter that ratio, it said.

Susan Black, a clinical geneticist at the institute, told a news conference MicroSort will be helpful for couples whose family histories indicate that if they produce males, the males would be likely to inherit diseases such as hemophilia that appear only in males.
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Publication:Japan Science Scan
Article Type:Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 14, 1998
Words:239
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