We can now biopsy an embryo to extract a small number of cells. We can then extract DNA from that cell. In order to test that DNA with a SNP chip, it has to be copied (amplified) 2,100 times. This is like taking a bushel of corn and amplifying it to a trailer load of corn.
Biopsying an embryo only decreases embryo pregnancy rates by about 10%.
One of the straight forward applications of embryo biopsy is to look for carrier status of genetic abnormalies. We can now do a full GE-EPD test on these biopsies. This means we can actually decide which embryos to implant based on the embryo's genetic merit!
We can know earlier and earlier what the genetic merit is, allowing us a new way to shrink the generation interval.
Barten's company flushes a day early at 6.5 days, then send embryos back out at 7.5 days. They currently use human IVF tools to ship the embryos the same day. He biopsies the embryo and sends back the frozen embryos.
The biggest key to success is recipient quality and management.
Having both parents genotyped allows GeneSeek to assess the accuracy of the embryos genotype. GeneSeek also assess the quality of the DNA to see if it is suitable for SNP chip genotyping, or if they need to focus only on sex and genetic defects.
Decker's Take Home Message
As this technique and technology continues to develop, it will open up exciting new opportunities for shortening the generation interval and practicing within family selection. Half of the variation in the population is observed between full siblings.