About one in every 600 babies in the United States is born with an isolated cleft lip and palate, which means the baby is born with cleft only and no other birth defects.
Researchers say they now have a new gene test that will help predict if a couple will have a child born with a cleft lip and palate one of the world's most common birth defects. According to researchers isolated clefts happen during early fetal development.
Researchers identified the gene IRF6 that has involvement with cleft lip and palate. After tremendous testing, they created a gene test called haplotype. A haplotype gene test is the sum of several recurring variations in the unusual DNA sequence of a species. In this case, they found distinct combinations of sequence variations in and around the IRF6 gene correlated with an increased chance that a child would be born with a cleft.
Further research shows the gene test applies for 12 percent of isolated cleft lip and palate cases. Researchers say they have also identified another gene mutation that accounts for 2 percent of isolated cleft cases. Therefore, researchers say they can now screen for about 15 percent of cases.
Researchers say their study shows that they have reached a point where it's possible to take blood samples from parents, test certain genes, and determine whether their risk for a second child with a cleft lip or palate is, 1 percent or 20 percent.