Noninvasive prenatal aneuploidy testing of chromosomes 13, 18, 21, X, and Y, using targeted sequencing of polymorphic loci


  • Funding sources: National Institute of Health, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (4R44HD062114-02).
  • Conflicts of interest: Authors are employees of Natera.

Matthew Rabinowitz. E-mail:



This study aims to develop a noninvasive prenatal test on the basis of the analysis of cell-free DNA in maternal blood to detect fetal aneuploidy at chromosomes 13, 18, 21, X, and Y.


A total of 166 samples from pregnant women, including 11 trisomy 21, three trisomy 18, two trisomy 13, two 45,X, and two 47,XXY samples, were analyzed using an informatics-based method. Cell-free DNA from maternal blood was isolated, amplified using a multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay targeting 11 000 single nucleotide polymorphisms on chromosomes 13, 18, 21, X, and Y in a single reaction, and sequenced. A Bayesian-based maximum likelihood statistical method was applied to determine the chromosomal count of the five chromosomes interrogated in each sample, along with a sample-specific calculated accuracy for each test result.


The algorithm correctly reported the chromosome copy number at all five chromosomes in 145 samples that passed a DNA quality test, for a total of 725/725 correct calls. The average calculated accuracy for these samples was 99.92%. Twenty-one samples did not pass the DNA quality test.


This informatics-based method noninvasively detected fetuses with trisomy 13, 18, and 21, 45,X, and 47,XXY with high sample-specific calculated accuracies for each individual chromosome and across all five chromosomes. © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.