Biopsy of human preimplantation embryos and sexing by DNA amplification

Lancet. 1989 Feb 18;1(8634):347-9. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(89)91723-6.


A single cell was removed, through a hole made in the zona pellucida, from each of 30 human embryos at the 6-10 cell cleavage stage three days after in-vitro fertilisation. A normal proportion of the embryos (37%) developed to the blastocyst stage by day six in culture and 6 hatched from the zona. Each male embryo was sexed from the DNA by amplification of a repeated sequence specific for the Y chromosome. In 15 embryos with the normal two pronuclei the sex was determined also by in-situ hybridisation with a Y specific probe or fluorescent chromosome staining to detect metaphase Y chromosomes; the results of Y specific amplification were confirmed. This approach may be valuable for couples at risk of transmitting X-linked disease.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy / adverse effects
  • Blastocyst / cytology
  • DNA Probes
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase
  • Embryo, Mammalian*
  • Embryonic Development*
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metaphase
  • Micromanipulation / methods
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization
  • Pregnancy
  • Sex Determination Analysis / methods*
  • Staining and Labeling
  • Y Chromosome / analysis*


  • DNA Probes
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase