Newborn babies will have DNA test to identify inherited diseases and risk of illness

by Ellie Kirwin-Jones |
Published on

Healthcare is set to be 'revolutionised' from next year as the NHS plans to introduce additional tests for after your baby has been born.

The NHS is going to introduce a DNA test to identify any inherited diseases and whether they have a high risk of illness later in life.

This process will allow doctors to spot genetic conditions like cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, and Huntington’s disease early on so they can work towards treating it immediately.


The launch is a collaboration with Genomics England, a Government-owned genetics service, and the NHS, and they will be working together to introduce the new test next year.

It could also reveal if they are of an increased risk of cancer, Alzheimer’s and heart disease at a later date. The test results will then be noted in the children's medical records.

They have said that the DNA test will be done alongside the current heel prick test which looks for nine possible illnesses.


The heel prick test is also known as the newborn blood spot test. It involves taking a blood sample to find out if your baby has 1 of 9 rare but serious health conditions, says the NHS.

If the launch is successful, it could be available to all children within three years.

Genomics England chief executive, Chris Wigley told The Express: “The benefits of this test can play out over the course of someone’s life."


“Someone may have had their genome sequenced as a newborn and 25 years later they develop another health problem," he continued.

“With Alzheimer’s disease, for example, we can generate insights for how someone is likely to respond to different treatments that they may encounter when they are 75, from the moment they are born.

“That is one of the most mind-blowing things from the insights we can derive from this information.”

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