Of 7,028 disorders with suspected Mendelian inheritance, 1,139 are recessive and have an established molecular basis. Although individually uncommon, Mendelian diseases collectively account for ~20% of infant mortality and ~18% of pediatric hospitalizations. Molecular diagnostic testing is currently available for only ~300 recessive disorders. Preconception screening, together with genetic counseling of carriers, has resulted in remarkable declines in the incidence of several severe recessive diseases including Tay-Sachs disease and cystic fibrosis. However, extension of preconception screening and molecular diagnostic testing to most recessive disease genes has hitherto been impractical. Recently, we reported a preconception carrier screen / molecular diagnostic test for 448 recessive childhood diseases. The current status of this test is reviewed here. Currently, this reports analytical validity of the comprehensive carrier test. As the clinical validity and clinical utility in the contexts described is ascertained, this article will be updated.
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