STAT

With genome sequencing, some sick infants are getting a shot at healthy lives

Whole-genome sequencing in the NICU is helping doctors identify genetic disorders in infants — and, in some cases, saving lives.

SAN DIEGO — When babies become intensely ill, it can be difficult to know what has gone wrong. But the answer, quite often, is hidden somewhere in their genes.

Whole-genome sequencing — in which scientists can read the nearly 3 billion chemical letters in DNA — can help turn up that answer. And scientists, increasingly, are laying out a case for using that tool in an intensive care setting, despite the upfront costs.

The data, they say, show over and over that early diagnosis of

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