Gestational age estimated via DNA methylation
Researchers have developed a method for estimating developmental maturity of newborns. It is based on tracking DNA methylation, a structural modification of DNA, whose patterns change as development progresses before birth.
The new method could help doctors assess developmental maturity in preterm newborns and make decisions about their care, or estimate the time since conception for a woman who does not receive prenatal care during pregnancy. As a research tool, the method could help scientists study connections between the prenatal environment and health in early childhood and adulthood.
Smith is an associate professor and vice chair of research for the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics in the School of Medicine and a faculty member in the GMB program, and Conneely is an assistant professor in the Department of Human Genetics and a faculty member in the GMB and PBEE programs. The first author, Anna Knight, is a graduate student in the GMB program.